The Philippine Star

Down south


There was a photo in the papers the other day of two prominent political figures sitting on mono bloc chairs pushed against a wall, next to an air conditioni­ng unit and an electric fan, waiting for their turn to talk to the incoming president. They reminded me of schoolboys called to the principal’s office. From the looks on their faces I am led to conclude that it had been a pretty long wait, and it didn’t look like it was going to be their turn anytime soon. I am sure that room or corridor or whatever space was filled with many, many other similarly doleful but hopeful well-wishers, come to Davao City to greet the winner of the May 9 election. Reports had it that some waited up to 10 hours for a 15- to 20-minute meeting with the man-of-the-hour to make their pitch. It’s a good thing these meetings are held behind closed doors, as it would be so embarrassi­ng – downright pathetic even – to see these folks – losers in the election, as well as the usual sipsip-higop and the “operators” – practicall­y groveling to ask for a post or a favor, please…

Since the presumptiv­e president – that seems to be the preferred, politicall­y correct term – has said that he would remain in Davao City and come to imperial Manila only on inaugurati­on day on June 30, all roads these days lead down south. Flights are full, hotels fully booked, car rental companies busier than they’ve ever been as Davao hosts what for all intents and purposes is the biggest, most important job fair in the country. This of course happens every six years, when the country gets a new CEO; this is the first time though that ground zero is down south.

While the political party under which the presumptiv­e president ran has scant representa­tion in Congress, for sure it won’t stay that way for long; expect hordes to start migrating to the partido du jour. The party president, the only one in Congress (he’s a senator), doesn’t want to call it an “exodus” but euphemisti­cally describes it as “an influx into our party coming from different parties.” The Anti Balimbing Act of 2012 (a.k.a. Senate Bill 3214 or The Political Party Developmen­t Act) sought to prevent change of party eight months before elections but was silent on changing parties after elections, which is when the shameless shifting of alliances happens. But like the Anti Dynasty Bill, you can bet this will not pass into law.

Despite claims of taking the high road (one of those recent “job-seekers” who had backed another presidenti­al candidate justified his jumping on to this winning train by nauseating­ly claiming “my loyalty to my party ends where my loyalty to my country begins” – what gall!) and forming alliances based on platform and programs and shared vision, at the end of the day what prevails is a simple adage: everybody loves a winner.

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