Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Gloria’s “men”

It’s not a case of scrambling for the nearest exit. It’s not panic time. It’s just ensuring there is life after the Dona, assuming, and that’s still a big IF --- the Dona decides to go quietly into the night.

Clearly she won’t, and in another article in this space, soon, we will try to describe Gloria’s options unlimited. But for now, let us assume that the only harm she wants to further inflict upon the nation is running for, and winning, a seat in western Pampanga. There she will be with Mikey (who plans to transfer to the first district of the “holy” land), Dato of the railroad towns of Camarines Sur, Iggy of Hacienda Bacan in Negros perdida, Lulu of the party list whatever (even my friend Jun Lesaca won’t tell me what it represents truly), and why, perhaps even Don Jose Miguel, if some party-list whatever again would adopt him, and earn big bucks in the process. The whole hog in the swine corral that her Speaker Nograles calls “The House of the People”.

Who among her “men”, her boys and girls in the cabinet, will join her? Who will prefer to be in the upper House?

Until the AH1N1 flu has come to epidemic proportions in these islands, Pingkoy Duque of Health seriously thought he could be senator of the realm. But surveys show that despite daily press cons and singing Happy Birthday while washing hands, his numbers remain low. Only 5.1% of the miserable population would vote for him if elections were held in May 2009. Now Pingkoy is being pushed to run for the House, in the district where the town of Aguilar, his father’s own, is located. But against Victor Agbayani? Simple. Ask Victor to go back to the presidencia en Lingayen. Ah, the problems of Lakas-Kampi, er, PaLaKa, or Nagkaisang Kawatan, which Pingkoy, to his credit, is not. He could also run in the district of Rachel Arenas, as Rachel will flip into NPC, but then Gene Tulagan is also there. Sakit ng ulo, but the doctor should know best.

The most tele-genic, well-accomplished in her cabinet at that, Tourism’s Ace Durano of Cebu, scores a relatively high 12.1%, just a shred above Prospero Pichay Jr. at 11.3% voter preference. But that puts Durano’s chances still slim at 20-31 in a Senate where only 12 will be proclaimed. Which makes Ace a bit antsy, except there’s another Durano in the 5th district of Cebu who took over his seat --- papa mismo. Cebuanos are pushing him to run against Gwen the governor, sister to Winston con mucho dinero, daughter of Pabling el Viejo, and incumbent with the most-est to boot. Tell you what, friend Ace. Go for the Senate, but not in the ticket of the humongous party of Claudio and Roquero. Never, never get your hands raised by La Donna, or so Pepe Miranda and Mahar and RJ will advise. If Chiz runs, run under his ticket. You can win.

Ralph Recto of NEDA, because of name recall, and high awareness (96%) with 36.2% conversion to votes, could make it. But he lost in 2007, also with similar chances, because he preferred to sleep with the Dona, as did Tito Sotto, who last I heard is thinking of a re-run in Quezon City (vice-mayor otra vez?), afraid of running for senator because a somersault might be risky. Recto and Sotto are the only cabinet rank officials who one year before the polls figure in the top 12. They can run, and perhaps be welcomed by Manny Villar’s NP. Recto can always say his lolo was once a Nacionalista, and he is after all a fellow in the Wednesday fine dining club whose bills Villar paid.

Edu Manzano who does not possess cabinet rank, unlike his fellow Ilonggo, Buboy Syjuco whose TESDA was queerly elevated to cabinet status (just like Sotto’s Dangerous Drugs Board), might follow in the footsteps of Sen. Bong Revilla, if Pinky Webb will agree. But again, Pinky is too smart to know that my friend Edu, who is as conscientious in his job as he is intelligent, would best be somewhere far from La Donna on proclamation day. Buboy Syjuco though is serious about going for the Senate, even if “Mr. TESDA” and “Tito Buboy” gets voting preference of a measly 2.5%. Dream on!

Ed Ermita will get his dynastic seat back from his daughter Elenita Buhain, the family’s kingdom by the sea in Western Batangas. DPWH’s Hermogenes Ebdane will run for congressman in native Zambales. And the other Hermogenes, Esperon of Garci fame, now PMS Chief, will run in the 5th district of Pangasinan, there to inherit my friend Conrad Estrella’s seat, hopefully with the blessings of El Tabako of Asingan. Conrad is being pushed to run for governor of the huge province likewise. Back to the Agbayani-Estrella political wars their forebears fought, East versus West, but what happens to incumbent first-termer Amado Espino, also PaLaKa?

Leandro Mendoza’s Mark is already the congressman of the fourth district of Batangas, and Papa is not likely to push him out. But the DOTC secretary would prefer to retire in Cebu. (Don’t ask me why Cebu.) Energy’s Angie Reyes will go for city mayor of Taguig, against the wife of incumbent Freddie Tinga, and the wife of Alan Cayetano, Lani, who inherited the congressional seat for a term, but has to run because the dynasty must fight on, with Mr. Itik’s mega-bucks, but naturally.

Hardworking Art Yap of Agriculture will contest PaLaKa’s Eladio Jala in the third district of Bohol, where Art’s wife Carol is from. Both Jala and Yap’s wife are natives of beautiful Loboc. Jala is likely to move to Villar’s NP anyway, which will welcome him with open arms, along with three-term governor Erico Aumentado, who will be speaker of the House if Villar wins. And Nasser Pangandaman of Agrarian Reform will run in Lanao del Sur, after announcing that his Dona Gloria will be Pampanga’s “best” bet for Speaker, and then, Prime Minister.

Gary Teves of Finance wants to be senator, but Pepe Miranda’s Ulat gives him a 42-60 cluster ranking, which is something even my friend Dennis Garcia, with unlimited advertising funds, and my friend Rey David will find difficult to turn into victory. He couldn’t go back to Papa’s district in southern Negros Oriental, because Papa Minyong has already bequeathed that to his apo, Henry Pryde. DTI’s Peter Favila is from Pangasinan, but to contest his tita, Manay Gina de V is unthinkable. Where in the metropolis do you vote, friend Peter?

DSWD’s Dr. Esperanza Cabral is one lady I would wholeheartedly support for senator, but she has no political plans. Selfless service after all is its own reward. And surely DOST’s Estrella Alabastro will just quietly retire into the folds of the academe.

Tukayo Lito Atienza wants to reclaim the City of Manila against the incumbent Fred Lim, but another president’s man, former PNP Chief Sonny Razon, now the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, wants to be the third man in the ring. Who could bring back Manila’s lost glory?

Education’s Jesli Lapus will not get back Tarlac’s first district from his younger brother Bong, and would likely run for senator under the NPC. His vote conversion as of May 2009 is a measly 6% out of an awareness level of 75%, which again means that with an assumed network of teachers, plenty of money for advertising, and a safe distance from GMA, he just might make it.

Raul Gonzalez will go back to native Iloilo, to take over City Hall from Jerry Trenas. To ensure that his son Raulito and Jerry will not fight each other, they divided erstwhile lone district in two --- one for him, one for me, says the 77-year old crusty politico whose wife Pacita used to practice Vicky Belo and Calayan’s craft, sans celebrity airs. Agnes Devanadera, his replacement at DOJ, hopes to be rewarded with a seat in the Supreme Court, and she has till November this year to realize her fondest dream, but what’s this I hear Ombudswoman Mercy also wants to join the legal “venerables”?

Of course SND Gilbert Teodoro wants to be president of the land, in tandem with DILG’s Ronnie Puno as his vice-president, and proudly shall they bear the colours of the PaLaKa.

Have I missed out on any?

My old friend Bert Romulo is old, I suppose. And Lovely would rather travel around the world with him to old haunts like the Plaza del Sol in Madrid, or look at the treasures of the Prado, and sit in the Jardin de Rosas. Two for the road.

And oh yes, there’s Nonoy Andaya who disburses the funds of the people, a.k.a. Dona Gloria’s purse. They’re still trying to add two more districts to Camarines Sur, so that Principe Dato and Nonoy will not fight over hegemony in the railroad towns of Louie Villafuerte’s kingdom. Nonoy wisely knows he cannot run for senator, recalling how his dad, the friendly Rolly, lost in 1998 pursuing that quest. And there are no cities in his district that he will find worthy of his presence, nor can he contest El Ray for governor.

And Norbert of Dona Gloria’s insecurity? What is he and his boss, Jesuit Archie Intengan, plotting next?

But who will run for senator in Gibo and Ronnie’s PaLaKa ticket? Nagkaubusan na ba ng mga matatapang at malalakas ang loob sa umbrella ng Nagkaisang Kawatan?

Well, there’s Butch Pichay. And incumbents Bong Revilla and Miriam Defensor Santiago. And Butch Pichay, otra vez. What about the Senate President, Juan Ponce Enrile? Don’t bet on him running under the PaLaKa, not even as a guest candidate.. And what about Lito Lapid? He will run for governor of the “holy” land, unless Mikey decides he wants to control quarry collections on top of jueteng. But not to worry, Mikey prefers the company in the house of pork. Miguelito el Defensor will not run for the Senate. He will replace Lito Atienza at DENR --- take two for Mike at mines and public lands.

So who will run for senator in the PaLaKa ticket? Ah … there is always Butch Pichay. And who will take over those cabinet portfolios when Gloria’s “men” go to the hustings from National Heroes Day (November 30) to Liberation Day (June 30, 2010)? Should be their undersecretaries. Except, don’t look now, they too are running … for congress, for mayor, for governor, like Jocjoc Bolante.

So when Dona Gloria convenes her Parliament, wouldn’t they all be one big happy family? As Ate Glow, that comedienne who apes the Dona would exclaim---“Kita-kits tayo…ang saya-saya!”

Forget about Liberation Day. Hallelujah!