Seares: Duterte can curse; Teddy Locsin cannot... City Council postpones stand on Veco. As Yoda puts it: Try not. Do. Or do not.

·4 min read

The China factor

THE country's foreign affairs secretary said this publicly about China:

"China, my friend, how politely can I put it? Let me see...O... GET THE F*CK OUT. What are you doing to our friendship? ..." -- From a May 3, 2021 tweet of DFA chief Teddy Locsin Jr.

Only the president can curse, said Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque who confirmed Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddyboy Locsin Jr.'s personal apology to Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xillian.

Roque said Duterte told the Cabinet the ban on cursing by public officials in government. In effect: Don't say the bad words I say.

It wasn't the first time Locsin cursed publicly. He got no presidential censure and he didn't apologize. Teddy used "p***ng ina" on an Inquirer reporter and Senator Francis Pangilinan and "f*ck" on Roque, on separate occasions. Malacañang then didn't mind.

Besides Locsin, there have been other Duterte copycats in government but they were not admonished. What's the difference in people and time?

Victims before weren't China and Chinese. And the country didn't need the freaking Covid vaccines.


Threat to kill or punch

Is cursing in public bad when Teddyboy Locsin, or any other Cabinet member does it, but not when it is done by the president?

The president sets the policy, the tone. His Cabinet members are bound to follow what he does and says. But not the cursing, he told the Cabinet this week, Spox Harry said. How about the threats to kill or punch? Must still be OK to ape. Roque didn't say that is included in the ban.

What does a father tell his son? You can dream to be president of the country someday, but no curses and threats to maul or kill.


First jab: 'Buang ka!'

President Duterte was obviously kidding about punching boxing champion and Senator Manny Pacquiao when he reportedly said last Monday, May 3: "Itong Manny Pacquiao na ito, ako pa ang sinisisi. Makita kita, suntukin kita. Buang ka!" Pacquiao had insisted that the president was not doing enough to assert its territorial right over the West Philippine Sea.

Many people couldn't believe the threat. But Pacquiao's boxing prowess wouldn't work against a tightly and heavily protected president. They say every senator is a president in his own right. The 24 senators combined are no match to one tough sitting president.

The face-off might not be physical. The president unleashed the first jab by calling Pacquiao "buang ka." Both know the Cebuano-Bisaya expletive's worth in shaming.


'Hold your horses' on Veco issue

Minority Floor Leader Nestor Archival wanted to confront the city's power supplier Veco at Cebu City Council with a number of charges about its service, topped by alleged "sudden spike" of billing during the pandemic season.

His privileged speech during its regular session Wednesday, May 5, led to a growing consensus among the councilors that the City, through legislature, should tell Veco to initiate reforms and at the same time prod the Energy Regulatory Commission to correct alleged missteps, such as buying more expensive power from a sister enterprise.

Majority Floor Leader Raymond Garcia, who presided over the session because of the absence of Vice Mayor Mike Rama (a death in the family, his brother Fernandito Rama, was the reason), slowed it down by persuading the Sanggunian to hold first a fact-finding consultation with complainants such as the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and other stakeholders, including consumer groups, before adopting the stand of the City Government on the issue.

'There is no try'

Councilor Joy Young expressed pessimism that the City Council's confronting Veco on the rates issue would come to anything. The Energy Regulatory Board apparently has not been acting on the long-raised complaint of a number of consumers, more recently by such groups as the Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and the Cebu Chamber of Commerce.

Movant Councilor Archival said they must do something.

“If we do not, of what use would we councilors be?”

The day before Wednesday's session, on May 4, was Star Wars Day 2021 in the US. "May the Fourth be with You" was the greeting among Star Wars fans all over the world.

To the City Council, the advice of Yoda to Luke might come to mind: "Do. Or do not. There is no try."

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