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Day of joy and sadness

Greetings to the Philippine Air Force (PAF).

Led by Lt. Gen. Edgar Fallorina, the Air Force family marks its 69th anniversary tomorrow with a parade and review at Air Force City, Clark Air Base, Pampanga. The guest of honor and speaker is President Rodrigo Duterte, in his first affair with the PAF since assumption to office.

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June 30 was celebrated at Vice President Leni Robredo’s place in Quezon City. Earlier we boarded buses at the Sampaguita Gardens that took us to the reception house on 10th Street, just a few blocks away from home. Upon arrival, lumpia and bottled water were offered to the guests.

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The rites were simple. First was the singing of the national anthem; ecumenical services and the administration of the oath of office by Barangay Captains Rolando Coner and Regina San Miguel, both from Camarines Sur, followed in short order. Speaking before an audience that included running mate Mar Roxas, members of the Aquino Cabinet and a number of Liberal Party stalwarts who had not joined the exodus to the Promised Land, the Vice President called for national unity. Invoking the memory of her late husband Jesse Robredo, she reiterated what he once said: “What brings us together as a nation is far more powerful than what pulls us apart.” Amid cries of “Leni, Leni,” Robredo spoke of her office being a “listening office,” one that would listen to “the things you want changed.”

I had never met the Vice President before. It was an opportunity to greet the lady and offer congratulations. The all-too-brief meeting was a joy, and I left with the feeling that she would be good for our country.

By the time I returned home, the television showed outgoing President Aquino receiving his final salute from the Presidential Guards to the tune of “Fly High, Blue Eagle.”

At exactly high noon, President-elect Rodrigo Duterte took his oath of office as the 16th president of the Republic. Unlike many other inaugural speeches by Philippine presidents, his first address to the nation was simple and straight to the point. There was little use of high-sounding phrases or soaring prose. He  declared that his policies—economic, financial and political—were contained in two quotations:

One was from Franklin Delano Roosevelt—“The test of government is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide for those who have little.”

The other was from Abraham Lincoln—“You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong; you cannot help the poor by discouraging the rich; you cannot help the wage earner by pulling down the wage payor; you cannot further the brotherhood by inciting class hatred among men.”

Toward the end he said: “…I was not elected to serve the interests of any one person or any group, or any class.” Quoting an unnamed source, he added “I have no friends to serve, I have no enemies to harm.”

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Somehow, my thoughts wondered to the lady whose inauguration I had just attended and whose presence in Malacañang this morning was denied for the silliest of reasons.

In the evening, I got to thinking about the events that had just taken place, I felt a trace of sadness, like a child who had just witnessed his father and mother celebrating a wondrous occasion but unfortunately under separate roofs. And I asked myself, why couldn’t they be together as one, setting aside their differences even for a brief moment for the sake of family unity?

In the afternoon, the following day, July 1, the world seemed a bit brighter as I watched the new President warmly greeting the Vice President at the AFP change of command ceremonies in Camp Aguinaldo. If I was in charge of the seating arrangements, I would have sat them next to each other, the better to jumpstart a conversation that could have erased the seeming distance between them. Let us hope that the cordial relations between the two highest officials of the land continue to improve over time. If we are to overcome our difficulties and succeed as a nation, all hands are needed, regardless of party, religion, gender or regional background.

Consla versus PPCRV

Party-list group Confederation of Non-Stocks Savings and Loan Associations Inc. (Consla) recently filed a complaint against the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) asking for an explanation regarding the discrepancy in votes received by Consla in the PPCRV’s quick count and in the Commission on Elections official tally during the May elections.

Briefly: On May 9, 2016, Consla noted that during the early hours of the PPCRV quick count, it had secured 342,513 votes. By the next day, Consla claims this figure went up to 555,896, ranking them No. 14 in the overall tally of party-list groups. These results were posted on the Twitter feeds of the PPCRV. However, when the Comelec announced its final tally for party-list groups, Consla had garnered only 213,814—a discrepancy of 342,082 votes between the PPCRV’s quick count and the Comelec’s figures.

As of this date, no formal explanation has been given to Consla by the PPCRV regarding this discrepancy although, according to some news reports, officials of the PPCRV indicate a “connectivity” problem. They also cited the large number of volunteers which made it difficult to control and monitor the figures that were being posted by the PPCRV.

Whatever the case may be, the PPCRV has an obligation to enlighten the parties concerned, as well as the general public, as to the causes of these discrepancies that resulted in confusion and a possible loss of credibility on its part. In past elections the PPCRV has done much to win the confidence and support of our people. It must do everything to protect this hard-won reputation even if it means an admission of errors and possibly the existence of deficient internal controls. Only then can we improve on the past.

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TAGS: inauguration, opinion, President Rodrigo Duterte, Vice President Leni Robredo
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