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…
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…🇨🇿
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.”
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