sionil new column 1 - It’s all over in the House

The resolution of the House of Representatives problem was quick. It needed only a picture with the Inday, which went viral on social media platforms over the weekend.

On Monday, there was still  verbal calisthenics on the validity of the assumption between the camps of the two gentlemen carrying the same first name but different spelling – one is single, other is double L.

The lead actors – Alan Peter Cayetano and Lord Allan Velasco – backed by their respective armies of supporters tried to slug each other out up until the end. Neither acted  gentlemanly, virtually casting aside the so-called “gentleman’s agreement” reached way back 15 months ago. One party was “so clingy.”  The other side was over zealous to assume.

Tuesday was a different story altogether, the mini-series ended with the defender of the faith Lord Allan Velasco emerging as the new Speaker. Both gentlemen extended the olive branch.

The scenes in the mini-series were to me a de ja vu, history repeating itself. Same old plot with some twists and turns and different lead players. A replay of 2018 with the former President turned Pampanga Rep.  Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Davao del Norte  Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez as speaker protagonists.

In both instances, people with a very keen sense of protocol questioned the legality of the assumption because of the mace, the symbol of power at the House of Represenatives. The legality of the Velasco camp’s meeting at the Quezon City Sports Club was raised citing that the mace was merely a replica. The real mace is kept in custody of the sergeant-at-arms.  Every session, the mace is placed at the foot of the Speaker’s rostrum.

It’s true that any decisions taken by the 186 members of the House are not binding without the mace. Real or replica, Jimmy Policarpio, former Senator Ernesto Maceda’s chief of staff, said the meeting was legal.

Way back in the 1990s, Mr. JImmy encountered the same incident, There was a scuffle for the Senate presidency between the Jovito Salonga boys and the Neptali Gonzales camp. Four pages tried to run off with the mace, there was a race inside the plenary hall. To uphold the decision of the majority to change the leadership, Mr Jimmy got the wooden replica of the mace displayed at the Senate Museum, placed it at the foot of the rostrum.

Back to Lord Allan, have you ever wondered how he was able to travel to and back from Davao with all the travel restrictions on commercial flights? Heard from the business halls that he was lent a jetliner. During the almost two-hour flight,  passengers  could not  answer the call of nature, because the jetliner’s comfort room was under repair.

An industrialist reportedly came to the rescue. Not one but three jetliners were offered for the Lord to use to fly him back to Manila.

The dust settled down Wednesday. Both camps vowed to work together to push the agenda of President Duterte into motion.

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