The Puno factor in May election
After receiving the news that he can run for President, the exuberant Davao City Mayor Rody Duterte confirmed his reported planned trip to the Vatican to seek an audience with the Pope and ask for his forgiveness.
The Commission on Elections earlier dismissed the petition seeking to disqualify Duterte based on a clerical error made by Martin Diño in filing his certificate of candidacy.
Duterte replaced Diño as the PDP-Laban’s presidential candidate.
The controversial mayor confirmed his Vatican trip with this columnist.
“But there will be no fanfare in my going to the Vatican, Mon. It will just be me and two or three close advisers,” he said on the phone.
It will be a “pilgrimage of contrition” for him, Duterte added.
“I’m not doing this because I have offended so many people for cussing the Pope. I’m doing this because I am awfully sorry for what I did,” said the Davao City mayor.
Duterte said it would be all right if the Pope doesn’t grant him an audience since, according to him, “Who am I anyway?”
At least he would give it a try, he added.
If he’s not allowed to enter the Pope’s official residence, Duterte said he would pray at the famous Sistine Chapel instead.
“But I’m afraid I might melt, Mon, because of my many sins,” Duterte told me in jest.
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The news that former Interior Secretary Ronnie Puno has been tapped by Vice President Jojo Binay to be his campaign strategist should cause some concern among the other presidential candidates.
Puno, one of the famous Puno brothers—the others being Dong and Dodie—is a brilliant strategist, albeit allegedly on the notorious side.
He made Fidel V. Ramos, Joseph “Erap” Estrada and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo win the presidency.
FVR and GMA probably won by the skin of their teeth because of Puno’s supposed ingenuity.
Only Erap won on his own merits due to his immense popularity with the masses.
But Erap reputedly paid Puno a very large sum, anyway. The rumor mill at that time placed it at P500 million.
Gloria paid Puno much, much more, according to rumors, and appointed him to the most powerful post in her Cabinet—that of interior secretary.
Puno allegedly made his principals win because he was a slick operator.
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