My hectic schedule did not prevent me from attending the wedding of Baba Yap to Jane Censoria yesterday.
The St. Joseph Cathedral was bedecked with green decor; green actually was the motif. The huge cathedral was littered with guests, friends and the usual kibitzers.
Proof of the tremendous popularity of the couple.
* * *
The principal sponsors were a gallery of politicians, both local, regional and national, entrepreneurs and relatives of both Baba and Jane.
DBM Secretary Butch Abad, Governors Edgar Chatto, Antonio Cerilles of Zamboanga del Sur and Alfonso Umali Jr. of Mindoro, the 3 Bohol congressmen Rene Relampagos, Erico Aumentado and Arthur Yap were among the politicians that I could recall.
There were also Mayors from Baguio and Mandaue.
So I was wondering where was City Mayor Dan Neri Lim.
* * *
The wedding was well-organized.
Right from the sending of invitation letters, the follow-up made by Bohol Tropics personnel for attendance purposes, to the church ceremony and even up to the reception.
Apparently, there was meticulous planning involved.
Due to the elaborate rituals invented by wedding planners, which unduly delayed the celebration of the Holy Mass, I guess the priests and perhaps Bishop Yet Cabahug were not happy.
But that is not unusual to weddings involving top personalities.
* * *
The wedding invitation warned the guests that it was formal attire.
True enough, majority of those who attended the wedding were in long sleeve barong tagalogs.
A few were apparently non-conformists.
They came in their short sleeve polo shirts and other informal attire.
Yes, it was unfair to those who took the instruction by heart.
* * *
Former governor and now congressman Erico Aumentado was present.
I won the bet, okay?
I said I was willing to bet he would attend. Trabaho lang, walang personalan.
And he did attend.
But his wife Greenie Aumentado was nowhere.
And when he was requested to say something for the newly-weds, the former governor went to the microphone, did the usual blah, blah, blah but not once, yes, not once, did he mention the parents of the groom and the bride.
The usual politico-speak was nowhere. It was a very serious speech/homily for Baba and Jane.
He could not congratulate John and Geeznel only without extending the same to Ondoy and Bebe Cajes. The anomaly would be very obvious.
Playing safe, he did not mention both. Outside of those in the know, it was a straight, no frills, no thrills message to the couple.
* * *
The reception was bongga.
When we presented our card, we were told to go to the second floor.
The door was closed and the guests who preceded us filled the lobby of the second floor.
When the door was finally opened, I found out that the main reception was held in the 2nd floor.
Another reception was held in the Sandugo Main Ballroom. But it was pure pakals, the main action was held in the 2ndfloor.
It was like tourist class and business class.
The food in the 2nd floor was superb. The desert likewise.
The ambiance, also perfect. Even Budget Secretary Butch Abad was terribly impressed.
Meticulously planned, even the food carvings were fantastic.
How about singkamas carved and painted as bird with carrots as tails?
* * *
Another “desert” was served.
Diva Rachel Alejandro rendered beautiful songs. She was also a sight to behold.
While she was singing, many in the audience were in a guessing game – braless or not.
Of course, nobody guessed it right.
Rachel was really an entertainer. She sang songs that a lot in the audience could relate to. Beautiful love songs that were perfect for the occasion.
* * *
All in all, it was a showcase of love.
An overwhelming love of John and Geeznel to their son Baba.
No expense was spared to make the occasion a big success.
After all, Baba is the last of the brood of 2 to make it to the altar of marriage.
It was also a reaffirmation of their status in the society.
The “who’s who” in Bohol were present. They wanted to share the blessings of the occasion.
Many wanted to see and be seen.
And they went home impressed.
* * *
The senate committee probing the scandalous plea bargain agreement is beginning to attract attention.
A virtual can of worms is being pried open and the worms of corruption involving top military officials are beginning to see the light of day.
Former military budget officer George Rabusa spilled the beans and there are now several names of those involved in fleecing the AFP budget of several hundreds of millions of pesos.
The seemingly upright former AFP chief of staff Angelo Reyes is being implicated in the 50 million peso-pabaon scheme.
According to Rabusa, when Reyes retired, he retired with no less than 50 million pesos as send-off gift.
It was converted into dollars because it was bulky if in pesos, Rabusa said.
Rabusa didn’t say how much did Reyes receive as “pasalubong.” But it should be in the likelihood of 10 million pesos because that was the amount allegedly given to former Chief of Staff General Diomedio Villanueva when he started as such.
Rabusa said Villanueva also allegedly received 160 million pesos from former AFP Comptroller General Carlos Garcia, Rabusa, and Colonel Antonio Lim as “pabaon.”
And there’s more.
Retired AFP Chief of Staff General Frank Cimatu allegedly received P80 million in AFP money pooled from various operational funds.
See, while the ordinary soldiers have to make do with rotten combat boots and uniform, lack of ammunition, lack of firearms and other war materiel, the generals in their air-conditioned offices in Camp Aguinaldo enjoy unlimited millions in military budget.
* * *
No wonder Senator Antonio Trillanes is bitter.
He went to the calaboose for several years because he espoused corruption in the military.
He and his band of crusading soldiers occupied the plush Oakwood Hotel in Makati and announced their demands.
They were later arrested and charged.
They were imprisoned and even behind bars, Trillanes won as senator in the succeeding national elections.
Clear proof of his tremendous clout and pulling power with the masa.
He was granted amnesty and he’s out with a vengeance.
He grilled Reyes well done during the senate hearing.
And Reyes could only squirm and seethe in silent anger.
The situation is now reversed.
Trillanes now has the upper hand, Reyes could only answer what was asked of him.
* * *
Comelec Law Department Director Ferdinand Rafanan is coming to Bohol on February 11.
He will be the inducting officer of the new set of officers of the election officers of Bohol led by its president Oliver Glovasa.
Rafanan is one of those in the short list of nominees for the vacated positions when commissioners Ferrer and Larrazabal completed their 6-year terms.
He said he is waiting for positive result. At the same time, he is aware of the intense lobbying for the replacement.
But he is not worried.
Merit-wise, he knows he enjoys an edge.
Happy Valentines, everyone!
More when we return, stay tuned for more!