Bzzzzz: Andanar eyes Senate seat? Mike says Duterte is ‘like Tomas’

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FBI RAID ON QUIBOLOY CHURCH IN L.A. Three followers of evangelist Apollo Quiboloy were arrested in a raid on the Kingdom of Christ Church Wednesday, January 29. The three church administrators allegedly trafficked Quiboloy devotees as part of a six-year fundraising scam. The quip that people couldn’t resist using when they heard the news: “The pastor could tell the FBI, ‘Stop!’ and the problem would be over.”

PCOO chief’s campaign

Presidential Communication Group (PCG) Secretary Jose Ruperto Martin M. Andar – better known as Martin Andanar -- has been going around the country promoting President Duterte’s legacy, “highlighting the successes and sacrifices made by the president.

Inevitably, Andanar’s campaign included Cebu where this week he went the rounds, speaking at forums, meeting media persons and doing interviews, among them on SunStar Live with Cherry Ann Lim Thursday, January 30.

Too soon, commented earlier Senator Ping Lacson on the Duterte Legacy Campaign. It’s “too early,” the senator said, to boast of frontline projects when it’s still halfway to the end of his term.

Maybe not. Surely not for the PCG chief who’s reportedly taking the first moves to take a crack at the Senate in the next election. He has to start increasing voters’ awareness of the name Martin Andanar.

Andanar is not saying anything about running in 2022. Most likely, he will deny it. But to be considered for a slot in the majority party, he has to rate in the surveys, competing with numerous other aspirants. He’s purportedly boosting the popularity and strengthening the niche of his boss, in history. And his boss, in return, could help make him senator too, as the president did for Bong Go and Bato de la Rosa.

The Duterte Legacy Campaign is an irresistible opportunity to skip.

Why Rama isn’t cleared

THOSE who wonder why President Duterte has not yet explicitly cleared Cebu City Vice Mayor Mike Rama on his alleged link to illegal drugs as coddler may get an explanation from this theory offered by Mike: Duterte rarely takes back his word.

Duterte last August 7, 2016 publicly named then mayor Rama in a list of alleged drug protectors, along with judges, politicians, police and soldiers. Since then, Rama has been denying Duterte’s accusation, and persistently seeking an audience with the president. He finally succeeded and had a brief meeting with him in Malacañang last Monday (Jan. 27).

Apparently though, the subject of the VM’s being tied up with drugs never came up. And Mike’s reason is that Duterte is like former Tomas Osmena: they don’t change their mind, at least not explicitly and not in public.

We don’t know who’ll be offended by the comparison: Tomas who must blame Duterte for the ex-mayor’s defeat in 2019 or the president who hated Tomas’s guts and repeatedly expressed it in Cebu forums.

Mike gave the explanation of stubbornness (though he didn’t use the word) for the president’s stand on the 500th anniversary of the introduction of Christianity in the country. He was asked, in a dyCM interview Thursday (Jan. 30) by Jason Monteclar, if Duterte would come to Cebu which would be the hub of the celebration in 2021. Duterte might attend, Mike indicated, wouldn’t take back his view against the observance. “He’s like Tomas,” the VM said.

The crack in that theory is that Duterte later gave a clean bill of health to two or three persons whose names he had read in his narco list. He doubled down on a few others too (including two from Cebu) but the changes were rare exceptions.

The quincentennial fete next year might be one of them.

Experience with Tomas

A glimpse into former mayor Osmena’s character was given by Mike. Rama related that Tomas at the time tangled with the Augustinian priests about the sidewalk vendors on the street along the Basilica del Sto. Niño. The mayor had threatened to allow the vendors to swarm the Basilica area. Mike said he went to Tomas and persuaded him to change his plan. The then mayor relented but didn’t publicly acknowledge he was wrong.

Mike didn’t give a parallel example for Duterte’s similar trait. But the explanation about the president’s attitude towards the church celebration could tell us why Rama wouldn’t be publicly and explicitly cleared on his alleged illegal drugs link.

He was elected vice mayor over Tomas’s 2019 running mate Mary Ann de los Santos despite the “Team Suyop” tag against Mike and Barug colleagues. Duterte raised his hand at the campaign rally. Mike must be content with that.

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