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Saturday, April 17, 2010


One of my earlier blogs last year dwelt on Gilbert Teodoro and Mar Roxas. In that particular post (June 15, 2009) I was mulling between the two whom to vote for come election time. But we all know what happened late last year when Mar Roxas decided to run as Vice-President instead, giving way to the clamor for Noynoy Aquino to run as President in the Liberal Party's ticket.

As early as when Teodoro was still Secretary of National Defense people have been talking about his bid for the presidency. Teodoro's spokesperson Atty. Nelson Victorino, a former schoolmate of mine, had revealed to me in February last year up in Baguio City that indeed Teodoro would be running for President in 2010. I told Nelson then that my only 'thing' with Teodoro was his Danding connection -- which I like to think of as the first, original 'kiss of death' for Teodoro. GMA's endorsement of Teodoro was merely lip gloss. To which Nelson had quickly said "kumalas na siya kay Danding". I remember remarking to Nelson "Of course sasabihin nyo yan para iboto si Gibo, diba?" I could say I was leaning towards Mar Roxas as early as then.

Enter Noynoy Aquino. Like most people I was skeptical at first, thinking he was merely capitalizing on the support shown by millions during his mother's wake up to the day of her funeral. Two things made me rethink and consider Noynoy. The first being Conrado de Quiros' article in the Philippine Daily Inquirer (a few weeks after Cory's funeral when rumors were rife about the possibility of Noynoy entering the presidential race) which basically compared Noynoy to the other Presidentiables and Trapos and that Noynoy stands out to be the one who would set aside self-interest and put the country's exigent concerns at the top of his priority list. The second instance that made me consider Noynoy was when Mar Roxas decided to run as Noynoy's vice president. Again, personal interests were shelved. Mar Roxas was in no hurry to be President even if as early as the late 90s talk was already being circulated of a future Mar Roxas bid for the top position in our country.

On Facebook I would post shoutouts, links of news reports, etc. for the Aquino-Roxas Tandem even if I was about 80% sure I would vote for Noynoy. Deep inside me I was still considering Gibo for president although I must admit Mar Roxas was sure to be my vice-president. I got into arguments with friends about my choice. I got irate comments on my posts. In one particular thread wherein I had exchanged my views on a friend's FB wall there was a comment out of the blue that struck me: "Who would you choose as CEO of your company, Gibo or Noynoy?" I remember not being able to answer at once, not because I was dumbfounded but because I had heard that very same comment from someone else before. I also read similar comments on the likes of 'Gibo as CEO' on my FB news feed a few weeks earlier from different sets of friends. There was something about this whole 'CEO' thing that I couldn't quite put my finger on. I remember thinking that it's a bad analogy to begin with because countries are not at all like companies. In corporations you have a whole loyal network of employees, shareholders, officers, etc. looking out for the company's best interests. Countries are more fractious than that. A few days ago, due to the consistent posts of another FB friend who is unabashed about his support for Gibo, it dawned on me that maybe this is part of Gibo's spin on 'Galing at Talino'. The whole 'Gibo as CEO' thing was aimed at middle class professionals. The Gibo camp had proffered that the smart vote is the Gibo vote. I let it slip aside.

Late last year I had decided to make my own survey on presidentiables. Every time I ride a taxi I would ask the driver who he was voting for. To this day I still have to hear a driver say Villar. Most answered Noynoy and coming close was Erap. Gibo must've been mentioned once or twice. Ditto Gordon. And boy did I have heated arguments with those who chose Erap! I realized that Gibo had a lot of catching up with the C and D classes. He was not charismatic enough.

In January, Atty. Nelson Victorino ran into a common friend of ours and asked her; "Si Martin maka-Noynoy yata ano? Akala ko ba smart siya?" My friend had told me this and I just shrugged it off. I now realize that 'Galing at Talino' and 'Gibo is the intelligent vote' are cunningly crafted sound bites aimed at the middle class. In the same breadth, Gilbert Teodoro was christened the moniker 'Gibo' to make him accessible to the lower classes and for easy recall. Aha! So it all boils down to spin doctoring.

Gibo's choice of Edu Manzano as his vice-president scored zero points with me. I think that was only to woo votes from the C and D classes. His senatorial slate is also questionable with the likes of Bong Revilla and Lito Lapid in the roster. Perhaps again to woo the masa voters. But my main hesitation with Gibo lies in the fact that he never took a stand against GMA. While credible members of GMA's cabinet resigned during the Hello Garci controversy and subsequently were at the forefront in the movement for GMA's resignation after the NBN-ZTE Deal Fiasco -- Gilbert Teodoro chose to remain mum on both issues, at least on record, and opted to stay in GMA's administration.

I will not go into the presidentiables' platforms. If you go to their websites they all have good platforms (to boost our economy, create jobs, eradicate poverty, provide quality education, protect the environment blah, blah, blah) it is up to us the voters to discern who among the candidates is sincere and true to his word.

Gilbert Teodoro's candidacy -- marked by an astute PR campaign, his choice of vice-president and senatoriables, and his use of the current administration's machinery -- reeks of only one thing and that is: AMBITION. Don't get me wrong, ambition can be a good thing. It is about setting goals. It is about making dreams come true. But 'Galing at Talino' coupled with Ambition can be a dangerous thing. 'Galing at Talino' and Ambition was Marcos in the late 60s. 'Galing at Talino' and Ambition was Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo post-Edsa 2.

I believe Noynoy and Mar to be sincere and capable in running our country. They represent the need to strengthen our institutions to eradicate corruption. I believe they will pursue this. I read Joel Rocamora's articles on today and have been convinced that Noynoy and Mar should and will win on May 10. I urge the reader to google and check out the site. In his articles, Rocamora states that the Aquino-Roxas Tandem is an offshoot of civil society's clamor for genuine reform in our country. By civil society he does not only mean the Hyatt 10, or certain NGO's, or organized volunteers. Civil society is all of us who are sick and tired of corruption in government and the trapos that run it. (Is it any wonder why Noynoy and Mar are consistently at the top of surveys from all social classes?) While Rocamora states that civil society in the past was only good at toppling corrupt presidents; now, civil society is in the position to elect a President who will put the country's interests above his own. He also makes a good assessment/forecast of how People Power has and will continue to evolve not only in the upcoming elections but in years to come. I have always believed that the success of a nation does not lie solely on one person, in our case, the President of our Republic. Rather, our nation will prosper with the collective effort of every individual. I believe Noynoy and Mar will listen to us. And lead us.

In Barbara Tuchman's 'The March of Folly (From Troy To Vietnam)" (Ballantine Books, March 1985) she states: "Misgovernment is of four kinds, often in combination. They are: 1) tyranny or oppression, of which history provides so many examples that they do not need citing; 2) excessive ambition, such as Athens' attempted conquest of Sicily in the Peloponnesian War, Philip II's of England via the Armada, Germany's twice-attempted rule of Europe by a self-conceived master race, Japan's bid for an empire of Asia; 3) incompetence or decadence, as in the case of the late Roman empire, the last Romanovs and the last imperial dynasty of China; and finally 4) folly or perversity... folly is a policy that in these terms is counter-productive."

To take the above in context of the History of the Philippines we would have 1) Ferdinand Marcos and his declaration of Martial Law; 2) Imelda Marcos and her gargantuan appetite for riches not to mention her megalomania; 3) Joseph Estrada; 4) On May 10 I think it will be our folly to vote for GMA's and her Administration's candidate.

I leave you now with a short account about a taxi driver that my sister had encountered recently. She told me this story when we were talking about the coming elections and I related to her my ongoing surveys with taxi drivers. One time my sister had flagged down a taxi. She noticed that the driver had flicked something out of the window and rolled up his window as he was slowing down to pick her. When my sister stepped into the taxi she saw and smelled/inhaled wisps of cigarette smoke inside. She pointed this out to the driver and he defensively said that he had just dropped off a passenger who insisted on smoking inside the cab. My sister then reminded him that it is against the law for passengers to smoke in all kinds of public transportation. The driver then angrily told her; "Kung ayaw mo, eh di bumaba ka na lang!" My sister calmly but firmly told him -- "Tignan mo ikaw, kung sino yung nasa tama siya pa yung pababain mo." We then continue to discuss how disregard for the law has permeated our society. I told my sister -- "What do you expect, people have seen Erap and GMA lie and steal and get away with it, it has trickled down to ordinary folk."

We can still do damage control with the lost 12 years of Erap and GMA. A vote for Noynoy and Mar is not only a smart vote, it is also a vote from the heart.

God bless the Philippines.


  1. Marian Catedral - KingApril 19, 2010 at 2:32 PM

    One of the most difficult and painful times to be working away from one's homeland is during a time when one's country is in the brink of change.

    Despite a brutal work schedule and not having the luxury of househelp as we all seem to have in the Philippines, I decided to campaign for Noynoy and spent my week-ends arranging and organizing townhalls and other fund raising events. My Kano husband oncet told me, "I wish you didn't have to drive to go." I told him, "I DONT have to go. I WANT to go."

    Why Noynoy? As you said, all the websites of the candidates have fantastic platforms. At this critical time in our nation's history, I do not care about a Harvard degree or business accumen or long experience in the legislature. I am supporting Noynoy and Mar and most of their senatorial slate (okay I must admit I am voting for 1 or 2 Senators not in the LP slate) because they bring integrity and moral authority to the table. It is public service above self that plays a far important role now.

    As to who is better qualified in terms of brains and experience is not the issue. The reason why Presidents get a highly qualified cabinet is because they do the heavy lifting. Same reason as to why CEOs hire the best in their industry. To expect a President or a CEO to do all of that is absurd, childish and totally unconnected with how countries and complex large organizations run.

    Now as to the desperate push of political backers who say "vote for candidate XYZ even if he is a tail-ender because your vote won't be wasted", well I say: that's bullshit. To the political spin doctors who say, "hindi masasayang ang boto niyo kung iboto niyo si Gibo and you have to follow your heart because he's the most qualified candidate . . . " to that I say, He! Sayang talaga ang boto niyo.

    I've been an active political player asince 1986 (and not just go to the voting precint to vote) and I have politically matured since then. So, I will repeat again - - sayang talaga ang mga boto nung hindi boboto kay Noy. But, that's their loss Martin not ours.

    Lastly, the nice thing I see happening in the political landscape now is people, arm chair cynics, fence sitters, coffeeshop standbys, etc., are acting beyond lip service. They are moving and campaigning and volunteering. Regardless of who they campaign for and vote for - - - this is a refreshing move. This is very important because political activism must always be in place. Why? In the absence of the proper checks and balances within the government, it is activism among the people that will correct any wrongdoing. Remember EDSA. Remember that we too were young once and were willing to die for the flag.

    This is what is so inspiring in this election. The re-birth of political activism and citizen involvement. So, even if they may vote for someone else, they have to respect the rule of democracy. Even if in their eyes the election was flawed because their candidate lost, that still is the price of democracy. For even when wrong, the majority will always win. And yes, Noynoy will win.

  2. Thank you Marian for that very enlightening post. Yes, People Power will evolve. Bravo to all of you Pinoys abroad who may be physically away but your hearts remain in our islands :-)

  3. hi martin, ngayon ko lang nabasa ang blog mo na ito on gibo. nakakatuwa lalo na ngayong tapos na ang eleksyon. huli man daw, gusto ko pa ring ipaabot ang mga ilang bagay sa iyo. ang nickname ni gibo ay bigay ng uncle nyang si danding since high school. pag upo namin sa dnd ng 2007, kinukulit ko na siya na gamitin na namin sa PR ang "gibo" pero ayaw niya dahil kay danding na hiniwalayan na nya since 2007 elections. secondly, si danding ang isang napakalaking dahilan kaya nag iglesia ay nakuha ni noynoy. pinersonal talaga ni danding si gibo at si danding ay personal mismong pumunta sa inc central para kay noynoy, at sa mga pulitikong may utang na loob sa kanya sa mga huling araw ng kampanya para iwan si gibo. gayunpaman, masaya kaming nakipaglaban ng malinis na kampanya at personal kong alam na mabuting tao si gibo na mas nararapat sanang presidente. hindi sa hindi ko gusto si noynoy, ibinoto ko yan bilang congressman namin sa tarlac laban sa kamag anak ko at bilang senador, pero mali lang siguro ang pagkakataon. sana nga hindi nagkamali ang bayan kay noynoy at ngayong siya na ang presidente natin, kailangang suportahan siya dahil tayo din ang tatamaan kung hindi. congratulations uli sa inyo. - nelson victorino

  4. maraming salamat sa iyong komento Nelson and your insights. In the end, it is about our country. Not who won or who lost -- but how we will all strive to rise above the problems that beset our nation and make us all proud to be Filipinos.

  5. Oh and Nelson... CONGRATULATIONS SA ATING LAHAT!!! :-)