TIMESMAN| The Toyota affair

IN THE 57 years I have been attending parties, I’ve never experienced being double-checked or frisked from head to toe as the moment our car entered the venue to the parking area, into the reception hall, inside the comfort room and even after the party was over. Talo mo pa ang sumasakay ng eroplano.

But don’t be surprised. The strict security measure introduced during the recent party I attended last week was only expected as one of the special guests was no less than our popular and controversial leader of the land – President Duterte.

I was among the lucky invited clients of Toyota Matina during the inauguration of its new spacious office and display center along MacArthur highway last Wednesday afternoon. Lucky in the sense that Toyota has thousands of clients and VIPs in the city and this poor guy was given that honor to be there.

The cutting of ribbon proceeded as scheduled at 4 p.m. led by President Saturo Suzuki of Toyota Philippines simultaneous with serving of cocktail. President Duterte was supposed to do the cutting but he arrived an hour late. Although Bong Go, special assistant to the President, arrived ahead of the Chief Executive but he too didn’t make it to the ceremonial ribbon cutting. Ganyan talaga ang mga Hapon, laging on time.

Based on the actual space of the reception hall of Toyota, the estimated number of people inside, including myself and Jin Lorenz, there were only about 100 persons in attendance, many of whom were all in standing positions as the three or four round tables were reserved for the President and executives of Toyota. The ribbon-cutting was held inside the hall where a temporary stage was built.

I didn’t mind standing for the whole three or four hours at the cocktail table while feasting on appetizers served as an advanced course. No hard drinks, except water and juice.

When President Duterte arrived at 5:05 p.m. we expected that we can finally shake hands with him as we positioned ourselves not far from where he passed. I was wrong.

Seconds before the President appeared inside, the presidential guards immediately cordoned the reception hall and blocked our table giving us no chance of getting near the President. Except for lucky ones, mostly Toyota bossings, the President arrived and left the reception without this writer personally congratulated him. Killjoy PSG. Pero naintindihan ko.

I noticed our friend Joaquin Angeles of Yellow Fin a few meters from us. He is known to be closed to the President but he, too, was not able to come near his friend. His only consolation was that Bong Go, who like the President was also mobbed by some people for selfie shots, was seated with him. Bong, sikat na sikat ka na!

I didn’t bother taking note of the President’s almost 40-minute speeches including his personal message to Toyota as some of the topics were issues on corruption, drugs, EJK, mixed with the usual jokes, the two newly acquired PAF FA-50 fighter jets that fly over the downtown area as added attraction during the Araw ng Dabaw parade, and the latest diplomatic talks on the controversial Birham Rise. Medyo nagsawa na rin ako.

Anyway, I am still hoping that we will finally meet the President within his incumbency. Or he MIGHT accept my invitation to house blessing somewhere north side of the city soon. Hehe…!

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Congratulations to Mommy Inday Sara and Daddy Mans Carpio on the occasion of the baptismal of their son Marko Digong ‘Stonefish’ held at the St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Ma-a, which coincided with the 80th Araw ng Dabaw celebration.

Proud Mommy was heard saying in an interview that ‘Stonefish’ was “lucky to have two Presidents as ninongs– former president Erap and President-Lolo Digong among others.

While I may agree with Mayor Inday Sara that having two Presidents as ninongs to a baptismal ceremony is something for the Guinness record, at the end of the day, it is not always be the case.

Unless the Mayor believes in the saying that parents usually chose ninong and ninang for their child during baptism who they knew well as they become the second parents of the child to guide his growing up years and be emulated, okay lang si Lolo Digong. Pero si Erap, Dios ko po, hindi na lang ako magpapabinyag!

Posted in Opinion