Leila de Lima

What happened to the ‘climax’ congressmen?

Kaycee Valmonte

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What happened to the ‘climax’ congressmen?

Presidential Spokesperson Herminio "Harry" Roque Jr. shares his remarks to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte during a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members at the Malacañang Palace on October 4, 2021. RICHARD MADELO/ PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

RICHARD MADELO/ PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

One remains in public office, while two failed to secure posts in the 2022 elections

MANILA, Philippines – Is their political influence still strong? Or has it waned over time?

Former House of Representatives lawmakers who laced, intimate details of ex-senator Leila de Lima’s personal life into the spotlight have since faded into the backdrop of larger political players.

De Lima finally went out of prison after posting bail on Monday, November 13, nearly seven years since she was put behind bars.

As for the ‘climax’ congressmen – only one remains in public office. Two campaigned for the 2022 national and local elections. Both lost.

What happened to them?

Former Ilocos Norte Representative Rodolfo Fariñas

Rodolfo Fariñas ran for a gubernatorial post last year – a position he once held from 1988 to 1998, becoming the only non-Marcos governor in Ilocos Norte in the last 50 years. In 2022, however, he lost by a big margin to Imee Marcos’ son – reelectionist Governor Matthew Marcos Manotoc. Fariñas only garnered 82,136 votes, while Manotoc secured the province with 229,161.

The ex-congressman accused the Marcoses of playing dirty to maintain their rule over Ilocos Norte, saying: “All mayors are beholden to them.”

Local officials in 2017 declared Fariñas a persona non grata amid a House inquiry into the alleged misuse of P66.45 million funds. Imee was then the governor of the province.

Since his stint at the lower chamber ended in 2019, the former House majority leader eyed to run for Ilocos Norte governor but he backed out at the last minute to announce his “retirement” from politics. Manotoc then ran unopposed.

Theirs is a story familiar in the local scene – both the Farinas and Marcos families are part of political dynasties that have, for better or for worse, divided their power in some form of a truce. In this chapter though, the Marcoses have the lead.

Former Majority Leader and Capiz Representative Fredenil Castro

Fredenil Castro is now serving his first term as the governor of Capiz following his second stint at the House of Representatives. He won by over 100,000 votes in last year’s polls.

His wife, Jane Castro, took his post at the lower chamber and is now the Capiz 2nd District Representative.

He became House majority leader from January to June in 2019, but the incumbent House Speaker Martin Romualdez replaced him in the 18th Congress. Castro was then reelected in 2020 and became deputy speaker, but lost his post amid the Cayetano-Velasco leadership squabble.

Former 1-Ang Edukasyon Representative Salvador Belaro Jr.

Salvador Belaro Jr got the infamous nickname of being a “climax” congressman for asking De Lima’s former security aide and ex-lover, Ronnie Dayan, what many believed to be unnecessary: “Palakas nang palakas hanggang intensity 5. Kailan kayo nag-climax? Intensity 5, anong year?” (Your love became stronger and stronger until intensity 5. So when did you reach climax? Intensity 5, what year?)

Belaro is now the dean of Wesleyan University-Philippines College of Law.

Last year, he was among the nominees to be the next president of the University of the Philippines, where he obtained his law and political science degrees. Among his visions for the country’s premier state university include making UP education more accessible to at least 10 students per barangay in the country.

Belaro faced a disbarment complaint in 2020 over misuse of his notarial seal. Based on a decision by the second division of the Supreme Court, he was suspended from practicing law for six months.

Former Kabayan Representative Harry Roque

Harry Roque now writes columns via newspaper Philippine Star.

Roque he lost in the Senate seat in last year’s elections, ranking 17th with over 11 million votes. He filed his candidacy after his failed bid to join the International Law Commission – he received the least number of votes among candidates from Asia-Pacific states.

Roque was listed among the candidates who spent millions on campaign ads.

For his 2022 senatorial campaign, he joined the winning Marcos-Duterte tandem’s slate as a guest candidate, putting behind his past as a self-proclaimed human rights lawyer whose work included attempts to institutionalize the indemnification of Martial Law victims.

After his term as a congressman, Roque became the spokesman for former president Rodrigo Duterte, eyed a Senate seat during the 2019 midterm elections then backed out, and went back to face the public and the press for the ex-president.

He also was the spokesperson for the government’s inter-agency task force for the COVID-19 pandemic. He made headlines while much of the country was on COVID-19 lockdown after photos of him visiting a marine park and posing with dolphins were published on social media. – Rappler.com

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