Lord be with you

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    ‘And so, as yesterday came to an end, we saw one Speaker bow out while another was ascendant. Speaking un-Biblically, I guess we can say that Lord triumphed over Peter, but knowing Peter he will reemerge somehow because he is a survivor.’

    LIKE many Filipinos who are politically-inclined I was glued to livestream broadcasts of the events at the Celebrity Sports Plaza last Monday afternoon and the House session hall yesterday, following the latest goings-on in the House of Representatives. The tug-of-war between the Representative from Taguig’s first district and the one from the lone district of Marinduque was provoking me at least a most welcome distraction from worries about dolomite sand washing out into Manila Bay and returning to Cebu where it came from.

    Because, we are told, that’s the natural process when it comes to sand: it washes off the beach due to wave action and eventually returns to where it came from. Which is Cebu, right?

    Anyway, what made this Alan vs. Allan tug-of-war more interesting to me is that many of the key players in this K-drama-cum-BL political version of ours are old acquaintances of mine, who I “grew up” with. Mike Defensor, for example, was a UP contemporary who had fiery anti-establishment rhetoric on campus. Cavite’s Jesus Crispin Remulla was an undergrad batch mate and fellow Bayan party member (this was “Bagong Kamalayan” of UP campus politics, and no relation to “Bagong Alyansang Makabayan.”) While I do not know Rep. Lord Allan from Adam (and he, me), Rep. Alan Cayetano was for years like a younger brother – complete with trips (here and abroad) together and, of course, disagreements mainly over politics.

    I’ll say it again: I was never a fan of the “term sharing” agreement hatched between Alan and Allan after the mid-term elections. But both gentlemen (together with Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez of Leyte, also a contemporary in UP) got into it with eyes wide open, and it was on the basis of that agreement that our Lower House was run until fairly recently.

    And then interests and ambitions became a volatile mix as the time for the term sharing agreement to kick loomed larger on the horizon, fueled by the budget season and the COVID pandemic. That the House figuratively degenerated into a kindergarten playground was an expected result of two parties digging in and no one willing to yield an inch.

    I watched Speaker Alan announce his irrevocable resignation on Facebook Live, for which I was happy and sad. Happy because in many ways it ends the warfare in the House that was affecting its business, while indicting some damage on its reputation as an institution as well as on the cast of characters involved. I was sad because I felt that it didn’t have to come to this between two men who, their friends say, are truly nice people at heart. And yet it did – because when even nice people get sucked into the churning waters of power and politics it is extremely difficult to extricate yourself and get out.

    I also watched how Speaker Lord Allan Velasco was voted into office by his colleagues, some of whom just recently were happy to vote his predecessor into the same chair. Again, that’s power and politics churning together; if the election of a new Speaker calms the waters, realize that someday, sooner or later, they will be churning again and we will all wait with baited breaths to see if Speaker Velasco will survive the churning, or not. That’s how it was, it is, and it always will be.

    And so, as yesterday came to an end, we saw one Speaker bow out while another was ascendant. Speaking un-Biblically, I guess we can say that Lord triumphed over Peter, but knowing Peter he will reemerge somehow because he is a survivor. And is the rock of his family and his constituents.

    As for the House I suppose I and the rest of the Filipino public can only say “Lord be with you.”

    Now get back to working for the people.