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Bacolod City, Philippines Friday, March 15, 2019
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All that hullabaloo

Rock & Refuge

It was a relief that Facebook had a glitch yesterday……. at least for a couple of hours that I was off social media, I was spared from the exchanges of hate between the red and blue camps – the former pertaining to the camp of Bacolod Mayor Bing Leonardia and the latter representing the camp of former mayor and now congressional bet, Monico Puentevella.

Alas, the moment I turned it back on, there it was again. To think that these two are not even running against each other but are the recognized leaders of opposing camps. Just imagine if they are pitted against each other?

And all because of that video that went viral when President Rodrigo Duterte called out Mayor Bing during last week’s campaign sortie in Victorias City. I saw that spliced video that circulated but this new development of filing charges against each other because of that made me look up the original, uncut video uploaded on you tube for my own appreciation.

The video that went viral just replayed over and over Duterte calling on Mayor Bing erroneously as Leonardina who stood up and did not seem to understand in what context was the president talking about which at that very instance was about the drug problem.

Bing’s critics played it up of course and it would have ended if not for the threat of filing charge against those who altered the video which of course, gave Monico an opportunity to welcome the threat and earn him publicity for it.

Gentlemen, it’s election season and with so many things to talk about particularly what each of you can offer to answer the pressing problems of Bacolod, why dwell on a video of a president talking about a lot of things that he has often repeated, particularly about his swollen balls while he was an Atenean student. And of course, while it elicited some laughter from nincompoops who were present there, a pan of the video clearly showed, some did not find his tirade against the Church funny at all.

It would have been better if both Bing and Monico actually answered the claims of the president about drugs, citing in particular Bacolod among the key cities where the problem remains and what they can do about it since we have lately been in the news for killings allegedly linked to drugs.

But going back to the uncut version, I nearly turned it off the minute it started but forced myself to watch it to see what the fanfare was all about and in many instances, it made me cringe but at the same time thankful that I am not anymore a field reporter who had to endure that entire monologue of trash.

How our officials can sit throughout that is really a wonder. But I cannot blame them since politics dictate you just have to bear and lick ass with those in power and besides, we are halfway in his term, so three more years of setting aside your principles and self-respect.

At the beginning of the video, I smiled listening to Presidential Assistant for the Visayas, Martin Dino, who was playing tongue twister every time he talks in the Pilipino language. I don’t know why he did not talk in the vernacular coz he is in the Visayas area anyway or at least, practiced that short speech before taking the microphone.

Rep. Albee Benitez took the place of campaign manager, Sen. Manny Pacquiao in introducing the official candidates of PDP-Laban, the ruling party where many of our officials jumped ship after the last elections. Whether it did them good to do so nobody knows, because from what I heard not all of them got close to the president and have in fact been mentioned in ridicule.

Vice-Governor Bong Lacson, on the other hand, has a perceived closeness with the president yet he remained with his party – the Nationalist People’s Coalition.

Ironically, among the official candidates of PDP-Laban, I may probably vote for one of them and if I will (which actually means I probably won’t), it will be Koko Pimentel. However, if you look at the live comments when that video was shown, all those who are avid fans of Tatay Digong as they call the president, are dropping Koko from their list, calling him balimbing. As to why, the reasons were not qualified as in many other issues.

I will talk more about my senatorial bets when I’ve firmed up my list and why.

We have seen Grace Poe, Mar Roxas and Bam Aquino courting votes around town post the ruling party’s sortie. Poe will definitely win and though I like her, I will save my vote for other bets who can ensure check and balance in the Senate.

Mar Roxas has been put on the spot for campaigning on his own even if he is part of the OtsoDiretso opposition team. He downplayed it as his critics and even the media just sowing intrigues of a falling-out since he has never been seen with the group since the start of the campaign, even launching his own candidacy in his hometown, far away from the seven others.

That has been a thorn on my side because from the start, I wanted to vote for Roxas even if to balance the Senate and bring back some dignity to it. But his solo sortie, away from his teammates makes me ponder whether he will eventually become an opposition voice in the Senate or work on his own, for his own agenda.

My list is long, some are among those endorsed by the president as guest candidates, but definitely it’s not Marcos or Cayetano. The former I have no words for, the latter because I used to perceive her as a woman’s champion but not anymore.*

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