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Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, February 28, 2019
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with Matè Espina


Rock & Refuge

The administration’s senatorial line-up with the President himself expected to join them will surely draw a huge crowd come March 8.

I have no doubt Duterte’s magic is still there and with him at the helm of this delegation, it will be easy to summon the people, particularly those who love it when he talks dirty and throws punches at others.

It will be interesting to see how our local officials who will join him on stage will react when he goes on his rants. Will they politely laugh at his not so laughable jokes which are always at the expense of others?

Or will they stand their ground as respectable people and show their constituents they are above the others who, perhaps out of fear or because they’ve just been dehumanized as well, continue to indulge the president when he slams others?

And there’s that other fear – will the president be naming people again allegedly involved in his drug war? And what will happen next?

Just the announcement alone that Duterte is coming has started tongues wagging, after all, his last official visit here led to the sacking of five police officers and the shaming of a top city councilor.

With this visit at the heels of businessman, Alex Yao’s murder, there may be forthcoming statements about it from the president who already has alluded to the murder victim in his speech over the weekend.

Though it’s wishful thinking, I still hope someone can whisper to him to be more sensitive for the sake of the family members who are still grieving their loss.

Just the other day, the CCTV footage of Yao’s murder was released to the media and it was obvious he was the target of the gunman who calmly shot him thrice and walked back to the waiting motorcycle.

Many in social media criticized that we should prevent wearing of helmets especially for riding-in-tandems so people can readily identify them. However, that CCTV showed the gunman did not even have a helmet on, his face visible to the child he brushed aside, and probably to the victim’s wife as well.

Of course the video was grainy so it was hard to identify the person or perhaps, those people are not from here, that’s why they didn’t actually care who saw their faces.

Many are saying there are more coming and I sincerely pray this will end now. But until March 8 comes, I am sure there will be bated breaths from people here, especially those whose names have ended up in the numerous lists that have been passed around.

MaBaGoKoTo represents the five senators who are officially under the PDP-Laban slate including ZahidMangudadatu, the very same person whose face we saw plastered in major parts of the city welcoming people to Bacolod. I’m just guessing he has proclaimed himself an adopted son of the City of Smiles because I haven’t heard an official announcement he has been adopted by the city government.

The Ba is for Bato de la Rosa (no words for him), Go for the president’s loyal sidekick, Bong Go, Ko is for Koko Pimentel who has done some good but will never be at par with the integrity his father has shown, although I may just vote for him for lack of choices, and To for Francis Tolentino (ho hum).

Joining the team are Senators Sonny Angara, JV Ejercito who will also be bringing the Estrada surname, this time in the hope that this will land him in the magic circle like his just out-of-jail half-brother Jinggoy, and Cynthia Villar. No doubt these three will get votes here as they are friends of the sugar industry.

The others are not in my radar and I refuse to even utter their names except for Raffy Alunan who, out of being a Negrense, will probably earn some votes here as well.

MaBaGoKoTo means “I can change this.” As to what those changes these senatoriables are offering, I hope they can send that message across so we will really know if they have it in their brains and be worthy to be called senators.

I just hope this rally here will not end up like that recent one in Cebu where they just sang their way into the hearts of mindless fans.

Ah…..welcome to Philippine politics!*

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