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Seeking validation

In Laguna, the tuwid na daan just became the tuwad na daan. And they have the video to prove it.

A video posted on social media Web sites showing a Laguna congressman cavorting on a stage with a bunch of scantily-clad women miming the sex act immediately went viral yesterday, completely burying the official reason for the event hosted by the administration Liberal Party. It’s just another day on the campaign trail for a party that can’t seem to do anything right, from choosing a vice presidential candidate to finding suitable entertainment for a congressman’s birthday bash.

The sexy dancers were supposedly a gift from Metro Manila Development Authority Chairman Francis Tolentino, an LP senatorial candidate, to the birthday boy, Rep. Benjamin Agarao, who gladly strutted his stuff on the stage. Aside from celebrating Agarao’s birthday, the LP was supposed to swear in a raft-load of new members, with Tolentino and his presidential candidate Mar Roxas in attendance.

Tolentino has denied bringing in the raunchy entertainment, saying that the emcee’s announcement to that effect was totally misinformed. Tolentino didn’t even bother to comment on the survey conducted by the people behind the Internet traffic app Waze, who declared that Metro Manila had the worst traffic in the world.

Tolentino, after all, is still MMDA chairman and nominally in charge of traffic, having refused to resign even after declaring his intentions to run for the Senate. What an unmitigated disaster Tolentino—and indeed his entire party—is.

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Speaking of the Senate slate of the LP, the party of President Noynoy Aquino is supposedly all set to bring in yet another political pygmy into that sorry lineup in the person of the former and unlamented energy secretary, Jericho “Icot” Petilla. If Petilla’s nickname is still unfamiliar to you, it’s mentioned in his paid television advertisements—which unfortunately fail to realize that “ikot” is Tagalog for going in circles, which is what Petilla basically did when he handled the energy portfolio.

Petilla will be remembered (or forgotten, more likely) for ensuring that it was never more fun doing business in the Philippines because this country has the highest power costs in all of Southeast Asia, aside from being some of the highest in all of Asia and the entire world. And now he wants us to repay him by sending him to the Senate?

I recall that in the aftermath of super Typhoon “Yolanda”, Petilla promised to quit if he fails to restore power supply in the all areas affected. When he was not able to deliver, he did resign but was conveniently prevented by President Noynoy Aquino from doing so; Petilla, of course, didn’t fight for his right to leave.

In December 2013, when power costs were at an all-time high, Congress demanded that Petilla run the government-owned Malaya power plant which, with its 650-megawatt capacity, could have tempered the rate hike. Petilla played deaf and dumb, or made “pa-ikot.”

In 2014, Petilla pushed for the grant of emergency powers for Aquino to address the looming power crisis in the following year. There was shortage of supply, he warned, as he also called for the procurement of P12 billion worth of generator sets.

What Petilla didn’t say was that procuring generators and the cost of maintaining would be shouldered by power consumers. Whom he failed to consider, when he didn’t plan for standby power supplies in the years prior.

And right before Petilla finally resigned this year to prepare for his Senate run, he made one final questionable move, signing a circular stating that all power-sourcing requirements should undergo bidding. While it sounded good on paper, Petilla’s competitive selection circular, deftly emasculated the Energy Regulatory Commission, which lost its primarily role of reviewing and challenging power supply contracts; what a “pa-ikot” that was.

Truth to tell, I found it really hard to think of the things, good or bad, that Petilla did while he was in the Cabinet. Like many of Aquino’s officials, Petilla was just another non-performing, bungling bureaucrat who seemed to have no idea of what he was doing—and no intention of doing anything good while in office.

And I’m actually glad that like Tolentino and several other prominent Aquino administration officials who failed spectacularly in office, Petilla now seeks validation from the people for the work—such as it is—that he did. Now the people can really give their verdict on people like Petilla and Tolentino, without Aquino running interference and protecting them from the well-deserved condemnation that they will soon receive in polling places all over this long-suffering land.

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