PRESUMPTIVE President-elect Rodrigo Duterte made an encouraging gesture in offering his hands of friendship to his rivals and start healing the wounds of a heated campaign.
Instead of gloating over his uphill battle to a resounding victory, Duterte showed himself to be a man who could be humble and gentle and victory. This is a far cry from the irreverent, foul-mouthed persona that he projected during the campaign. He’s starting on the right foot and the whole nation hopes he’ll continue with all the right moves. I could hardly wait for what he’ll do after June 30 when he starts his six-year term as president.
If ever there will be a continuing tension, it won’t come from Duterte’s rivals who remained unbending in honest defeat. Former Secretary Mar Roxas and Sen. Grace Poe readily conceded to him. Vice President Jojo Binay had declared that he would respect the winner. Now, if only he could rein in his rabid followers who couldn’t stomach any criticisms, the healing of the political wounds is certain to take place.
On the other hand, the close race for the vice presidency between Sen. Bongbong Marcos and Rep. Leni Robredo of Camarines Sur is certain to engender continuing tension. Whoever is declared winner is certain to face protests before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal.
Party-list Rep. Jonathan dela Cruz, a leader of Marcos, has a point in asking a stop to the unofficial partial count that has already accounted for more than 90 percent of the polling precincts. Dela Cruz said that the unofficial results don’t even identify where they came from. He added that in the past, unofficial counts were stopped after reaching about 80 percent “so there would be no problem later on when the official returns come in.”
Transgender in the House
The Philippine legislature will have its first transgender member when it opens in July. Geraldine Roman of the first district of Bataan beat Hermosa Mayor Daniel Malana to gain this distinction. (I wrote about her candidacy in my column last May 4.)
It helped her a lot that her parents, Herminia and the late Antonino, were the district representatives in the last 18 years. Now, about the question of which rest room she should use at the House, she should be grateful that the Philippines isn’t North Carolina where an existing law requires a person to use only the rest room for his or her sex at birth.
Roman’s election showed that there’s growing acceptance of the LGBT sector in the country despite the fulminations of Manny Pacquiao. There had been many gays and lesbians in the House. There had been suspicions of the Senate’s having gay members. But whatever their sexual preference, what really matters is their having the mandate of the people.
Sometimes, a political dynasty becomes so big that rivalry among family members inevitably ensues. This happened in the fifth congressional district of Iloilo where Gel, wife of outgoing Rep. Neil Tupas Jr., ran against her brother-in-law Boboy of the Nationalist People’s Coalition.
Neil Tupas had earlier promised to support his brother Boboy’s bid to replace him. Later, however, he reneged on that promise and fielded his wife Gel instead. Incidentally, Boboy won.
A similar situation took place in the second district of Nueva Ecija, my home province. Mikki Violago, wife of outgoing Rep. Joseph Violago, ran against his brother-in-law Lito Violago. Mikki won handily.
Incidentally, outgoing Gov. Oyie Umali appears to have lost in his bid to regain his seat in the third congressional district of Nueva Ecija. As of press time, he’s trailing Ria Vergara by about 2,000 votes. On the other hand, his wife Rep. Cherry Umali has won as governor.
In Camarines Sur, the younger Villafuertes continue to lord it over the family patriarch Luis who had supported rival candidates. Migz Villafuerte, grandson of Luis, was reelected governor. Luis’s son, former Gov. LRAY was elected congressman of the second district. Luis was trailing Gabriel Bordado Jr. of the LP in the third congressional district as of press time.
Former Rep. Aurelio Gonzales Jr. is leading reelectionist Rep. Oscar Rodriguez in the third district of Pampanga. Rodriguez defeated Gonzales in 2013.
Rep. Harlin Abayon (NUP) of the first district of Northern Samar again faced his old foe and former ally, former Rep. Raul Daza. Daza protested the proclamation of Abayon in 2013 in a case that went up to the Supreme Court.
In the lone district of Marinduque, reelectionist Rep. Lord Allan Jay Velasco is leading Regina Reyes. Velasco had won his protest against the proclamation of Reyes in 2013, saying Reyes was disqualified from running for being a US citizen.