• Deadlines and inaugurations


    ONE cannot help but be amused by the kind of double-standard that has operated against the incoming government and President-elect.

    There’s how certain newspapers and media outfits will use the bad photos of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte, with face contorted in disgust or anger—exactly what they did to VP Jojo Binay for a full-year before the elections. There’s the Manila news reporters trying and failing to pretend that they do not feel bad that the President-elect has stopped holding long news conferences, the ones that were exasperating, confusing, offensive, disgusting, but always highly entertaining because of their being surprisingly different, and which meant news stories to last for days.

    I am amused enough to keep from quickly joining the fray and shooting from the hip, more aware now of how everything the media covers is a choice that they make, and much of what we are fed comes from a very specific angle, perspective, spin. It’s a good exercise in trying not to be blindly complicit in dominant discourses; it’s a good exercise in thinking before sharing or retweeting anything at all.

    Following the rules
    But I will not get tired of calling out the Commission on Elections for its foibles—and there have been many. Before, during, and after the elections, the Comelec has gotten embroiled in a gamut of issues: from the leak of voters’ data to its insistence on Comelec Resolution No. 10083’s restrictions on pre-proclamation protests; from all the reported irregularities on social and mainstream media to its decision that none of these matter unless official complaints are filed; from pooh-poohing the change in the hashcode to creating the conditions for us to question the count amid its own declarations of clean and credible elections.

    Certainly the Comelec didn’t need another feather on its cap. But this is exactly what it earned when it decided to extend the deadline on the submission of the Statement of Contributions and Expenses (SOCE) of candidates and their parties for the 2016 elections. Losing candidates are required to pay a fee for missing the deadline; winning candidates will not be allowed to take office. The latter is also the consequence when a winning candidates’ party fails to submit the SOCE on time.

    In its own rules, Comelec says that the SOCE deadline is final and not extendable.

    We are told that the decision of the Comelec en banc to extend the deadline does not only benefit the Liberal Party, but also the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino and the Aksyon Demokratiko. This begs the question: Among these three parties, how many actually have winning candidates? And certainly only one has seven senatorial winners and one vice president?

    Certainly, the Liberal Party could’ve respected the electoral process and its public, and just followed the rules. And certainly, when you have seven senators and a VP-elect who have fallen silent on this blatant disregard of the rules, and an even more blatant display of favoritism from Comelec, what they say about the law and abiding by it can only be put into question?

    Ah, but we never question the angel that is the VP-elect.

    Following rituals
    On social and mainstream media, VP-elect Leni Robredo is always the one who is inaapi, who is kawawa naman. That is how her silence is spun.

    To be fair with the VP-elect’s team, they seem to be adjusting to their role in this incoming government, constantly being put in their place as they are. We argue the reasons are questionable as it includes personal relationships and political alliances. But isn’t this how the Liberal Party operated the past six years—on friendship and alliances?

    Why would the VP-elect deserve any better, when her own party has treated political enemies in exactly this same way, and in many instances one would hear, has treated them worse?

    So all this noise about how the VP-elect is inaapi by the President-elect is just Pinoy social/media being all madrama. The VP herself does not seem to care—and she shouldn’t because her office has its own budget, and she’s got her own thing going regardless of who is her President.

    But, oh, how her followers are messing up big-time—and when I say this I mean those who have taken offense at the decision of President-elect Duterte to refuse the ritual of having an oath-taking in Luneta as is the custom, and to refuse to have it with the VP-elect. The rationale based on the official press release is simple: a smaller group of 500 friends and family is all that the President-elect wants for his inauguration—it is unfair to demand a small number of guests for the incoming VP, who deserves her own freedom to invite who she must.

    I tend to think it is a refusal to mix the Liberal Party that the VP-elect ran under, and the PDP-Laban and independents who supported Duterte.

    Others see this as an affront to ritual, and to notions of unity. I see it as a refusal at pretense. It is like saying the political divide is real: deal with it.

    The problem really is that we don’t know how to deal with this political divide, and the more vocal and high-profile members of the VP-elect’s fans club are having the hardest time at dealing. Which is ironic considering that they themselves banked on this divide during the campaign, declaring a class war via binaries: decent vs bastos, democratic vs communist, marangal vs dishonorable.

    Now some of them have agreed that the President-elect’s simplified version of the inauguration, with 500 guests to be served buko juice and maruya at Malacañang’s Rizal Hall, is a “small and cheap inaugural in the safety of Malacañang.”

    With elitism like this, it’s like Daang Matuwid never ends.

    Meanwhile, the VP-elect should ask herself: with followers like these, who needs enemies?


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    1. Mike Bunning on

      Hindi naman marunong bumasa ang mga yellowtars….Lalong hindi marunong sumunod at umintindi ng deadline and non-extendable…..

    2. Keen observation. I admire Ms. Katrina’s ability to translate this very well into words.

    3. Let it go. If someone wants to have separate inauguration, so be it. Just keep quiet about it. Not a big thing. Wtalk about, and worry about the crime situation, the poverty situation, the drugs situation… will Duterte’s policies be good for the people. Forget about whether he will have a separate inauguration. Forget about what you say is Leni feeling inaapi. Forget about all that crap. Focus on the really significant things.

    4. Mary Rose Cobar on

      just wondering why the yellow media picture their VP as unassuming and as ms. stuart santiago said as inaapi when her declaration as VP is clouded with cheating by smartmatic and Comelec.
      Such hypocrisy! just like the CHR who prefer to defend the criminals instead of the victims of perfidy

    5. Chris Espiritu on

      The President had the prerogative to appoint or do not appoint a VP especially if they are PCOS aided. The sad fact is that the Yellowtard cry babies are imposing Pres. Duterte to give the Yellow hypocrite a cabinet post. Too bad BBM will be part of the new cabinet and assume his rightful place as VP once Andy Bautista and the Yellow dummies leave Comelec.

    6. Feeling inaapi ba ang drama again ng mga Yellows, magkaisa daw as the song goes on? Hahaha! The same melodrama its Puppeteers produced. The yellow VP is only a decoy, waiting the unguarded time the Puppeteers to strike via crash landing (like Nagsaysay?),kudeta corrupting the military (EDSA), impeachnent usibg people’s money/taxes. But first it will provide 24/7, year round of exag negative news.

    7. To hell with daang matuwid… enough of hypocrisy. Akala mo sila lang ang magaling at mabait sa mundo. Tama na , Sobra na!

    8. DU30 treatment of VP elect Robredo is showing his divisiveness.

      DU30 was elected to the president of all Filipinos and not only those he like and his ‘friends’. Shame on you and you need to grow up and act as President not a ‘Divider-in-Chief’!

      • Talunan ka lang Mr. Lopez Gopez! Wait ’til the concrete changes happen. Ito sigurado, unlike sa ‘daang tumuwad’! Hahaha!:-)

      • why don’t you tell the to the yellow band…the epitome of divisiveness…hahaha

    9. what is it really that you want done? that the elected officials should not assume their respective offices? if so, who in your understanding should hold the offices then? only after you can determine the remedy should you speak of penalty. status quo stands in absence of remedy and this argument is moot and academic.

    10. albert r. palafox on

      Election is over, forget the politics, your are politicizing any act by the other party. Everybody must unite to move the Philippines forward, You should write about the encroachementof China in the West Philippine SEA. Once again election is over moved on. get a life

    11. Dick S. O'Rosary on

      I remember PNoy’s dramatic non-following of rituals when he had himself sworn before someone other than the chief justice. We have precedent.

    12. Quite right about putting Leni in her place. She is a moral hypocrite who has quickly learned to be a traditional politician.

    13. Duterte should keep his head down if he wants to keep it.

      The plan to have Duterte removed and Robredo replace him seems in place, Robredo as president would mean no investigations into the DAP fund or the pork barrel fund, the coco fund, the yolanda fund etc.

      With Duterte out of the way no one in the liberal party would not have to worry about going to jail for misusing the peoples money.

    14. Dear Ms. Stuart-Santiago,

      Wow, I truly enjoy reading your articles more and more “Fair Lady”! I must say you are quite observant.

      Thank you very much and more success in your work!