BETING LAYGO DOLOR: A country with two vice presidents

It will only last for a week and a half, but as of Sunday, June 19, the Philippines had two legitimate vice presidents.

There is incumbent VP Leni Robredo and there is VP Sara Duterte, and please never forget that the latter has no H in her first name.

Over the weekend, Duterte took her oath of office as vice president, her swearing in ceremony held at her precious Davao City. So for all intents, she is the legal VP. Or at least a legal VP.

The only problem is that Robredo’s term does not officially end until June 30, which means that the Philippines now has two women who can rightfully be called Madam Vice President.

Here’s a secret. I like the incumbent one much, much better than her successor.

In fact, Duterte had originally wanted to take her oath earlier than the 19th of this month. For what reason, no one really knows.

Perhaps she was afraid that “something” would happen, either to her father or to her running mate which would result in Robredo assuming the presidency, even for the shortest of periods.

Or, if by some longshot the Supreme Court declared her running mate’s candidacy as illegitimate, Robredo would have to be declared the winner of the May 9 elections, as all votes cast for Marcos Jr would have been declared null and void.

There is, to be sure, one more legal challenge to Marcos Jr’s presidency which was filed by a group of lawyers led by a former SC spokesman. I’m no lawyer, but they presented what appears to be legitimate legal arguments to disqualify the son and namesake of the late dictator.

Duterte with no H would have none of that, of course.

The Philippine judicial system is chock full of holes, such that big cases are hardly ever decided on their merits, but on technicalities. Also known as legal mumbo jumbo.

The two vice presidents are aware of this situation, so SaraD was just playing it safe.

As far as she is concerned, she will be the next president of the Philippines, anytime between now and 2028 when Marcos Jr’s term ends. Unless he follows in the footsteps of his father, of course, and decides to declare martial law.

By the way, just to be perfectly sure, I am not wishing for any bad thing to happen to Marcos Jr. He may sincerely want to do a good job as president, so bully for him. But I also believe that at best, he will be no different from Erap Estrada and his failed presidency.

Madam No H can bide her time. She is, after all, a young 44 years of age, and it shows.

Not that she doesn’t look 44, but her immaturity has been coming to light in recent weeks and months.

During the campaign period, she said she wanted a return of compulsory military training for the country’s students. After she was appointed or anointed Education secretary, she reiterated her wish and seems to think that she has the power to make it happen.

She doesn’t.

She very likely means that college-age men and women would have to undergo military training, which was the case many moons ago. In my time, it was called NROTC, although for most students back in the 70s, it was known as ROTC.

For us, it was Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps, while for everybody else, the word Naval was excluded.

See, in my school, someone had the bright idea of us teeners becoming seamen – a silly joke would be apt here – while for other schools, the idea was to turn their kids into soldiers.

I had dreams of piloting a nuclear submarine, which indicates how mildly crazy I was. I know, I know. Subs don’t fly, which is why they don’t have pilots.

So what does Sara no H have to do with this?

Simple, folks. As Education secretary, she is in charge of the country’s public schools from elementary to high school.

If compulsory military training is revived, it would still cover college men and women, no? You know. Young adults ages 18 and up.

The new vice president is unaware that being DepEd secretary does not cover the country’s colleges, be they public or private. She, therefore, has no say on the matter.

This is something she should have known from the onset.

To be fair, there is some sense in our young men and women undergoing compulsory military training. It’s done by Israel, and it’s one reason the Jewish state is so powerful. Not just economically, but also militarily. Israel is one country that is nearly impossible to invade because their military can kick anybody’s ass.

They’ve never, ever lost a war, have they?

On the negative side, compulsory military training also true of China and North Korea.

Ditto with Sparta, but that’s another story, innit?

Incidentally, does anyone remember the brouhaha Sara no H raised when the song “Manila” by the group Hotdog was used for some government–sponsored event, and Inday Sara angrily said Manila does not represent the Philippines?

She then mouthed the old line of Imperial Manila bullying the rest of the country, her beloved Davao included.

She did not know back then, and perhaps she still doesn’t know up to now, that Manila is the capital of the Philippines, and therefore symbolically represents the entire republic in many ways.

I only hope and pray that she is aware that Manila is the capital of the Republic of the Philippines, because if she doesn’t we’re all in a world of trouble. Imagine a VP not knowing what the capital of her own country is.

Maybe, just maybe, she thinks Quezon City is the Philippine capital, in which case she would not be too far off the mark. A few decades back, QC was the capital of the country, but some president decided Manila deserved that honor.

And if she knows her history, Sara the VP should also be aware that the Philippine capital is NOT Manila, but rather Maynila. That’s the real name of the city, because that’s how it’s pronounced.

I am wishing the new VP well. I hope she succeeds in becoming half as good a vice president as the woman she replaced. That lady cast a giant shadow, and will be a tough act to follow.

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