‘PH Retrograde’

For those who believe in astrology, there’s uneasiness and nervousnesswhenever the planet Mercury enters into retrograde motion.  “Oh no, Mercury is about to retrograde again,” or “Mercury is in retrograde,” they would say with worried expressions on their faces.

They believe and interpret this retrograde as a sign of misfortune and bad things to come.  For them, Mercury’s retrograde means that things “will get worse” rather than better, that things will go backward rather than move forward.

Is the Philippines in “Mercury retrograde” at present?  This question came tomind after former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyowas elected as the new house speaker.  Macapagal-Arroyo became the speaker afterher fellow lawmakers ousted Pantaleon Alvarez, a known close ally of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Alvarez is not just an “ordinary ally” or one among the many allies of Duterte.  He is Duterte’s right hand manresponsible for the “super-majority alliance” in Congress.  Alvarez and his PDP-Laban political partyare responsible in pushing Duterte’s policies with bullying approach in the senate and lower house.  Remember how they handled the hearing of jailed senator Leila de Lima and the impeachment of CJ Maria Lourdes Sereno?

Alvarez really needed to be replaced because in comparison to other past house speakers, Alvarez is no match and is way down there in terms of intelligence, political acumen, and statesmanship.  He was also a bully.  The bigger question and issue though is how Macapagal-Arroyo, a former president who was allegedly involved in many corruption scandals(like the NorthRail, SouthRail, NBN-ZTE, jueteng, PCSO, and Hello Garci) before could bounce back and reenter center stage as house speaker.

Macapagal-Arroyowas arrested following the filing of criminal charges against her for electoral fraud.  Claiming illness, wearing a neck brace, and making a plea that she needed to leave the Philippines for a sensitive surgery overseas, she was held at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City under an electoral sabotage charge but was released on bail.  She was then rearrested while in the hospital on charges of misuse of state lottery funds.

Shewas freed just a few days after Duterte was sworn to officeand was later acquitted by the Philippine Supreme Court.  As house speaker, she is not only free.  She is definitely back in power with the “biggest bang.”

The coup against Alvarez also revealed the power of two other women— Sara Duterte-Carpio, the president’s daughter and Davao City mayor, and Imee Marcos, Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos’ eldest child and the governor of Ilocos Norte.

It appears that the end began for Alvarez when he made himself the enemies of the three.  This situation in the Philippines is truly worrisome.  There are no true political parties and platforms to speak of as elected officials time and again have shown no party or platform loyalties.  They can switch and trade allegiances and alliances in minutes depending on who is in power or who has the upper hand.  This was again witnessed by the Filipino people during Alvarez’s fall as most congressional representatives belonged to his super majority “PDP-Laban” but these same representatives were quick to say adieu to him as their speaker because the political wind and blessing from above appeared to have headed Macapagal-Arroyo’s way.

Macapagal-Arroyo now will take charge in pushing for Duterte’s federalism agenda.  For Sara Duterte, it appears that she will be entering the national political stage as the national leader of her party—the Hugpong ng Pagbabago— as the PDP-Labanparty appears to have bowed out after Alvarez and Koko Pimentel were unseated as speaker and senate president.

In addition to Bongbong Marcos, Imee Marcos also appears to be gunning for a national position now.

Can we now call this the Mercury retrograde for the Philippines?

Jojo Liangco is an attorney with the Law Offices of Amancio M. Liangco Jr. in San Francisco, California.  His practice is in the areas of immigration, family law, personal injury, civil litigation, business law, bankruptcy, DUI cases, criminal defense and traffic court cases.  Please send your comments to Jojo Liangco, c/o Law Offices of Amancio “Jojo” Liangco, 605 Market Street, Suite 605, San Francisco, CA 94105 or you can call him (415) 974-5336.  You can also visit Jojo Liangco’s website at www.liangcolaw.com.