SO IT SEEMS
Appa-rently without second thoughts, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte defended House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez from threats of disbarment to over extramarital affairs. The Chief Executive went on to accuse Alvarez’ critics of hypocrisy, saying many lawmakers have two, even three women. In justifying Alvarez’ having several women. Duterte said, “How many lawmakers have two, three women?”
Further elaborating on his defense of Alvarez as a womanizer Duterte claimed that even priests “who are supposed to be celibate have girlfriends.” At this juncture we are reminded of the parish priest of Buhangin whom Digong had accused of having a wife in Bohol.
It was a different case with our friend, Roger Antalan, former city mayor of the Island Garden City of Samal (IGaCoS). When he was a priest, Roger fell in love with a teacher in the high school department of the Ateneo de Davao University. Roger asked the Vatican to be allowed to have a wife while remaining a priest. The papacy, however, turned down his request.
Roger then eloped with his girlfriend to Manila at the same time he took off for his priestly attire and left the ministry for good.
Well, we don’t think there are many members of either chamber of Congress who have many women, unlike sailors who have women in every port.
Indeed, as a truism goes “birds of the same feather flock together” Digong is himself a womanizer. His ready excuse in maintaining not just one but several paramours is that he is legally separated with his wife, Filipino-German Elizabeth Zimmerman, mother of his three children—Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte and businessman Sebastian Duterte.
It’s no secret that not too long ago, several news presenters of a major TV station in Davao City became his paramours. I know this first hand as several years ago, when I was about to enter a big mall in Matina, I met Digong and his kabet, a news anchor of said TV station on their way out of the mall. The erstwhile TV news presenter, a native of Cagayan de Oro City, was in shorts, thus displaying his white legs.
For several years Digong has been living with his common-law wife Honeylet Avancena with whom he has a daughter Veronica, nicknamed Kitty, who just graduated from the elementary with honors.
To this day, I keep wondering what makes Digong, like the late comedy king Dolphy, attractive to women. Is it their looks? Or their generosity to give gifts in cash or in kind during special occasions?
As is publicly known, the late Dolphy fathered 18 children with six women none of whom he married. The last of the comedy king’s woman was Zsa-Zsa Padilla who is reportedly getting married despite her being already beyond half a century old.
Until we read about the infighting in the Department of Interior and Local Government, we did not know that there are many undersecretaries in the DILG which supervises the operation of the Philippine National Police and the Bureau of Fire Protection.
DILG Secretary Ismael Sueno was at loggerheads with three of his five undersecretaries which triggered President Duterte to fire him on charges of corruption and other abuses. Sueno had been accused by his undersecretaries with whom he dad a stormy relation of collected bribe money gambling lords.
The three under-secretaries whom Sueno was not in good terms were John Catriciones for operations, Jesus Hinlo for public safety and Emillie Padilla for legislative liaison and special concerns. The two others are Austere Panadero for local government and Catalino Cuy for peace and order.
Why the need for the DILG chief to have so many assistants? Would one, at the most two, not be enough? Has this been the setup since the DILG, originally known as Presidential Assistant on Community Development (PACD) was created in the late 1950s?
At this juncture, I’m reminded of a time when a group of us working mediamen in Davao City interviewed on radio the provincial head of PACD, a member of the panel who was a popular radioman asked the interviewee in jest if PACD meant pag-abot caon dayon? Without batting an eyelash, the agency official, replied, also somewhat in hest, that PACD personnel usually travel a long distance on foot when they visit rural communities, So they become hungry upon reaching their destination. The first thing then to do is eat, hence, pag-abot caon dayon.
The DILG could be the biggest department in terms of number of personnel in the entire bureaucracy, yet we don’t believe its head needs that number of assistants. Would one or two, at the most not be enough?
As the saying goes, too many cooks spoil the broth. More annoying to taxpayers is that too many assistants eat up a lot of public funds. Without doubt, the undersecretaries get the second biggest salaries in the whole department. Undoubtedly, too, each undersecretary keeps an equally big numbers of personnel.