Saturday, August 1, 2009


Just before she left to see Obama at the White House, a “working visit” with a retinue of at more than a hundred, a “summons” as Sen. Pong Biazon uncharitably calls it, the little lady sent back the shortlist of six nominees for two vacancies in the Supreme Court, back to the Judicial and Bar Council.

The official reason is that she wants a wider field of choices. The scuttlebutt is she wants her Acting Justice Secretary, long SC-wannabe Agnes Devanadera included in the JBC list. This is unprecedented. In fine, she is telling the JBC that their list was not to her liking. She either distrusts the legal connections of the JBC nominees; one of them, to my knowledge at least, was recommended by The Firm, in the days when their relationship with a prime client, Gloria and her esposo, was still hunky-dory; or she does not like the perceived independence of mind of some.

The little lady is about to make some earth-shaking decisions after she returns from her tete-a-tete with Barack Obama, and she wants the “numbers” in the high tribunal firmly secured.

Will the Chief Justice, as chair of the JBC, be able to prevail so the constitutional body will hold its ground? Abangan.

* * *

Also, just before she left for Washington D.C. with her esposo in tow this time, she added four names to the shortlist recommended by the National Commission for Culture and Arts (NCCA) and the Cultural Center.

The joint boards of CCP and NCCA recommended four art eminences: painter Federico Aguilar Alcuaz for the visual arts, novelist Lazaro Francisco (posthumous) for literature, Manuel Urbano, better known as Manuel Conde (posthumous) for film, and Ramon Santos. She sustained the three --- Alcuaz, Urbano and Lazaro, and then, all by herself, como La Dona, she adds four names to the list, her personal choices.

She named as additional National Artists, Pitoy Moreno for fashion design, Bobby Manosa for architecture, her NCCA-appointed chair, Cecile Guidote Alvarez for theatre arts, and the comic-strip writer Carlo Caparas for visual arts, and rejected Ramon Santos. She really hates “short” lists.

Now I can understand Pitoy and Bobby, even Cecile, whose contributions to the stage are meritorious enough, but Carlo Caparas? Pati ba naman National Artists, “her” choice? Whatever the Dona wants, the Dona gets?

Even the King of Spain does not meddle with the annual awards of the Academia Real. And yet Academia Real translates as Royal Academy. Don Claro M. Recto, the illustrious Recto, was elevated to the pantheon of immortals of “la cultura Hispanica” by the Academia. But in these benighted parts, an unelected president puts her indelible mark on everything and anything, deserving or not. Basta ya!

* * *

For the hegira to Obama, Cerge Remonde would not say how many and who were in tow. Not even at nine in the morning, when departure was early afternoon, could Cerge give out a list. He didn’t know---kuno. Busy s’ya because of the SONA--- kuno.

Wa ka kuyapi, Cerge? Nitabang ka pagsuat sa SONA? Basin mag-resign dayon si Teddy Boy Locsin, hala…magapahimo sunod kamo ug speech kang Lorelie Fajardo, ha, ha, ha!

Not until they were about to board their flight to Vancouver, with beaming trophy El Esposo no mas gordo tagged along, did Malacanang release their “official list” of hangers-on.

From the cabinet: ES Eduardo Ermita (the first time an executive secretary leaves with the president in a foreign trip, as far as I recall); DFA Sec. Bert Romulo, DTI Sec. Peter Favila; DND Sec. Gilbert Teodoro; Press Sec. Cerge Remonde; and Acting DOJ Sec. Agnes Devanadera. But I know that other cabinet members joined at the last minute. One of them had scheduled a lunch with this writer Monday after the SONA. Tuesday evening, he was told he would join the entourage.

Why is Ermita with her? Because human rights, of which he is supposedly the Malacanang expert (he, he, he), is high in the agenda of talks with State and Congress.

From the Senate: Senadora Miriam and Senador Lapid. Don’t ask me why, except that since JPE will not be in the meeting at the Oval Office, Senora Miriam will sub for him.

From the House: Speaker Prospero Nograles; Diosdado III a.k.a. Dato of Camarines Sur, also as part of the primera familia; Amelita Villarosa of Mindoro Occidental (again and again and again); Ferdinand Martin Romualdez (again and again and again); Aurelio Gonzales of Pampanga (again and again); Rachel Arenas of Panggalatok Pangasinan (again and again); Benny Abante of Manila; Nerissa Soon Ruiz of Mandaue in Cebu; Felix Alfelor of Camarines Sur (finally!); Dodo Mandanas of Batangas (again and again); Monico Puentevella of Bacolod (again and again); Naida Angping of Manila (again and again); Anna Susano of Quezon City; Alvin Sandoval of Malabon; Tony Alvarez of Palawan; Anna York Bondoc of Pampanga; Vincent Crisologo of Quezon City (finally!); Ramon Durano of Danao in Cebu; Edgar Chatto of Bohol (again); Cecilia Seares Luna of Abra (finally also); Del de Guzman of Marikina (to patch things up with Bayani?); Lalo Matugas of Surigao del Norte (eat you heart out, Barbers); Carissa Coscoluella of Buhay (na naman?); Ferj Biron of Iloilo (eat your heart out, Mar); Thomas Dumpit of La Union; Daryl Abayon of whatever other party list and son of Harlin of Northern Samar (away na talaga, Gov. Raul?); Rodante Marcoleta (buhay ka na naman?) of whatever else party list, probably Hello Garci Party; Godo Arquiza and Agapito Guanlao, also from the party-lists.

They are allowed to bring along their spouses or partners, provided these are paid for from their cuts in the pork barrel, or whatever other income not directly vouched for from the Treasury.

Together with Malacanang staff, cabinet secretaries’ staff, media, and business hangers-on (most likely the negociantes sin negocio are once more in tow), that’s big enough for a charter, so why make such a big thing out of an ill-disguised “commercial” flight? They will transfer to a chartered PAL plane waiting in Vancouver for the trip to Dulles International in Virginia. Such hypocrisy. Kunwari nagtitipid, but in truth, baka nga mas mahal pa.

This lady just doesn’t like short lists. Short and sweet ain’t for the lady. The Japanese Prime Minister and the Prime Minister of the UK do not travel in such style. Their retinue is as short and shallow as their countries’ pockets are deep and long.

And Dona Gloria thinks she will cut an impression with Barack and Michelle, with these lapdogs in tow?

* * *

Now who among all these will be allowed inside the Oval Office to meet with POTUS? La Dona Gloria, Speaker Nogie. Senora Miriam, Bert Romulo, Ambassador Willy Gaa, and Ed Ermita. No mas.. Just six for the shortlist.

While Michelle the First Lady, if she is minded to, would likely show the “public” rooms of the White House to her counterpart, El Esposo no mas gordo.

* * *

Danny Suarez, congressman of the Bondoc Peninsula upon Quezon, was also supposed to be part of the presidential party. But his wife, busy restaurateur Aleta, originally of Bogo in Cebu, passed away just the other day, in most untimely manner.

My sincere condolences to Danny, with whom I sipped coffee on a rainy Sunday afternoon before the SONA and the tragedy.


Anonymous said...

how true is this sad news about former Cong. Aleta Suarez? No one in the entourage seem to talk about it up to now.

Anonymous said...

How irresponsible and unprofessional of you to announce the death of someone when it is not true! Shame on you Mr. Banayo!
I would never do this to my worst ennemy! Has politics become so dirty now?
Yu owe a public apology to the Suarez family!