SECTION 26 of the Fair Elections Act is not fair at all. It allows elected officials (I am not sure if it includes not only senators, but also member of the House of Representatives, and other elected local officials) to run for President or Vice President. If they lose, however, they just go back to serve the remainder of their terms.
Just look at the political horizon now. There are five senators running for the vice presidency, and one congresswoman. Under Section 26 of the Fair Elections Act, if four of the senators lose, they can always go back to serve the rest of their terms in the Senate. The lone congresswoman, a first termer, will wait for another three years before she can run again for the same position.
This is why I support the amendment to the Fair Elections Act. Such a law needs to be fair and equitable. Santa Banana, it encourages senators to run even without any hope of winning, except for “the funds of it,” because they can always go back as senators. If they lose, they would have won a jackpot in donations and contributions.
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Speaking of senators running for President or vice president. If Senator Grace Poe does not make it—granted, of course, that she is not first disqualified for not being a natural-born Filipino—she can always go back as senator to finish her first term for another three years. She can aspire again for the presidency in 2022, but if she loses again, she will be senator until 2025.
Lucky girl, isn’t she?
In the case of the five other senators running for the vice presidency, the entry of Senator Bongbong Marcos into the fray makes the race for the No. 2 position of the land interesting and even exciting.
While Senator Chiz Escudero remains ahead of the pack, having been the second choice for the vice presidency next to Mrs. Grace Poe Llamanzares in all surveys, analysts and political observers say that the only son of the late strongman President Ferdinand E. Marcos, with or without a running mate, can win.
For one thing, Bongbong Marcos has Ilocandia, both Region I and Region II, including parts of Pangasinan, Tarlac and Nueva Ecija as his political base. But, more importantly, there are so many Ilocanos in Mindanao and even the Visayas. And don’t forget that the former First Lady Imelda Romualdez hails from Tacloban, Leyte, the eastern part of the Visayas. Santa Banana, as an Ilocano myself, I can say: once an Ilocano, always an Ilocano. This is a general rule.
No matter what some people think of the Marcoses and martial law, the fact is that Marcos was the most brilliant Filipino President, who also did a lot of his country. Don’t forget that the NLEX and SLEX were started by Marcos, and the Marcos Highway all the way to Leyte. Rice self-sufficiency was attained during the Marcos regime.
And because of Martial Law, he broke the backbone of the communist insurgency; made the separatist Moro National Liberation Front irrelevant with the self-exile of Nur Misuari.
Lest I am misunderstood, I am not justifying martial law which suppressed our freedoms and civil rights, together with its excesses. But, my gulay, in my more than 65 years as a journalist, having walked the corridors of power and having seen the best and worst of administrations, I can say that the Marcos regime had the best of technocrats and cabinet members.
Take it from veteran politicians, former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, who both endorsed the candidacy of Bongbong. Why else would they he be endorsing a candidate if they don’t see him as a winner?
Now about Chiz. He is my good friend and so is his wife, Heart Evangelista. His Bicolandia base is now divided by other Bicolanos, like Leni Robredo, running mate of administration candidate Mar Roxas, Alan Peter Cayetano, whose wife is a Bicolana, Antonio Trillanes and Gringo Honasan, who are also from Bicol. Aside from Bicol, Chiz has no other base.
Even now, Bongbong Marcos is already No. 2 in the vice presidential race. The next and upcoming survey polls will prove me right.
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Last Saturday, when I went to join my 365 Club buddies at the Hotel Intercon, I learned that Ayala will, by year-end, demolish the hotel and build some kind of gateway to the Ayala Central Business District.
I was worried. We at the 365 Club had been staying at the Intercon since 1972.
The management of Intercon, however, assured us that we would be transferred to the Holiday Suites Hotel, a Hotel Intercontinental subsidiary.
We will miss Hotel Intercon and its management led by our very good friend Christian Peridon, who is also the manager of Holiday Suites Hotel.
But we in the 43-year-old club are glad because Holiday Suites Hotel is not far from Intercon.
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I was not mistaken when I listed resigned Metro Manila Development Authority Chairman Francis Tolentino as one of the best appointees of BS Aquino III, among few others.
Tolentino resigned as MMDA chairman, a cabinet position, and asked to have his name erased from the list of the administration’s senatorial candidates. This indicates self-respect and “delicadeza.” Tolentino’s decision was caused by the dance performance of The Playgirls two weeks ago. The lewd acts led to political controversy.
Tolentino had denied that he was the one who engaged The Playgirls as a gift to Laguna Rep. Benjamin Agarao, but media and his political opponents insist it was him. Tolentino even apologized for the incident, even if President Aquino, the titular head of the Liberal Party, did not.
I believe that Tolentino does not deserve all the brickbats that media threw at him. He is the most hardworking MMDA chairman I have known. My gulay, why should he be blamed for the worsening Metro Manila traffic gridlock, especially at Edsa? Even with the PNP Highway Patrol Group now in command of Edsa’s traffic, it will still take you more than two hours that avenue.
For so long as we don’t have enough skyways and other means of commuting along Edsa, traffic jams will stay. If anybody or any agency has to be blamed, it should be the Department of Transportation and Communications, and the President himself. They knew Edsa traffic will come to this, but they did not do anything.
Foreign Direct Investments, and influx of tourists? Forget it. Not with our kind of traffic problems, pollution, and flash flood the moment it rains.