By Jun Ledesma

Lord and the gavel

October 14, 2020, 9:11 pm

IRREVOCABLE resignation and the symbolism of mace are now irrelevant. As the last string to cling to the speakership of the House, a faithful subaltern of Rep. Bebot Alvarez quickly took hold of the mace believing he or she who is in possession of the mace is the legitimate speaker.

In a blitzkrieg move by the emerging and strong alliance of regional parties, Alvarez was jettisoned from his post not knowing what happened. He blinked and in a nanosecond, he was no long Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Pampanga and former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was on the speaker’s podium.

He disappeared from the limelight and licked his wounds in Siargao, so we heard, and then later in Davao del Norte in the 1st District which he represents. While he is down, Alvarez was not out and plotted what is to be the most expensive political dogfight in the election saga in the province. Bebot and his team emerged as victors but then again he remained to be an inconsequential member of Congress. 

The case of Alan Peter Cayetano and Alan Lord Velasco differed from Alvarez in that that they had a gentleman’s agreement -- a term sharing they both hatched and claimed was witnessed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

On the day of reckoning, however, Peter engaged in some maneuverings with his colleagues in Congress to cling to his post. Malacanang may not have been pleased but recognized the independence of the lower chamber. The biggest mistake of Peter, moreover, was to suspend the session and therefore placed the proposed Budget for 2021 in jeopardy.  

During normal times, a reenacted budget may suffice. Peter forgot that we are in the midst of a pandemic and the 2020 budget definitely will place the country at risk since not an item in the 2020 budget had anything to do with the Covid-19 pandemic. Peter forgot too that the reenacted budget will impact on every local government unit, which, in battling the threats of Covid-19 and in extending varied assistance to their constituents depend largely on the help of the national government. Peter therefore unnecessarily created enemies of the local government units that in many parts of the country have forged regional parties and had come up with a formidable alliance.   

A reenacted budget would render  Pres. Rodrigo Duterte inutile thus, when Peter suspended the congressional session that’s when he broke the camel’s back. Duterte, fresh from getting an unprecedented Trust and Approval ratings, made a special TV appearance with a phalanx of men in uniform. He roared like the lion king: “Pass the 2021 budget or I will do it for you!’. 

That sealed the fates of Peter and Lord. Peter had ignored the urgency of the 2021 budget that will not only respond to health exigencies but also to revive a moribund economy. Lord need not belabor the issue because the congressmen will gravitate towards him after that stern message from the President. Peter need not deliver another oratory to tender his irrevocable resignation. He knew that the mace does not matter anymore and neither the venue. 

All that Lord really has to do is to learn how to handle that gavel. 


About the Columnist

Image of Jun Ledesma

Mr. Jun Ledesma is a community journalist who writes from Davao City and comments from the perspective of a Mindanaoan.