SALVADOR, Lanao del Norte (MindaNews/21 Dec) – Over lunch of spiced chicken, beef randang and sea foods – the Maranaos’ special menu for rare occasions - former Rep. Abdullah Dimaporo shifted his conversation with local executives from reconstruction to the issue of the spat between his daughter Aliah and Teresita Deles, chief of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), during a budget hearing at the House of Representatives last October. Aliah succeeded him as representative of the second district of Lanao del Norte.
Aliah and Deles clashed when the young congresswoman raised questions over the government’s budget on the peace process, which Deles allegedly misinterpreted as a strategy to delay approval of the budget of the Office of the President.
The two women eventually had a civil exchange of words after the budget hearing, but damaged was already done. Deles earned the other legislators’ ire, that some of them called for her resignation, while others pushed for a one-peso budget for OPPAP.
“I would be willing to have coffee with Deles in a serene place at Ortigas (Center) near her office,”said Dimaporo. “December 22 is fine with me, but not during lunch time because I have an appointment. Maybe earlier than that or maybe late in the afternoon,” he said.
Dimaporo said some personalities in the civil society have prodded him to help smoothen the relationship between Deles and his family. “Actually, Aliah look at Deles as an elder. She even texted her after their conversation but other members of Congress saw the issue differently,” said Dimaporo, the political patriarch of Lanao del Norte.
He said that the matter is now water under the bridge for Aliah, although he pointed out that some congressmen used it for their interests.
“Did you hear us talking to the media about it? No! Although I could have, as a father, to defend my daughter,” Dimaporo said, adding that he preferred to be silent because there are other means to settle the issue.
He pointed out that President Aquino did not listen to the congressmen’s call for Deles to resign.
Dimaporo also explained that his son, Lanao del Norte Governor Khalid Dimaporo, refused the financial assistance accorded for those who took the Hajj (pilgrimage) to Mecca, Saudi Arabia last November because it was offered too late.
“There was no more sufficient time for Muslims here to process all the needed documents, visa and the like for the Hajj,” he said. Dimaporo explained that they did not want to look upon it as bribe money, especially so because it was offered right after the confrontation between Deles and Aliah.
He said that the current Speaker of the House can help reconcile the differences between Deles and the legislators who Dimaporo said had a misunderstanding with the OPPAP chief.
But he committed to see Deles on December 22, just a few days before Christmas. (Violeta M. Gloria / MindaNews)