Did you say 'De Lima for senator'?

Did Justice Secretary Leila de Lima just score an early senatorial endorsement over the contentious Napoles list/s?

Madame Secretary arrived at the Senate for a meeting with blue ribbon committee chairman TG Guingona on Thursday, May 15. Before the doors of Guingona’s office closed, the two exchanged routine pleasantries, mindful of the presence of nosy reporters, photographers, and cameramen taking the customary footage.

Then came the man who couldn’t care less. Senator Serge Osmeña, committee vice chairman, was about to sit down when he glanced at the media and dropped a zinger.

“Don’t forget. Vote De Lima for senator,” he said with matching laugh and thumbs up.

The unflappable De Lima panicked, telling reporters, “Please, please,” asking that they not take the joke seriously. Those covering her have been observing that unlike some past justice secretaries who were more media-shy, if not less media-savvy, she loves the spotlight and isn’t one to shun ambush interviews. 

So media savvy is the Cabinet official that she allegedly leaked to select reporters  President Benigno S. Aquino III’s “surprise” visit to the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City on June 16, 2011, the night before the inspection. (She denied the allegation.) Aquino had to cancel the visit as the element of surprise had been negated. 

The justice secretary always has something to say on any topic under the sun, these reporters whisper. 

The woman who entertained Napoles’ “tell-all” offer is now on the hot seat for going out of her way to meet the alleged corruption mastermind for 5 hours, and announcing the presence of a list only to keep its contents secret pending her own “vetting.” But wait, didn’t she say, “Trust me” – in relation to the now-ridiculous list? Didn't this all the more call the attention of her critics?

With the “Napolist” again putting the glib justice secretary in the media limelight, the question is: will it actually do good or will it harm her expected senatorial candidacy? Recall that in the March 2014 Pulse Asia Ulat ng Bayan Survey, Madame Justice Secretary landed on the 11-19 slot, just a notch above – you wouldn’t guess – Kris Aquino. 

The mysterious Ping

Hard to read, this one. First, he slammed the “incorrigibly uncooperative” members of the Cabinet who were making his life as post-Haiyan Rehabilitation Secretary miserably difficult. Then he disclosed that Justice Secretary Leila de Lima was not the only one in possession of the coveted Napoles list. He, too, had his – courtesy of his neighbor, Jimmy Napoles and kids. Before De Lima could deliver her copy to the Senate, complying with the blue ribbon committee's subpoena, he chose to make his yes-no-yes-no disclosures to the media. Talk about titillation.

That surely caught the Palace henchmen off guard. Blind-sided they were, as there were no warning signals that he was intending to make the disclosures the way he did. Team player he certainly isn't, and that's nothing new. He's known to have turned his back on previous presidents, including Erap Estrada and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. That just means he's independent-minded and not beholden to anyone, say those who hold him in high esteem. That also means, you can't trust him, say the skeptics.

What's he up to and what's his game plan? Easier to read tea leaves after we see who else he gets to knock down, Palace insiders say. But be careful of the man named Ping Lacson, they say. Whose idea was it to appoint him again? Malacañang insiders could only shake their heads and say, "The President." Rappler.com 

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