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Political theater

By: Jullie Y. Daza

ILOCOS Norte Gov. Imee Marcos is ending her term in 2019, so is Rep. Rudy Fariñas. They’re both grooming their children to follow in their footsteps.

Rudy initiated the investigation and subsequent detention for 55 days of six Ilocos officials for alleged misuse of funds to buy vehicles worth more than R66 million without bidding. If Imee had not appeared before the all-powerful committee on good government of the Big House last Tuesday, if she had not apologized for a libelous statement about a R100 million slush fund to incriminate her, the committee, equivalent to the Senate’s blue ribbon, would have been “forced” to detain the seven of them until 2019, “when the next Congress is elected.”

That threat had previously been aired at a media forum by Reps. Eugene de Vera and Salvador Belaro Jr., and it was not to be taken as a joke, the two insisting on and repeating the phrase “power of Congress” to summon witnesses.

Aware that their audience were aware of the back story framing the two protagonists from a province with a strong dynastic tradition, Rep. De Vera averred that “personalities have nothing to do with the issue,” dismissing the long-held notion that the practice of politics is one played for the people, by the people, for their entertainment, education or miseducation, much like showbiz, the difference being that in the reel world, there are only stars and the rest are extras.

The fate of the six (or seven) hangs: The inquisitors have more questions. Was the fund used for tobacco farmers exclusively? Do farmers need trucks and buses? What loopholes in the law ought to be excised?

The entry of Atty. Juan Ponce Enrile as Imee’s counsel should add a stronger flavor to the brew, ever since the Court of Appeals ruled to release the detainees and the Speaker of the House vowed to abolish that court. The CA is not the venue for this case, the congressmen chorused, “they should go to the Supreme Court.”

Let’s see what Atty. Enrile, who has never lost a case, will say about that as the drama continues to unfold: a clash of clans and the theatrics inherent in exercising the art of the possible in a land where nothing is impossible… at least not in politics.