Seares: Proof of ‘Milo’ is in the drinking; virus scares germaphobe Trump

Pachico A. Seares

Wall Street, reelection

Germs are infecting US President Trump’s presidency, writes Maureen Dowd of the “New York Times.”

Think of the famous germaphobe now being besieged with the problem of coronavirus in his country. A “stunning twist of fate,” Dowd wrote last Feb. 29. The germs that scare him could threaten his prospect of reelection.

Not just irony, it would be an oddity if the Americans wouldn’t reelect him in November not because they see him as unfit, a bungler and a serial liar but because he couldn’t contain coronavirus which has already sent Wall Street reeling. The stock market is “the near-daily measure” of Trump’s success “and his virility” and now it’s under attack by the virus.

Hearings ‘in aid of legislation’

Senate or House hearings “in aid of legislation” need not result in actual legislation. Those who opposed the Senate committee on public services hearing may be reminded by the Supreme Court ruling that said the intent was enough. The broad umbrella called oversight function may justify such a hearing.

Besides, the result cannot be known until the hearing is made. A hearing cannot be stopped just because it might not result in legislation.

Actually, a hearing serves the purpose of the law and the Constitution if the legislators, particularly the committee chairperson, decide that it will.

Rant if you will against Sen. Grace Poe’s decision to hold the hearing. But she had legal and public-good reason to do so.

EO and cost of ‘Milo’

It would be their problem, Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella implied Monday (March 2), if barangay captains couldn’t work with the Mayor’s Information and Liaison Office (Milo) he has been setting up in each barangay in the city.

He repeated his assurance that (1) Milo wouldn’t usurp the function of the barangay captain and barangay council and (2) each barangay would get the basic services given to all, no barangay would be left out.

Mayor Labella last Feb. 20 sent out letters to barangays, informing each barangay captain about Milo and asking for workspace in the barangay hall. But he still has to detail in writing, in an executive order, the “functions and responsibilities” of the Milo head. No one at Monday’s press-con asked about it.

Also, it is not known who and how Milo will be run and how much it will cost the city. There is no talk of an appropriation by the City Council; probably it will be funded by the mayor’s discretionary fund and the mayor’s quota of job- order hire, a City Hall watcher says.

Like Du30’s liaison office

Mayor Labella compares his Milo to the legislative liaison office of President Duterte, which is the President’s link to Congress.

The flaw in the analogy is that the President officially has no subalterns in the Senate and the House as Congress is theoretically independent of the executive department. Thus the need for the PLLO or Presidential Legislative Liaison Office, which is headed by Cebu’s former Cordova mayor Adelino Sitoy. Besides, there is no situation in Congress where the head of the liaison office will compete for votes in a future election. The Milo head is usually the potential rival of the incumbent barangay captain.

Obviously, Milo is largely a political strategy. Public good is the coating or justification. The only difference with then mayor Tomas Osmeña’s BMO or barangay mayor’s office was seen as “garapalan” while Milo professes to wear the garb of legality and avowed public welfare. Labella is using the former mayor’s idea after polishing it.

BOPK this time can only loudly complain and Vice Mayor Mike Rama’s faction within Barug can just sulk.

Proof of the pudding though is in the eating. On Milo, proof is in the, ah, drinking. Watch how each Milo will operate under the promised EO. To paraphrase the DILG regional director in his 2016 legal opinion on Osmeña’s BMO, unlawful conduct of the extension office may be raised in the proper forum.

Would Milo the drink complain?

Milo, the energy drink, is getting a lot of publicity in Cebu from the controversy over Mayor Labella’s information and liaison office. It might help push sales.

But surely Milo wouldn’t like it if the dispute would get out of hand and reach the level of a scandal.