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When Rody delivers a song not a speech

Roel Hoang Manipon



In between decision making and planning meetings, Cabinet secretaries, presidential advisors and government officials loosened up and even sang. President Rodrigo Duterte joined in and crooned. But even their rare singing engagement was for a lofty cause.

After a finale number when all performers and organizers were onstage, President Rodrigo Duterte joined them and gave an impromptu performance of “Ikaw.”

Often seen as stern or serious, government officials can croon, rock and belt it out which is what happened at “Awit ng Puso” on 23 October at the Reception Hall of the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City.

Hosted by Jo-Ann Camacho and Miss Grand International 2016 first runner-up Nicole Cordoves, the three-hour dinner and concert event was a project of DU30 Cabinet Spouses Association Inc. to raise funds for their charitable endeavors such as the Marawi City rehabilitation and scholarship programs.

Camacho informed the audience they will see a side of their guests which is rarely seen. Indeed, officials put their hidden talent on full display for the benefit dinner-concert.

Crooners all

Leading the pack was Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar, who rendered an impressive version of Gary Valenciano’s “Di Na Natuto.” This was followed by a duet of “You’ve Got a Friend” and “Your Smiling Face” with Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez who did a solo of “Panalangin.”

Secretary Fortunato de la Peña of the Department of Science and Technology sang Barry Manilow’s “I Write the Songs.” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia followed this trip down memory lane with his favorite “Besame Mucho,” which segued to “Mr. Suave” of Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana.

Former presidential spokesman Harry Roque paused from campaigning for his senatorial bid and got romantic with “Hinahanap-hanap Kita.”

Rare night Spouses of members of President Rodrigo Duterte’s Cabinet fete Jo-Ann Camacho with flowers for organizing the Awit ng Puso benefit concert that raised funds for charitable works such as the Marawi City rehabilitation and scholarship programs. YUMMIE DINGDING

Solid pieces

Two of Duterte’s Cabinet officials are accomplished singers: Antonio Lambino, assistant secretary of the Strategy, Economics and Results Group of the Department of Finance, and Undersecretary Ramon J. “RJ” Jacinto, presidential adviser on economic affairs and information technology communications.

Lambino, who was a member of the group Smokey Mountain, performed the original version of “Harana” while playing the keyboard, and Smokey Mountain songs “Kailan” and “The Coconut Nut” while Jacinto did pop rock classics such as “Pretty Woman” and “I Saw Her Standing There” with his electric guitar.

Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo’s husky voice entertained audience with renditions of “Sana’y Wala Nang Wakas” and his own original composition.

Rounding up the rest of the performers were Justice Secretary Menardo Guevara (“Because I Love You”), Agrarian Reform Secretary John Castriciones (“I”ll Never Say Goodbye”).

Rocker in the house

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea (“You Are Beautiful” and “Pure Imagination”) and Bureau of Corrections Director Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa (a Callum David song).

A women’s group composed of Taguig Mayor Lani Cayetano, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, Fel Castriciones and Camacho performed a medley of “Dadalhin,” “To Love Again,” “I Think I’m in Love” and “Mamang Sorbetero.”

Former Special Assistant to the President “Bong” Go sang “All My Life” and an emotional “Handog.”

Neocolours and the Ryan Cayabyab Singers also joined in the celebration.

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