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Tagbilaran City, Bohol, Philippines
October 12, 2014 issue
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Mirror, mirror on the wall… (Second of a Series)



On the other end of the political spectrum, we have a less popular Cabinet Secretary groomed to continue the herculean task of the Presidency, that is struggling with an image problem. Born to wealth and aristocratic roots, he has not succeeded in shedding off the elitist stigma to his disadvantage. He may have the full resources of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) at his disposal and the backing of the sitting President but despite trying hard to fit in with the grassroots, he remains an aloof and distant government bureaucrat. His attempts at endearing himself to the masses through his political ads in the past of a down to earth political leader ended in severe criticism as a farcical, far from real rendition.

Widely circulated incidents of tongue lashing at subordinates reported by media have done him no good. From a not so stellar handling of affairs in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda and other issues of importance, he has consistently shown his true colours, that of a scion of a rich landed clan of oligarchs. His investment banking background that required working with the elite has further eroded his approachability and reach by the ordinary folk. Although no allegations of corruption and wrongdoing were hurled against him, he has shown poor ratings in the surveys of presidential aspirants. Foreign educated, well bred and of good stock with impressive career credentials yet he falls wanting of strong public support. Definitely not the man to beat in the upcoming presidential polls but nonetheless can put up a good fight as the standard bearer of the administration party.


An heir to a political clan where members of his family hold key government positions, Senator Allan Peter Cayetano is perceived as a young man in a hurry to give the Presidency a shot. Riding on a platform of corruption free governance he has been an impressive senate performer having filed several significant bills to his credit. Projecting an image of honest public service is foremost in his agenda yet the vestiges of traditional politics run prominently in his veins. His sister is a fellow senator and a brother, a congressman in his district while his wife is mayor of the city of Taguig, which was brought to prominence by the Fort Bonifacio development otherwise known as Bonifacio Global City. It is Makati's literal and bitter rival as the two cities fought in court for control of this prime piece of world class real estate development.

The Cayetano brand of politics is everywhere in Taguig. It is seen in the acronyms of several city programs and slogans that bear the name of the senator's wife, plastered all over the city's fleet of cars and police vehicles. It is an E-pal city and the seat of another political dynasty just like Makati. The Senator may not be directly involved nor implicated in anomalous dealings and controversies in the upper chamber but his wife's city is not spared from allegations of graft either. Cases have been filed against them at the Ombudsman but as a common excuse by politicians they shrug it off as politically motivated and the handiwork of their opponents. A fluent and articulate speaker and interpellator in the Senate he has shown political savvy and intellectual capability in senate deliberations. A good contender for the presidency too.

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