POSTSCRIPT / June 21, 2022 / Tuesday


Philippine STAR Columnist

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Simplicity of Sara, her mom at rites

The simplicity of the inaugural getup of Vice President-elect Sara Z. Duterte and her mother Elizabeth Zimmerman at the oath-taking in Davao City last Sunday of the incoming 15th VP almost distracted us from her inaugural message.

Vice President-elect Sara Z. Duterte and her parents at the oath-taking in Davao City. Photo: CNN Philipines

Mother and daughter, unadorned by flashy jewelry, came in green mestiza dresses. Sara’s gown was of a darker shade with some embroidery on the butterfly sleeves and near the low neckline breaking the pleats in the bodice.

The gown of Ms Zimmerman, also with basic butterfly sleeves, was a much simpler rendition of the mestiza dress without the folds and embroidery of her daughter’s gown.

Watching the “mag-ina” on stage, we noticed Sara sometimes putting an arm around her mom’s shoulder to draw her closer or hug her ever so dearly. 

They were not wearing wristwatches or bracelets or rings (except for a gold band on Ms Z‘s forefinger). They had no necklaces, chokers, or pendants cluttering one’s view of their necklines.

Their only concession to jewelry or adornment were small earrings – in Sara’s case tiny studs that were hardly noticeable, while her mom had small greenish stones to match her gown.

It did not look like the two ladies deliberately used Sara’s green campaign motif to continue contact with the public. But in the city’s San Pedro Square and in cyberspace, many of us could not help feeling the minimalist aura of their inaugural getup.

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Intended or not, the stark simplicity of the two ladies, one 44 years old and the other 74, stole our attention during the 10 minutes +10 seconds it took “Ako po si Inday Sara” to read her 820-word inaugural address (almost as long as this column).

Readers may want to review videos of Sara’s June 19 advance oath-taking and compare their reactions. In her oath of office, btw, the name she officially used was Sara Zimmerman Duterte — nothing more, nothing less.

For reference, Sec. 4, Art. VII, of the Constitution, says: “The President and the Vice President shall be elected by direct vote of the people for a term of six years which shall begin at noon on the 30th day of June next following the day of the election and shall end at noon of the same date, six years thereafter.”

In answer to queries, the Commission on Elections said yesterday there is no prohibition against the Vice President-elect taking his/her oath earlier than at noon of June 30, nor is there a requirement that the two incoming top executives be sworn in on the same day even if they belong to the same ticket.

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As soon as Sara started delivering her address with the greeting “assalamu alaikum” (Arabic for “peace be to you”) she asked her listeners to “commit to heart the priorities of God, country, and family”.

Unlike his father, outgoing President Duterte, who sometimes includes God, as well as the Pope and prelates in his habitual cursing, Sara said:

“There is a God. A God whose will transcends the desires of our hearts, one whose will directs us to the way that we might not have imagined, but a way that consecrates ourselves every day to help our fellowmen overcome the difficulties they face in their lives.

“If we all take a moment to listen (and to heed) the call to serve – in the same way that many are already devoting their lives as hardworking farmers and fisherfolk that ensure there is food on our tables, dedicated health workers who help the sick, brave soldiers who fight for our country, honest and fair entrepreneurs who support our economy, patient schoolteachers that guide our children – I believe the country will be heading toward a future of hope, security, strength, stability, and progress.”

In closing, Sara said: “let me reiterate this – we can never go wrong if we are a people dedicated to honoring the will of God, to serving our country and our fellowmen, and protecting the integrity of our families and the future of our children.”

• De Lima’s ex-staff killed in US

Filipino lawyer John Albert Laylo, who was shot Sunday by still unidentified persons in Philadelphia while on his way to the airport with his mother Leah died yesterday at the Penn Presbyterian Medical Center where he was taken after a bullet hit him in the head.

Laylo, 35, used to be on the staff of detained Sen. Leila de Lima, but there is no information if that has anything to do with his killing in the US by still unidentified men who fired at his car from behind then chased it till they were alongside and fired again.

News of Laylo’s death was relayed to us by Consul General Elmer G. Cato of the Philippine consulate in New York City who rushed to Philadelphia upon learning of the shooting. Laylo’s mother Leah was wounded by broken glass sent flying by the assassins’ bullets.

Cato said Laylo was pronounced dead at 10:33 a.m. EST or some 30 hours after he was critically wounded in the chase that took place in University City in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

With some members of the Filipino community, Cato assured Laylo’s mother and his cousin Miguel Bustamante that the Philippine government will help repatriate to Manila the remains of her son.

Initial police reports received by the consulate had it that the Uber vehicle that John and his mother were riding was fired upon from behind by gunmen chasing them. The assassins pulled alongside the driver’s side of John’s car and fired more rounds before fleeing.

The incident took place along 38th Street around five minutes after John and his mother left his cousin Miguel’s apartment for the airport.

(First published in the Philippine STAR of June 21, 2022)

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