"I believe COVID is here to stay, and that graft and corruption will continue in this last year of the Duterte administration."
How can we describe the government response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the number of cases surging and might hit more than 30,000 cases daily at the end of the month, and with hospitals now overflowing with COVID-19 patients that some die in parking lots or at home?
One, COVID is here to stay. For how long is anybody’s guess.
Two, the number of daily COVID-19 cases will continue to surge.
Three, the poor, jobless, and hungry will continue to suffer.
Four, we will have a bleak Christmas and New Year despite earlier promises.
Five, we will continue to wear face masks and face shields, wash our hands and observe social distancing.
Six, the economy won’t recover this year as predicted, and that businesses will continue to suffer.
And seven, graft and corruption will continue in the government during the last year of the Duterte administration.
I hope I am wrong in at least some of these cases, but I don’t think so. Herd immunity won’t be achieved within the year, not at the rate the vaccine rollout is going and with the slow delivery of vaccines to the country.
I am not blaming anybody, because I believe the government is doing everything within its power. Our leaders must balance the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic with the economy, my gulay!
Somebody should tell President Duterte not to utter something without knowing its consequences.
Take for instance, his rant against Senator Richard Gordon, chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee. Duterte said that the Red Cross is the milking cow of Gordon, and he’s using it for political purposes, not realizing the Red Cross is a non-government organization.
I also wanted to laugh when I heard Duterte say that he will have the Commission on Audit look into the funds of the Philippine Red Cross. A mistake like that coming from a President is unforgivable. The COA can only look into a transaction of the Red Cross with the government.
There is his continued defense of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on the deficiencies of the DOH as flagged by the COA, and especially of his Davao friends behind Pharmally Pharmaceuticals which bagged a deal worth P8.7 billion worth of face masks, face shields and Personal Protective Equipment.
This involves his former economic adviser, Michael Yang, two Davao City lawyers, and his former aide, now-Senator Bong Go.
Santa Banana, somebody has to answer for that anomaly, especially so since it’s the people’s money involved! Now, Pharmally’s taxes are also being questioned. The Bureau of Internal Revenue must look into it.
In my former column, I listed all the incumbent Metro Manila Mayors who are sure of getting reelected. My mistake was that I included incumbent mayors who are outgoing.
Here’s a new list of those who will probably get elected and reelected.
In the city of Manila, unless Isko Moreno seeks a higher position, he is sure of getting reelected. But the fight would be close between Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna and Rep. Manuel Lopez with Lacuna having a 2-percentage-point advantage.
In Quezon City, re-electionist Mayor Joy Belmonte is way ahead of former Mayor Herbert Bautista and Rep. Mike Defensor.
In Pasig City, Mayor Vico Sotto is ahead of Vice Mayor Christian Bernardo.
In Pasay City, Mayor Imelda Calixto-Rubiano is way ahead of former Rep. Connie Dee and former prosecutor Edward Togonon.
In Caloocan City, Rep. Dale Malapitan, son of outgoing Mayor Oscar Malapitan, is ahead of outgoing Rep. Edgar Erice. In Marikina, Mayor Marcy Teodoro is leading former Mayor and now Rep. Bayani Fernando. In Parañaque City, former Rep. Gus Tambunting is leading against the brother of outgoing Mayor Edwin Olivares, Rep. Eric Olivares.
Former Rep. Federico Sandoval is leading in Malabon City against Jose Lorenzo Oreta, brother of outgoing Mayor Lenlen Oreta. In San Juan City, Mayor Francis Zamora is way ahead of Janella Estrada, daughter of Jinggoy Estrada. Jamella Estrada was already beaten by Zamora in 2019.
Reelectionists Abby Binay of Makati, Carmelita Abalos of Mandaluyong, Imelda Aguilar of Las Pinas City and Ike Ponce and Lino Cayetano of Taguig City are deemed running unopposed.
Up to this late date, the much-touted opposition group, 1Sambayan, has not yet formed its slate for president, vice president and the Senate. This is because of the usual reluctance of people to join the group.
I see two reasons: Lack of funding, and the apparent failure of the opposition to unite.
With this, the administration party would have a walk in the park in 2022.
1Sambayan convenors led by retired Senior Associate Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio is reportedly at a loss as to whom to support for president and vice president. Oppositionists Vice President Leni Robredo, Senator Ping Lacson, Senate President Tito Sotto and Senator Manny Pacquiao cannot seem to unite to have a single opposition group. And if the opposition cannot unite, they will be fighting each other.
Lacson and Pacquiao tried to meet with the Vice President, but it seems that Robredo up to now has not yet made up her mind on whether to run for President or just run for governor of Camarines Sur. Another problem of 1Sambayan is that if it fields former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, he likely will not make it.**
Is it true that the battle cry of Pacquiao for his presidential bid is that if elected, all informal settlers or squatters will have a house or be given condominium units? Santa Banana, that’s a stupid election promise! Not all the billions of Pacquiao can house all of them.
It will be more stupid on the part of the country’s squatters to fall for a gimmick like that. Of all the election promises I have heard in my more than seven decades as a journalist, this election promise takes the cake for plain stupidity!