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If the inauguration of President Rody Duterte were any indication, the State of the Nation Address scheduled this afternoon will be a SONA like no other.
The usual glitter (translation: fashion show) will not be there. President Rody has signalled often enough that he wants it simple. Business attire will do. The traditional formalities will not be there. No need for the greetings of “His Excellency” and “Honorable” (for other public functionaries).
Just guessing. But the usual rallies might not even be there. After all, the militants already have direct access to the President.
I surmise that the address itself to both houses of Congresss, and the Filipino people, will be short and sweet. Just like his inaugural. At its core will be the direction we are headed and how President Rody proposes to get us there.
If there is one main message that President Rody may want to focus on, then it should be an urgent call to amend the constitution via a constitutional convention. And it should be now.
A cornerstone of his campaign – Federalism – can only be done via charter change. Morever, a review of economic provisions – which are perceived to have hindered our national competitiveness – is long overdue.
The timing is just right. More people, compared to six years ago, are now open to Cha Cha.
A notable presence today will be former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Forced by circumstances to be absent during at least three sessions, she will not miss today’s opening of Congress for anything.
Last week, the Supreme Court, voting 11-4, gave her the clean bill. There is no strong evidence against the former President. There is no conspiracy to commit plunder. The decision can not be any clearer and louder than that.
Those who used to frequent the jai alai fronton years and years ago are familiar with the jai alai rule written in bold letters – EL FALLO DEL JUEZ ES INAPELABLE.
Translation : Pag sinabi ng huwes, tapos!
Time to move on.
The Funny Side of President Rody
The tough-talking President has a skill very few people know about. At least until that gathering at San Beda a couple of weeks back. The testimonial meeting was organized by the “citizens of the San Beda Republic” and attended by some notable honorary members like former President Fidel V. Ramos, former Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban and Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang.
President Rody had his audience doubling up in laughter as he regaled them with his “Solidum joke”. Solidum is none other than the late Judge Arsenio Solidum who taught law at San Beda, Ateneo and other law schools.
President Rody could really mimick the late beloved professor who was noted for his shrill voice and fractured pronunciation. Surprised when Solidum asked him to move to the front row and to recite, President Rody involuntarily scratched the back of his head.
The judge scolded the promdi-who-would-be-President:
“Duterte….. stop spreading your dandroof (spelled as pronounced) inside the room…… Keep your dandroof …….on your head……… It’s the only one you have (on your head).”
Justice Secretary Vit Aguirre almost dropped his wig laughing.
The incident prompted my former classmate Gary Lising to write a short congratulatory note to President Rody expressing his compliments “from one stand-up comedian to another”.
(Quotable quotes lifted from Vice President Leni Robredo’s public pronouncements)
– “Ang sandaling ito ay hindi lamang tungkol sa akin. Ito ang ating pagkakataong makasama ang mga nasa laylayan ng lipunan tungo sa maginhawang buhay sa mas malawak na paraan.”
– “…from 1 per cent to Vice President…”
– “Yung tila imposible, naging posible.”
– “Ang inyong pagtulong, walang hinanap na kapalit.”
– “Ang bahay ko, bahay niyo na rin.”
– “Magpakumbaba. Huwag makipag-away. Magpatawad.”
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(Atty. Ignacio R. Bunye)