Panty’s Party

The birthday boy addresses his adoring public in front of a humongous LED screen.

WHAT A BASH.

On Friday, January 12, the spacious atrium of the New Tagum City Hall was filled with the political A-list. Led by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, cabinet and legislative officials, the Russian and Chinese ambassadors, key business figures, Boy Abunda, and members of the local alta sociedad came to greet Speaker Panty Alvarez a hearty happy birthday.

On the evening of January 9, Tuesday, the public was treated to a concert featuring Parokya ni Edgar, SpongeCola, Jed Madela, K Brosas, Jonalyn Viray, Marco Sison, and other celebrities. It went on till the wee hours to herald (salubong) Panty’s big day. It was a fête fit for a superstar.





Iconic bands like Parokya ni Edgar and Sponge Cola, pop idols Jona and Macelino Pomoy, and other Mindanao bands made up…

Posted by Tagum Photographer on Mittwoch, 10. Januar 2018

The night was capped with a fabulous fireworks display.

I was browsing through the photos shared on Facebook, awed by the extravagance of the affair, when I chanced on this public post. Note the caption. The event is identified as a “forum”:

The highlight of tonight Forum Welcome again to Tagum City Davao del Norte President Rodrigo Roa Duterte…🇨🇿

Posted by RosKha Sophia McDep on Freitag, 12. Januar 2018

 

FORUM?

So the Friday thing was a forum, was it? But was it also a party for politicos? I found this in the Inquirer’s report:

On Tuesday, Alvarez hosted political supporters at the New Tagum City Hall, and even used the opportunity to rally them into the federalism campaign. “This year, 2018, we will revise our Constitution. Let us unite and support this initiative of the President,” he said.

A gathering of political supporters sounds like a forum. If it was, then there was one on Tuesday, another on Friday…was this “forum” a multi-day event? Well, the Inquirer described the celebration as a week-long affair… So now I’m thinking that in Tagum “forum” might be just another word for “party.”

The Tuesday get-together “hosted” by Alvarez at the City Hall was followed by the big-name salubong concert “sponsored by the House leader’s office” for the public’s enjoyment.  I was struck by Miro Quimbo’s “flower-power” post on Instagram. Click this link and look at it; are they in beach wear? Did the itinerary include a quick visit to Tagum’s famed Banana Beach, perhaps, before heading on to the big event? Possibly. There are no reports of what happened on Thursday; probably they took a breather to prepare for the posh gathering of politicos on Friday. For a 60-year old, Panty sure has a lot of stamina.





THE BIG QUESTION

Who footed the bill for all this?

Did the Speaker? The Speaker’s office? His supporters? I think we ought to be told, don’t you? There’s a lot of stone-casting being done in the House these days against CJ Maria Lourdes Sereno, at Panty’s instigation. They are hitting her for (among other things) her supposedly “extravagant lifestyle.” In view of that, this hyper-celebrating exposes Panty as a rank hypocrite.

With what funds did the Speaker and his office sponsor the free concerts, the assembly, the “forum” and whatnot? Are we to assume that all these celebrities donated their services out of pure love? Even granting that, there were logistical expenses. That huge LED screen, the lights, the sounds, the collaterals. There were even giveaways for the guests. Under what item in the budget of the Office of the Speaker does all this fall?

I’m nitpicking because a concerned reader sent me this:

As you can see, the Office of the Mayor of Tagum City was indeed preparing for a “forum” on the 9th and 12th of January. That’s Tuesday and Friday of the birthday week, by the way. This was to be attended by “national and local officials,” a “big event” “graced” (?!) by Digong and Panty that was to happen in beloved Tagum. Sounds like an LGU thing, doesn’t it? If we surmise that it was funded by the LGU coffers, we couldn’t be faulted.

I checked Duterte’s activities: he was busy all day in Manila on the 9th, but on the 12th he was in Tagum, partying with Panty. Nowhere in his annals does this “National and Local Officials Forum” show up. You’d think such a “big event” would appear in the presidential records, no? No. What the Presidential Communications Office website has is a slideshow of Panty’s big bash.

There certainly doesn’t seem to have been a forum, but there appears to have been a party disguised as a “forum.”

Giveaways: Davao cacao tablea, compliments of the Speaker of the House (photo posted by Facebook user Rogeneth Pagdilao Llanos)

Giveaways: 3 rolls of tablea per guest, 10 guests per table. This photo shows Table No. 71. (photo posted by Facebook user Rogeneth Pagdilao Llanos)

There were A LOT of tables. (photo posted by Facebook user Rogeneth Pagdilao Llanos)

This calls to mind an informative Mindanao Sun Chronicle article published last December. It read:

As he (Alvarez) crossed boundaries to serve being a Speaker of the House of Representatives, he also informed the huge crowd that beginning from the gathering District 2 constituents can now ask hospitalization assistance from his congressional office “charged to me” when they are confined in Davao Regional Medical Center in Tagum City. Free medicines would also be availed by District 2 constituents.

Considering that the people of District 2 are not his constituents, Speaker Panty is being extremely generous indeed. Free medicine and hospitalization assistance for the folks of District 2 care of his District 1 congressional office, “charged to him.” I had no idea he was so rich. Whattaguy.

So who paid for the week-long lavish jubilation? This is what the Commission of Audit must find out.

This regime is big on integrity and simple living, touting its mosquito-netted lodi as the epitome of honesty. That party was the antithesis of simple. Its prodigality was detestable. Yet Duterte condoned it; what’s more, he enjoyed it. This duplicitous behavior is outright fraud, nothing but the manipulation of his supporters’ trust.

If you haven’t yet, watch the fireworks display video above. All that was for one person, a man who did his damndest this past year to desecrate our values and despoil the rule of law. It beat Imelda’s shimmying on the BRP Ang Pangulo by a mile, and Panty isn’t even the First Lady. If Duterte and his minions mean what they say, then they should hold him accountable.

Who really paid for the party? Did his ardent supporters cover it, or did we? (That was a rhetorical question.)

You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. – John 8:44

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Comments (20)

  1. Fey Pandora

    Reply

    Daghang salamat for calling our attention to this HUGE matter. Si Sen. Leila de Lima na naturingang DRUG QUEEN hindi nga naka-host ng ganitong ka engrande na birthday party. Indeed, we should be informed who paid for all of these. Lalo na ngayon na tumaas na naman ang presyo ng bilihin dahil sa TRAIN Law.

    • Reply

      Thank you too for responding. You make a good point about Leila. As for this regime, we should remain vigilant and keep holding our public servants accountable for their behavior. As someone said, “Democracy is not a spectator sport.” God bless you!

  2. Reply

    …ika nga ” nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere IGNORANCE and conscientious STUPIDITY “!! Clearly, a significant number of those who voted for Panty Alvarez and the rest of the present administration or rather his minions are IGNORANT or perhaps acting ignorant and just merely going with the flow to remain in their present position and STUPID for allowing the things that Panty does!

    • Reply

      This is why I feel that it is our duty…and it should be our priority…to raise awareness and educate those in our circle (and beyond!) about issues that affect us all. We must each claim our rights and freedoms and defend them. Thank you for taking the time to comment. God bless you.

  3. vinevolution

    Reply

    Kung totoo nga na nagamit ang pera ni Juan de la Cruz dito. Kahit Piso. SPDA, pwede na po kayong magbitiw. Kahiya- hiya naman po kasi sa aming mga manggagawa na gumastos para sa Birthday bash mo habang hinahayaan na lang namin dumaan ang sarili naming kaarawan dahil sa hirap ng buhay ngayon.

    • Reply

      Sangayon po ako sa inyo. Napakasakit po’ng malaman na ang pinaghirapan ay mapupunta lang sa ganito. Sana naman hindi. Pero kung totoo nga, ay dapat pagbayaran. Pagpalain po kayo ng Diyos.

  4. navigator23

    Reply

    this is a common practice in government. during the birthday of big bosses, a meeting or conference will be the done so that officials from other regional or provincial offices will attend on official time and official business. in effect, the cost of the birthday celebration of the government official is shouldered by the taxpayers. i don’t know why COA is allowing this when it is very obvious that it is illegal and unethical

    • Reply

      Really? This is sad. Probably the practice has been “institutionalized” because not many call it out. We really must make it our business to speak up against wrongdoing. It’s our civic duty as well as our moral responsibility. I feel this is the only way we can start to make a genuine difference in our culture. Thanks so for your comment. God bless you.

  5. Tata

    Reply

    Alam ko mahirap magpigil, pero sana iwasan na nating sabihin na tanga o ignorante ang mga bumoto sa administrasyon. Ako man ay hirap na hirap na hindi sila sabihan ng masasakit na salita online. Kaya lang mas lalong nakakadagdag sa pagkakawatakwatak natin. Let’s stick to the issues. Collective change lalo na sa middle class ang kailangan kaya lang mahirap mangyari kasi mapagpatol tayo lahat.

    • Reply

      Ako rin po ay umiiwas sa mga ganyang kataga dahil minsan ay mas nakakagulo lang ng usapan. Ang problema po ay ang mismong pangulo at kanyang mga alagad ang nangunguna sa ganito estilo at nagiging kultura na. Dapat nga nating baguhin at ibalik ang moralidad sa lahat ng bagay. We should restore values and respect for common decency. Even bit by bit, if we keep at it, it can be done. Blessings!

  6. Theresa Madarieta

    Reply

    I’m a “martial law baby” n grew up being constantly hushed by my parents against speaking out any concerns against people in power. Was relieved when people power happened knowing i’d be able to raise my kids in a free country finally. Now i fear that I’ll be raising grandkids in the same frightful era i grew up in. I’m so disappointed and disgusted that a majority of us including most of the opposition in power and in the media have become FEARFUL AND SILENCED just to survive. We are turning stoic and calloused by the daily bombardment of confusing news and injustice while we are pushed against the wall worrying how we will survive in our daily existence and fulfilling obligations. To each his own has become the mantra if you were to survive while people in power freely spends more than 50% of our daily income leaving us with nothing but a few scraps in our table. We are being contained and constrained to spend to a bare minimum so we can afford to bear the new taxes imposed. Even the sweet indulgence we Filipinos enjoy have become a luxury. Sad days ahead indeed. Dreaming for better days to miraculously come is even hard to come by these days.

    • Reply

      What an insightful comment. Thank you. I too was a martial law baby and I can relate with everything you said. I lament the same things: the tendency to compromise, the cynicism, the fatalism, the apathy, the resignation, the hopelessness. I believe we can fight against these and so I write, hoping others who cannot express themselves will find common cause with me and be empowered. I’ve been seen as Quixotic and naïve, a Pollyanna in a very rough world. I’m not really. I just believe in God and feel that all this is contrary to His ways. My cause is His cause. I claim John 1:5 and insist in faith on its truth: Christ’s light will overcome the darkness. God bless you mightily.

  7. marilou nobleza

    Reply

    why quote the bible? it doesnt make sense. the verse is about unbelievers, not thieves

    • Reply

      Oo nga po. Ngunit wag po sana tayo mawalan ng pag-asa. Manindigan po tayo sa katwiran at manampalataya lang po sa Diyos. Manalig, manalangin, magsalita, kumilos. Kaya po natin baguhin ang sistema, sa tulong ng Panginoon. God bless you po.

  8. Ricardo Domingo Jr

    Reply

    This administration is a bunch of hypocrites! Prosecuting opponents for lavish lifestyles on one hand and practice the same on the other. Let’s not let them get away with this….partying our taxes away while the majority of the public starve and are deprived of decent public transportation.change is coming? You’ve got to be kidding me…

    • Reply

      I share your disgust, Mr. Domingo. We’ve got to express our outrage and call them to account…while we still can. Thank you for your comment. God bless you.

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