Seares: Duque's dropped ball and missed bus. Did Mike Rama say tit for tat instead of tete-a-tete? Atty. Charisse outshines councilors.

Pachico A. Seares
·3 min read

'DROPPING THE BALL, MISSING THE BUS.' A figure of speech, metaphor or simile often conveys better what one did than actually describing it.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III failed to submit required information for the purchase of Pfizer anti-Covid vaccines. Foreign Affairs chief Ted Locsin Jr. said Duque, without naming the health official, "dropped the ball." The deal would've have given us 10 million doses by January next year.

Duque said he didn't drop the ball as he is still negotiating with Pfizer. The first one was lost; this is a new deal he is seeking.

Duque "missed the bus," said Senator Ping Lacson. The new negotiation is for outright purchase, no longer a grant or a loan, which the first one was. And the vaccines would no longer reach Filipinos first month of 2021, but in the next quarter or second half of the year. In effect, Duque is now trying to "catch the next bus."

BODY LANGUAGE. How did Harry Roque, the president's spokesman, know the reaction of President Rodrigo Duterte to the news that the Philippines missed the chance of getting 10 million doses of Pfizer vaccine this January because of Health Secretary Duque's omission?

"From the over-all demeanor of the President," Roque.

That's skating on thin ice or going out on a limb, if one must mix metaphors as some Cabinet members love to do.

Roque said the President didn't see a major lapse because it was about a contract and Duque is not a lawyer and there was no damage. And Roque learned that by Duterte's body movements.

The holes in that defense: the DOH, the national task force on Covid-19 and the rest of the government have a battery of lawyers. Duque could get lawyer's advice with a snap of fingers. Besides, it required from him only a sharp assessment of the opportunity and moving quickly so as not to lose it.

As to the damage, the mad scramble of governments across the world to get those vaccines means time is crucial to saving lives and thus Duque's omission must have cost the country a lot.

'TETE-A-TETE' AND 'TIT FOR TAT.' Cebu City Vice Mayor Mike Rama said he had, the day before Wednesday (December 16), a "tit for tat" with his mayor, Edgardo Labella, on a number of issues.

And he repeated the phrase: "tit for tat," which means one insulting another for the insult he received from him; an equivalent given in return for an injury. Did VM Rama hit back at Mayor Labella with an insult?

But maybe Mike didn't mean a "tit for tat"? What they probably had was a "tete-a-tete," a face-to-face meeting or private conversation between two people.

The pronunciation of one phrase can be confused with another: "tet-a-tet" can sound like "tit-for-tat."

Or the two could have been trading insults in their private conversation. That must be it: Mike had a "tit for tat" with the mayor during their "tete-a-tete."

SP SECRETARY SPARKLES. Cebu City Council Secretary Charisse L. Piramide presented the budget of the Sanggunian for 2021 Thursday, December 17, before the committee on budget and finance led by Councilor Raymond Garcia.

After listening to a succession of speakers and non-speakers during the past few days of budget hearings, watchers of the live-streamed proceedings saw someone who stood out. The Sanggunian secretary spoke plainly but interestingly in straight English. She outshone everyone, except perhaps Councilors Raymond Garcia and Alvin Dizon who can deal with a complex political issue while she does not.

Atty. Charisse, who became a lawyer in 2012, teaches public speaking at the Guang Ming Institute of Performing Arts-Cebu. Maybe some councilors, who usually skip the session when nothing in the agenda concerns their personal or political interest, can sit in at one of her classes.