"Perhaps a dark horse will emerge."
That Thursday night speech of President Duterte must have unnerved many of our representatives in the House. His voice was calm, not angry. His demeanor was cool, not temperamental. But the words he uttered were quite ominous: Get your act together and pass the budget. Or else.
What made everybody nervous about the “or else” warning was the presence of his military and police generals at his back, standing in attention as he spoke. Clearly, the President’s patience over the power play in the HoR had worn exceedingly thin.
And in times of crisis, such a power play can no longer be tolerated. How the President’s warning would be translated tomorrow afternoon in the bigger chamber is definitely worth watching.
Those who are betting on Alan Peter or Lord Allan may have another surprise coming: Perhaps not on Wednesday the 14th, as the supposed hand-over was negotiated in the palace. Perhaps at a more opportune time.
My prediction: a “dark horse” will emerge, and the contest will not be solely between Alan with an L or Allan with a double L. I will not foretell a timeframe either. That dark horse may emerge as the next Speaker, not necessarily this Wednesday, maybe not even before the Christmas recess. Someone respected for his experience and intellect, but not in a combative fashion. Someone who knows how to build consensus, and does it without burning bridges.
Support for leaders in this country where political parties are mere flags of convenience is a flighty thing, the numbers easily move from one camp to another, and the President, it would seem, could no longer care less who ascends the dais, provided needed legislation gets passed.
Note that Alan Peter was his vice-presidential team-mate in the 2016 elections, and has been extremely loyal to him through thick and thin, sometimes to the point of obsequiousness. Lord Allan, upon the other hand, was rooting for Grace Poe at the start of the 2016 campaign, and moved to the Duterte bandwagon only in the last two weeks of the campaign, but somehow managed to become close to the President’s family after the elections.
In the months to come before the President’s ultimate SONA, do not rule out the possibility that the 21-month bargain may further be cut, with a “dark horse.” This forecast, if you may call it such, is pure gut feel, unlike this writer’s predicting who the next president would be in several elections past, which is the result of reading the surveys correctly, and having some kind of street-smarts. Abangan!
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Twenty-two days hence, or twenty-three in the Philippines, we should know by how many electoral votes Joseph Biden of Delaware shall have won over Donald Trump of Manhattan. If the numbers are too close, the unhinged Trump may not concede easily, and in due time, the Secret Service, many of whom he infected with the coronavirus due to sheer insolence, would likely pull him out of the Oval Office bodily, and fly him to beautiful Slovenia.
If Biden and Kamala Harris get more than 300 electoral college votes and a landslide popular margin, the transition ought to be smooth.
Even now, think tanks around the world are analyzing the kind of change Biden will bring to the topsy-turvy foreign policy of the irascible Donald Trump. And one of the focal points of world-wide interest is our region, bounded by the China Sea (East and South) and the Pacific Ocean. Taiwan in particular, which just celebrated the Double Ten, its National Day, pins its hopes on strong US support of the balance that has kept cross-Strait relations peaceful.
Trump has been showing more and more signs of support for Taiwan in this election year, but some look at this not as genuine policy shift but mere electoral tactics, intended to rile China and curry American electorate favor. How, upon the other hand, would Joe Biden balance the interests of China versus the yearnings of Taiwan for maintaining its way of life, which are based on democratic liberties and the rule of law?
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Meanwhile, the New England Journal of Medicine, in a rare dip at politics, issued an editorial signed by all its editors, decrying the American government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Without mentioning the Donald or his party by name, the editorial, entitled “Dying in a Leadership Vacuum,” stated: “Anyone else who recklessly squandered lives and money in this way would be suffering legal consequences. Our leaders have largely claimed immunity for their actions, but this election gives us the power to render judgment.”
“Reasonable people will certainly disagree about the many political positions taken by candidates. But truth is neither liberal nor conservative. When it comes to the response to the largest public health crisis of our time, our current political leaders have demonstrated that they are dangerously incompetent. We should not abet them and enable the deaths of thousands more Americans by allowing them to keep their jobs.”
The editorial is a first in the more than 200-year history of the highly respected medical publication; never before has it editorialized on politics.
The New England Journal of Medicine editorial concluded that the present leadership had “taken a crisis and turned it into tragedy, and the magnitude of this failure is astonishing.”
Trump, according to his favorite Fox News, will undergo testing live on TV Sunday night, just to prove he is no longer contagious, and would thus resume his barn-storming in the critical swing states which he is now losing to Biden even before the disastrous first debate. Good luck!
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I woke up Sunday morning to the sad news that a schoolmate, Father Sonny Ramirez, O.P., had died on Saturday, October 10. He was also a classmate of Senate President Tito Sotto and the current Secretary of the Commission on Appointments, Atty. Hector Villacorta.
We remained good friends even after he entered the seminary after first finishing his college degree, and eventually became a priest and advocate of Catholic activism.
The immediate shock of losing another friend gave intimations of mortality, along with prayers for the eternal rest of his jolly, playful soul.