Talkative Miguel

By Alex P. Vidal

“In this age of media and Internet access, we are much more talkative than ever before.”—David Duchovny

MY most favorite line in Desiderata I always mentioned in conversations with friends is, “Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit.”

I remembered this line every time I saw on Philippine news Juan Miguel Zubiri a.k.a. “Talkative Miguel”, a senator from Bukidnon who aspires to become president of the incoming Senate.

The eager-beaver politician from a landlocked plateau in North Central Mindanao, who has just been reelected, has become so “loud and aggressive” nowadays.

In almost every pandemonium, Talkative Miguel wanted to be heard and noticed giving a sermon and soliloquy like he knew the solution of every problem.

In other words, he has been noticeably grandstanding and showboating; he saw to it that his antics were always captured in the national media.

This is understandable for somebody who wants to get the attention of everyone, perhaps as part of a strategy in his quest for the senate presidency.

The astute politician understands and knows how to handle and exploit the power and influence of mass media—and joyrides his way to free publicity.

Talkative Miguel’s being a sip-sip (sycophantic) to the incoming administration, however, is so glaring.


“This new president with the mandate of 31 million votes will not even be able to appoint the head of the COA until even up to the last day of his term, because she will have longer period of time than the president,” said Talkative Miguel, referring to his possible rival for the senate presidency, Cynthia Villar, chair of the Commission on Appointments committee on constitutional commissions.

The CA was scheduled to deliberate on the ad interim appointments of Comelec Chairman Saidamen Pangarungan and Commissioners Aimee Torrefranca-Neri and George Garcia, COA Chairperson Rizalina Justol and CSC Chairman Karlo Alexei Nograles after their confirmation hearings were postponed on May 25.

Talkative Miguel wanted President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to be given a free hand to make his own appointments, especially since top officials of the Comelec, CSC and COA, he said, have a fixed term of seven years, or longer than that of the president.

It was not the first time Zubiri made a lot of noise and created a ruckus on various issues.

Immediately after securing his reelection in May, he went on a sermon spree, chiding the Comelec for the delay in the transmission of certificate of canvass.

“They have only one job and one job to do, the provincial election supervisors, which is to insert the COCs of the province of the results of the president and vice president into the ballot box and deliver it to the Senate,” Talkative Miguel hollered in front of national TV.

“One job and one job only. How can they be remiss of that job that is constitutionally mandated for them to do? Therefore we admonish the Comelec for this non-action or non-appearance of these COCs.”

Surprisingly, Talkative Miguel was meek as a lamb during the campaign season when his reelection bid was still hanging by the thread, refusing to say a word or criticize so many lapses made by the same polling body he now roasted in full media coverage.


Many friends have wondered why in more than two weeks that Vice President Leni Robredo and her daughters were in New York City recently, I didn’t spare a time to meet them for interview or greet them like what other New York-based Filipinos who noticed their presence in New York did.

If I can remember it right, it was a Monday, my (only) off day, in the United States when the Robredo mother and daughters were reported to have spent their first day in the Big Apple after arriving the day before.

They were sauntering the New York University (NYU) Washington Square Campus in Manhattan.

Most of NYU’s buildings are scattered across a roughly square area bounded by Houston Street to the south, Broadway to the east, 14th Street to the north, and Sixth Avenue (Avenue of the Americas) to the west.

Most of NYU’s main buildings surround Washington Square Park.

The first person who asked me to greet the political celebrity and her daughters was a friend from Capiz who is a Marcos loyalist.

I told him, “No, never.”

They came here to relax, to wind up and attend the graduation rites of the vice president’s youngest daughter, Jillian. Let’s leave them alone and let them enjoy their precious moments privately, something they haven’t experienced during the rigorous months of election campaign.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)