Dispatch from Crame No. 348: Sen. Leila M. de Lima’s Statement on the pre-SONA House coup


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The last-minute circus at the House before the SONA revealed former President Macapagal-Arroyo as the runaway winner in the latest power struggle to rock the administration camp. Duterte was shown to be inept, kept waiting in a holding room like a bystander while Arroyo jockeyed for position, and while ousted Speaker Alvarez tried to negotiate an undeserved graceful exit.

Only 8 years ago, Arroyo was also a prominent name in the SONA, but as the subject of then President Noynoy Aquino’s first SONA where he promised to go after the Arroyo kleptocracy. Eight years hence, Arroyo is back in power, her record of plunder and corruption notwithstanding. The joke has become a self-fulfilling prophecy: the people voted Duterte, but it was Arroyo who won. This is the bargain the Filipino got, a buy-one, take-one ukay-ukay deal.

Bringing back the corrupt and the plunderers is Duterte’s biggest achievement in this year’s SONA. Never mind a legislative agenda that would fight poverty, spur development, and save the people from runaway inflation and rising unemployment. Letting Arroyo grab the speakership, with the resultant bandwagon which includes the Marcoses, was the first order of business of the people around the President as he starts his third year in office. It is politics as usual for his administration. Meanwhile, the actual state of the nation continues its downward spiral.

Arroyo’s insatiable desire for power and plunder will yet be the end of Duterte, as her House coup has already shown the cracks in an alliance of shifting loyalties, and the weaknesses in the Duterte camp. And as every one among their followers unites behind charter change and federalism, there is no doubt who, after Duterte, will be one of the primary beneficiaries of the new order.

What a pitiful state of affairs we now have… ###

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