Asian Century Journal

An Asian Century Philippines Publication

The Impostor Who Wants To Be King, Must Be Booted Out

 

By Ado Paglinawan

An impostor has replaced the King of the Castle?

Two friends, the Wizard and the Warrior, suspect that evil magic is involved. You can select the role of either the Wizard or the Warrior to search for the real king, using spells or weapons you choose at the beginning of the adventure.

As the wizard you will take with you the Book of Spells. You will be master of all its mysterious magic.

As the warrior, you will take the Book of Weapons. Its complete arsenal is yours to use with your legendary skill.

Magic or sword? Whichever you choose, play the game wisely, and the glorious legend of the Wizard and the Warrior will live on.

A book by Megan and Henry William Sine, The Impostor King, has been out of the press and this synopsis got my attention because I felt the country is in the verge of a similar situation.

There are already people asking whether the President they elected is strong enough to lead us into a very difficult post-pandemic recovery, or is weak as his predecessor Rodrigo Duterte said he was.

From his very first appointments, his competence at selecting the right people to assist him in a mission his detractors think improbable, has been showing cracks of inconsistencies. Early on, some of them were already involved in scandals. There were even reports of faked appointments. Some nominees after being announced, have been cancelled out.

His first state-of-the nation address was of course full of politically-correct pronouncements but lack the clarity of a steady trajectory moving at his intended targets.  

I feel like if I did nothing, as Wizard or Warrior, this situation would fester and the throne would suppurate. This is why even if pundits say he has 100 days of honeymoon with the press that ends October 8, I am opting out of this courtesy.

The Wizard in me asks, is he in some state of spell? The Warrior in me, however, wants to know if he were in some kind of external threat.

If the President’s birthday party were to be the indicator, I would say both.

The grapevine was working overtime saying that the most important member of the President’s cabinet was not allowed to enter the event. I am of course referring to Vic Rodriguez, the executive secretary.

This was followed by his resignation, a bit pompous I would say, like Dracula donating blood to the Red Cross, hidden behind the self-serving sentence, “I have asked permission to step down as Executive Secretary”, belying the more probable condition that he was asked to step down.

And then he insults the President, ““I thank the President for his continuing trust and his sincere understanding of my decision.” The mention of “continuing trust” is an oxymoron and Rodriguez’ opinion that the President is indeed a bad judge of character.

The end of the statement is equally nauseating: To the Filipino people, I shall continue serving you and the country as the Presidential Chief of Staff.” The idiot was appointing himself to a new position. I mean like who needs a dumb ass?

But nothing compared the body of this farewell is most damning, “There is nothing more rewarding than answering the call to serve the country, a rare privilege not extended to all but was given to me by the President, His Excellency Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos, Jr. “

Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Juan Ponce Enrile blocked the Rodriguez’ macchiavellian move to carve out for himself a new position in Malacañang with extraordinary powers more than that of an executive secretary, the position he was booted out of.

In a memorandum dated September 15, Enrile cited Rodriguez’s draft administrative order (AO) reviving the Office of the Presidential Chief of Staff and draft special order (SO) granting sweeping powers to the holder of that office.

Enrile dismissed the memo outright as unnecessary and superfluous.

An imposter has replaced the King of Castle Silvergate, and two friends, the Wizard and the Warrior, suspect that evil magic is involved. You can select the role of either the Wizard or the Warrior to search for the real king, using spells or weapons you choose at the beginning of the adventure.

“The Presidential Chief of Staff has no decision-making power, no signing powers, no review power, no power of supervision or control over any government department, agency, or office, and no power whatsoever to represent or act on behalf of the President,” Enrile added.

Traditionally, the chief of staff merely assists the President in routine daily functions. These include preparing briefers for meetings, organizing and filing documents, and arranging the Chief Executive’s schedule.

The twin draft orders listed awesome powers for the position.

“Recommend to the President strategic directions;

“Provide good, wise and honest counsel on important matters of policy;

“Review papers for consideration, action, approval and signature of the President;

“Sign and approve memoranda, administrative issuances and instruments, contracts, and administrative and financial documents; and

“Implement instructions for the efficient and effective operations of departments, agencies and offices.”

Enrile said these powers were already exercised by his office as well as the Presidential Management Staff and the Office of the Special Assistant to the President. The power to recommend strategic directions is already being performed by various departments, including the National Economic and Development Authority.

“The proposed (orders) will certainly cause confusion and conflicts among the said offices, in terms of functions and accountabilities,” Enrile said.

Card blanche?

In a Facebook post, Fr. Ranhilio Aquino, dean of San Beda College’s Graduate School of Law and a Manila Times columnist, wrote that he was “aghast” by Rodriguez’s attempt “to give himself more power.”

“He wanted virtually a free hand to act as President,” Aquino said.

Of late, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. disapproved Rodriguez’ proposals before he left for the United Nations General Assembly

But the question is after this show of insatiable thirst for power, will the President still allow Rodriguez to walk the corridors of Malacanang? I ask because if he does, then he will confirm that he is indeed a weak leader who has no political will to make hard decisions.

It would be an irony that if an executive secretary that would waste all the political capital Marcos Jr. earned during the last presidential elections, it was actually an executive secretary who actually built his father to be perhaps the best President this country has even had. I am of course reminiscing on my personal experience with Rafael Salas Jr. one of who recruits to the government was Juan Ponce Enrile.

The most serious accusations have so far been raised by Ramon Tulfo in his column at the Philippine Star. While Tulfo and Star have no gravitas as far as I am concerned, I wonder how Marcos Jr. would put the cat back into the bag, after Tulfo came out with this information that I am quoting verbatim.

“There are reports, now surfacing, about Rodriguez’s supposed bank accounts here & abroad that suddenly materialized after the election.

“The names in the bank accounts are purportedly in the name of Rodriguez & his wife xxx deposits include Citibank (in dollars); HSBC (in euros); HSBC Dubai (in dirhams) & Commercial Bank of Dubai (dirhams).

“As of July, 2022, Rodriguez and his wife reportedly had 29 bank accounts & 40 bank accounts worldwide. (If true, where did they get all that money?)

“The chunks of deposits in the banks mentioned above were supposedly made from December 2021 to July 2022. These accounts should have had the Anti-Money Laundering Council raising red flags. Why was the AMLC silent all this time?

 “Where do the revenues of the Sta. Maria Rural Bank Inc., supposedly owned & controlled by Rodriguez’ in laws, come from?”

Corruption of power is easy to escape, but corruption involving money always has a trail.

If the President keeps Rodriguez, then it would be he, Marcos Jr. who would have to tell the people where this treasure came from, at a timing not so enticing as the nation starts to move out of a costly pandemic.

Even as a “maid” in Malacanang, Rodriguez will always be suspected as casting some kind of spell on the President. In which case, citizens are best advised to read instead the Book of Weapons, so that they can retake the castle from impostors.

 
<strong>Adolfo Quizon Paglinawan</strong>
Adolfo Quizon Paglinawan

is the anchor of Ang Maestro – the Unfinished Revolution at Radyo Pilipinas1, co-host of Opinyon Ngayon at Golden Nation Network Television, a political analyst, and author of books.

His third book, The Poverty of Power will soon be off-the-press. It is a historiography of controversial issues of spanning 36 years leading to the Demise of the Edsa Revolution and the Rise of the Philippine Phoenix.
Paglinawan’s past best sellers have been A Problem for Every Solution (2015), a characterization of factors affecting Philippine-China relations, and No Vaccine for a Virus called Racism (2020) a survey of international news attempting to tracing its origins.

These important achievements earned for him to be named one of the 2021 international laureates for the Awards for the Promotion of Philippine-China Understanding.

Ado, as he called for short, was a former press attaché and spokesman of the Philippine Embassy in Washington DC and the Philippines’ Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York.

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