The late José Avelino was the first President of the Senate of the Third Republic of the Philippines.

The infamous utterance in Philippine politics, “What are we in power for?” was attributed to Avelino during the Elpidio Quirino presidency.

Here is an anecdote (from Wikipedia) on how that corrupt-laden expression came about.

Avelino was supposed to be talking to President Quirino when this “What are we in power for?” came up.

It was a political party caucus in Malacañang.

The following conversation was reportedly overheard by two reporters.

“Why did you have to order an investigation Honorable Mr. President? If you cannot permit abuses, you must at least tolerate them. What are we in power for? We are not hypocrites. Why should we pretend to be saints when in reality we are not? We are not angels. When we die we will all go to hell. It is better to be in hell because in that place there are no investigations, no secretary of justice, no secretary of the interior to go after us.”

Why are we bringing this up?



Because, the counterparts of the late Sen. Avelino in the current Philippine Senate, like Senators Richard Gordon and Vicente Sotto, close political allies of President Duterte, have been demonstrating what they are in power for.

We could recall the investigation conducted by Sen. Gordon wherein he declared there were no extrajudicial killings under the Duterte Administration!

Last week, President Duterte’s son Paolo, after having been mentioned by a witness as allegedly having connection with the smugglers of illegal drugs worth over 6 billion pesos from China, Senators Gordon and Sotto declared such mention of Duterte’s son was pure hearsay.

However, Sen. Gordon sought hold departure orders for the other names which were dropped by same witness.

Sen. Gordon and company may not qualify as angels in the Avelino tradition.

But, they may, as “guardian angels.”

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