PEOPLE are talking about...
* SOTTO 'RESERVATIONS' ON BUDGET. Senate President Tito Sotto signed Tuesday (March 26) the 2019 national budget "with strong reservations."
What does that mean? The "reservations" note was supposed to limit the budget he approves to the items approved by the bicameral conference and ratified by both Houses. But the enrolled bill that the President would sign includes the P75 billion items that Speaker Gloria Arroyo and her subalterns stashed in it? Would the president veto the P75 billion allocations that Sotto, with Ping Lacson and other senators, said are unlawful and unconstitutional?
* BISHOPS' CHOICES FOR SENATORS. Actually, the 10 names were picked by the Catholic Church's lay faithful, the People's Choice Movement. But in promoting the slate and asking the church members to campaign for them, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, chairman of CBCP (Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines), is in effect making them the church candidates.
Who are they? Grace Poe, Neri Colmenares, Gary Alejano, Bam Aquino, Chel Diokno, Samira Gutoc, Florin Hilbay, Romy Macalintal, Mar Roxas and Erin Tanada. Poe and Colmenares are added to the Eight.
Notably absent is Cebu's Serge Osmeña.
There are probable scenarios from the Comelec first division ruling on the petition for disqualification of Cebu City Councilor Alvin Arcilla (promulgated March 11 and released March 20). These situations may also apply to Councilor Sisinio "Bebs" Andales who was included in the complaint:
* They quit the race. They may withdraw, ah, in deference to voters and for public interest. Ha ha, possible though highly improbable. They will argue that the order is not yet final and executory. They can still ask the Comelec for reconsideration and, if denied, appeal to the courts.
But if they withdraw, there can be no more substitution since the November 29, 2018 deadline already passed.
Substitution will be allowed until midday of election day (May 13) only in case of death or disqualification by final judgment.
* They win and assume office. They have better chances to get reelected for a fourth term than many of their colleagues and rivals. Their exposure to the public for the past nine years will be a big help. They may enjoy the seat of power and bear the burden of serving the public until their case is finally decided by the high tribunal.
* Or they lose, because of the issue of alleged "greed" or for other reasons. End of the problem.
* They get kicked out during their term by a final and executory Supreme Court decision upholding the Comelec ruling. That will be permanent vacancy. The two councilors may be replaced by the president, through his executive secretary, with persons belonging to and nominated by the party under which they ran and won.
The scenarios must have appealed to Arcilla and Andales, relying on (a) an electorate that might not be repelled by their attempt to go around the term limit and (b) a judicial system that could take ages to resolve disputes no matter how clear-cut the issue and the law and jurisprudence are.
What Duterte 'asked'
A rumor that's going around in the local circuit is that Mayor Tomas Osmeña was asked by President Duterte, through a mutual friend, to include in the BOPK slate of senatoriables his favorites, particularly Bong Go and Bato de la Rosa.
That must have been used by gossip peddlers to support the speculation that Tomas might never be suspended before the elections because of the "trade-off." A suspension order was almost issued last week but was aborted, or so the rumor ran.
Tell us about it.