Panelo, Roque, Mocha

Sun Star Bacolod - - Opinion -

WHETHER the pres­i­den­tial spokesper­son is a vet­eran lawyer like Sal­vador Panelo or a young up­start like Harry Roque, the job is the same. Or should I say the task of in­ter­pret­ing Pres­i­dent Duterte’s con­tro­ver­sial state­ments is the same. But does look like Panelo, with only a few weeks as pres­i­den­tial spokesper­son in his belt, is dif­fer­ent from his pre­de­ces­sor Roque. Or is do­ing the in­ter­pret­ing dif­fer­ently.

For me, the dif­fer­ence is in the age and char­ac­ter of the in­ter­preter—panelo and Roque, af­ter all, are two dif­fer­ent per­son­al­i­ties. There is al­ways some­thing amus­ing in Panelo’s press con­fer­ences. Bitch­i­ness can de­scribe those of Roque. Panelo is like a grand­fa­ther putting old-fash­ioned spins to the Pres­i­dent’s con­tro­ver­sial state­ments; Roque is com­bat­ive or, okay, seem­ingly al­ways bitchy.

When I heard Panelo in­ter­pret the Pres­i­dent’s re­cent con­tro­ver­sial state­ments as mere jokes, I felt more amused than an­gry. Per­haps this is be­cause I re­ally do not dis­like Panelo, un­like Roque. But this could also be be­cause there is non­cha­lance, or should I say, “lawyerly,” in the man­ner he said it. He also rarely dab­bles in the per­sonal, like hit­ting the po­lit­i­cal op­po­si­tion. So un­like Roque.

Which raises the ques­tion of where Roque is now. The man has so re­ceded from the lime­light he is al­ready for­got­ten. We aren’t even hear­ing re­ports on how he is con­duct­ing his party-list cam­paign for the May elec­tions. Or isn’t he a par­tic­i­pant in the party-list elec­tions? I tried googling his name, and I could only come up with sto­ries up to Oc­to­ber last year.

By the way, what has also hap­pened to the other diehard Duterte sup­porter (DDS), for­mer as­sis­tant sec­re­tary Es­ther Mar­gaux “Mocha” Uson? She seems to have also re­ceded from the lime­light af­ter she left her high-pay­ing gov­ern­ment job. She was sup­posed to run for sen­a­tor, but her name has not sur­faced in the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s se­na­to­rial slate. She is not even in­cluded in the re­cent se­na­to­rial sur­veys.

I think Roque and Uson made the Duterte ad­min­is­tra­tion col­or­ful in much of the first half of Pres­i­dent Duterte’s term. Now the ad­min­is­tra­tion is mo­not­o­nous and drab, ex­cept for the Pres­i­dent’s usual con­tro­ver­sial state­ments and be­cause of Bud­get Sec­re­tary Ben­jamin Dio­kno. What is adding color to the ad­min­is­tra­tion cur­rently is the con­flict be­tween Dio­kno and the boys of House Speaker Glo­ria Ma­ca­pa­gal-ar­royo.

By the way, can we take Uson’s seem­ing si­lence as the wan­ing of the fa­nati­cism of the old DDS? Or are Uson and the oth­ers, like RJ Ni­eto (Think­ing Pi­noy) and Sass Sas­sot, on­line fads that have out­lived their use­ful­ness? They were the stars dur­ing the 2016 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign and in the first half of the Pres­i­dent’s term. Has their lus­ter fully faded?

I ac­tu­ally ex­pected them to resur­face now that the May elec­tions are near to sup­port the ad­min­is­tra­tion se­na­to­rial bets, es­pe­cially the al­ways pol­i­tick­ing Christo­pher “Bong” Go, and to de­mo­nize the op­po­si­tion can­di­dates. I haven’t seen that yet. Or are they al­ready dis­il­lu­sioned with the ad­min­is­tra­tion they used to be fa­nat­i­cally sup­port­ing? What gives?/ Sunstar Cebu it

I DO not know why Jose Ma. Si­son still makes it to the front pages even if his state­ments pro­ceed from plain hal­lu­ci­na­tion.

His re­cent dec­la­ra­tion is that for the year

2019 the main agenda of the Com­mu­nist Party of the Philip­pines–new Peo­ple’s Army’s (CPP-NPA) is to oust Pres­i­dent Duterte. Funny and pa­thetic be­cause since day one of his trip to the fan­tasy land, where he wished to es­tab­lish his com­mu­nistin­spired and con­trolled gov­ern­ment, he had al­ways con­spired with the dis­ci­ples of po­lit­i­cal ro­man­ti­cism and took ad­van­tage of oth­ers who can­not ac­cept the choice of the ma­jor­ity and in the process con­nive with the likes of Joma.

Joma is out of touch with re­al­ity and it does not help that he had long been out of the coun­try. He pro­fesses to fight for but is too scared to come back to lead a weary army who still be­lieve in his utopian dream. Ei­ther that or he can­not aban­don the good life in the Nether­lands.

He blames the Duterte gov­ern­ment for aban­don­ing the peace talks when for nearly half a cen­tury all the past ad­min­is­tra­tions, in­clud­ing

Cory Aquino who let him free from prison, wooed him to come back and par­tic­i­pate in a free po­lit­i­cal process. The gov­ern­ment even bent back and de­crim­i­nal­ized com­mu­nism giv­ing rise to left­lean­ing politi­cians, many of whom find home in the party-list sys­tem.

Joma never had the bet­ter op­por­tu­nity to talk peace than with the Duterte gov­ern­ment. Re­call that at the height of the pres­i­den­tial cam­paign in 2016, the then Davao City mayor was even ac­cused by his ra­bid po­lit­i­cal ad­ver­saries as a com­mie pro­tec­tor.

For the record though, the mayor was in and out of NPA lairs to res­cue pris­on­ers of war and some­times bring food­stuffs to the gueril­las. If there is any po­lit­i­cal leader who meant well and true to his de­sire for a nor­mal life for the rebels, it is this man Duterte.

But peace and nor­malcy does not hinge on the friv­o­lous mind of Jose Ma. Si­son. There’s a street lingo for that: “Kung ayaw mo, huwag mo” (If you don’t want it so be it).

And so the man whom Si­son wants to oust from Mala­cañang started with a new ini­tia­tive— lo­cal­ized peace talks.

Al­ready this has gained head­way as hun­dreds of NPA rebels have come back to the folds of the law, were given lands to till and hous­ing units, in­clud­ing a huge some of money to start them off in ex­change for their firearms.

Joma wants to oust Duterte, some Catholic bish­ops pray that he get sick and die while Loida Lewis has not given up on her hopes that he will step down or be ousted to have Vice Pres­i­dent Leni Ro­bredo take over.

But how can this phan­tas­mago­ria come to a fruition when a huge ma­jor­ity of the Filipinos ei­ther de­scribe Duterte as “very good” or “ex­cel­lent” while hun­dreds of rebels are com­ing down from the jun­gles to be re­united with their fam­i­lies as op­por­tu­ni­ties that await them?/sunstar Davao

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.