Archive for Gilbert Teodoro

Philippine News: Is The Philippines Ready For Noynoy Aquino?

Posted in All About The Philippines, Philippine News, Philippine Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 23, 2010 by JJ Duque

Noynoy For President = Goodbye Kris Aquino

Noynoy Aquino is the 15th President of the Philippines. Well, depends from which point of history you start counting.

Lots of color in the recent May 2010 national elections, and as much as there was a lot of juicy tidbits to blog about, I sorta decided to keep the Philippines Funwall free from the mudslinging. Besides, I think I wouldn’t have many nice things to say. And if you can’t say anything nice, then better not say anything at all.

So Noynoy Aquino won by a pretty huge margin, and I guess everyone including me was surprised to even find former President Joseph Erap Estrada make it to second in the list, considering he wasn’t as noisy during the campaign period as other hopefuls like Manny Villar or Gilbert Teodoro.

If I had the chance to vote, I would’ve cast my vote for Dick Gordon, who I believe has a very respectful and dignified political record, and has the brins and political will to create positive change for the country as seen in how he brought Olongapo up from the ground after the Mt. Pinatubo eruption. However, my name was missing in my precinct since I failed to re-register with the COMELEC. I didn’t even know I had to, considering my name wasn’t on the online list. Oh well – too late to complain, and too bad. Pretty surprising though that Eddie Villanueva actually led over Dick Gordon in the race, where he placed 6th. Sad. And I thought a tried and tested politician would’ve had a better placing than someone like Eddie Villanueva, who hasn’t ever held a political office. But what do we know about voters minds.  After all, Erap came out in second even after every survey showed him not even a consideration for the running.

Well, so Noynoy Aquino is there. His mother President Corazon Aquino was a former President, and certainly if his father Ninoy Aquino wasn’t assassinated, then he would’ve probably made a valiant run for the top post in the executive branch. Some say Noynoy doesn’t have the same political savvy as his father, or maybe even the big heart of his mother, and many say he isn’t even a great leader, except maybe his claim-to-fame of having such popular parents. But, that’s what everyone says when its not their candidate that wins.

In the meantime, two Aquino presidents says something about the makings of a political dynasty, or if you didn’t think they had one, well now you know they have one. There is indeed much to look forward to, and there are a lot of critics waiting to pounce on Noynoy when he falters.

Me – I’m more excited on the prospect that Kris Aquino has promised to leave the country lest she be a distraction and thorn on her brother’s reign as President due to her controversial and much celebrated personal life flaunted in showbiz. Do we really have to hear about every time Kris cries, or her husband James Yap has an alleged third party affair? And for sure, as the sister to the President, she’s just sure to get more media coverage, and well – let’s just hope she holds her end of her promise. If there’s anything certainly good about the Noynoy Aquino presidency – the exit of Kris Aquino is a good start.

The 2010 Presidential Election Circus: The True Practice of Democracy

Posted in All About The Philippines, Duke420 Articles, Philippine News, Philippine Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 2, 2009 by JJ Duque

I love the Philippines. I love the fact that there are several well-meaning people who are motivated to serve the nation. Just take a look at all those who want to become President and lead the Filipino people. Wow, there are so many of them. Really – it’s so touching that so many of them are willing to dedicate so much time, effort and money to become President of the Philippines. Anyway, without further adieu – here is the official list of those who filed for their candidacy for the position of Philippine President, and their respective Vice Presidential partners and senatorial candidates (as applicable).

Potential President of the Philippines and Emperor of the World

Potential President of the Philippines and Emperor of the World

Noynoy Aquino (President) and Mar Roxas (Vice President) are the candidates of the Liberal Party. Their slate for the 12 senators include Ralph Recto, Sonia Roco, Teofisto Guingona III, Ruffy Biazon, Ana Theresa Baraquel, Alexander Lacson, Nereus Acosta, Danilo Lim, Dr. Martin Bautista, Yasmin Busran-Lao, Franklin Drilon and Serge Osmena.

Joseph “Erap” Estrada (President) and Jejomar Binay (Vice President) for the Partido ng Masang Pilipino – UNO. Their senatorial bets include Jinggoy Estrada, Jun Lozada Jr., JV Bautista, Rodolfo Plaza, Jose de Venecia III, and Juan Ponce Enrile.

Gilbert Teodoro (President) and Edu Manzano (Vice President) for the Lakas-Kampi CMD. Their candidates for the senate include Bong Revilla, Lito Lapid, Rey Langit, Ramon Juico, Silvestre Bello III, Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Raul Lambino.

Manny Villar (President) and Loren Legarda (Vice President) of the Nacionalista Party. Their official candidates for the senate include Adel Tamano, Gwendolyn Pimentel-Gana, Susan Ople, Ramon Mitra III, Pia Cayetano, Ariel Querubin, Bongbong Marcos Jr., Lisa Maza, Satur Ocampo and Gilbert Remulla.

Dick Gordon (President) and Bayani Fernando (Vice President) of the Bagumbayan Party. They have no senatorial bets because they believe they can work with anybody and everybody.

Jamby Madrigal (President) will run as an independent without a running mate, and also without a senatorial slate.

Brother Eddie Villanueva (President) and Perfecto Yasay (Vice President) of Bangon Pilipinas. Their senatorial bets include Ramoncito Ocampo, Kata Inocencio, Zafrullah Alonto, Israel Virgines and Alex Tinsay.

Manny Lopez (President) will run as an independent, and claims he is better than US President Barack Obama.

Rigoberto Madera Jr. (President) will run as an independent and if elected will move on to become the next US President, the next UN Secretary General and Emperor of the World.

Only in the Philippines do we see such awesome democracy practiced, and where everyone can qualify to become President of the Philippines as long as they fulfill the requirements for their Certificate of Candidacy (COC).

This is the circus, and this is  democrazy!

Philippine News:Gilbert Teodoro Picks Edu Manzano As VP Running Mate

Posted in All About The Philippines, Duke420 Articles, Philippine News, Philippine Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 14, 2009 by JJ Duque

I haven’t blogged as much in the past few weeks. Not that there hasn’t been much happening, but actually the fact that there hasn’t been much posting here means that I’ve been quite busy lately. Mostly, I’ve been busy with organizing the co-founding of Green Agenda Philippines, which is an advocacy program part of the non-government organization called Earth Tribe Council. Loads of development there, which I hope to share here in the Philippines Funwall once things get a bit more concrete.

Also, with all the things going on in the country, I’ve just had to shrug my shoulders and kinda sigh. It’s not that I’m hopeless, but it’s just that I’d rather follow the wise words of Thumper who said, “If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say nothing at all.”

In keeping with that wise saying, I’d like to share my thoughts on the decision of defense secretary and presidential aspirant Gilbert Teodoro to pick showbiz personality Edu Manzano as his running mate for vice president.

In a previous post in the Philippines Funwall, I had some unkind words to say about Gilbert Teodoro and the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) earlier in October at the height of the disasters brought by the storms that ravaged the Philippines. (You can read about what I had to say earlier by clicking here.)

Anyway, I did announce back then that Glbert Teodoro lost my vote. Well, he still hasn’t earned it, especially with his decision to take Edu Manzano as a running mate for vice president.

I admire Gilbert Teodoro to an extent, and I really am thankful that he was very dedicated during the relief and rescue operations despite the NDCC’s failure to a quick response. I’m certain it wasn’t his fault that the NDCC wasn’t equipped to deal with the disaster when Typhoon Ketsana (Ondoy) first struck, but Gilbert Teodoro has done well in being more prepared for the other storms to follow. And that I will give him credit for.

I guess Giblert Teodoro felt that he could run for President, given that he had done well to gain public recognition during his efforts at handling the disasters and storms. The next thing he needed to do was to find a running mate, and he shopped around some of the glitziest names of showbiz-politics, including Loren Legarda (former Senator and news anchor), Bong Revilla (Senator and action star), Tito Sotto (Senator and Eat Bulaga  host) and Vilma Santos (Batangas governor and hall-of-fame actress).

Eventually, Gilbert Teodoro settled for Edu Manzano – the fomer Optical Media Board chairperson and also an actor. Gilbert Teodoro‘s move to shop for a showbiz-political partner is similar to what Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo did when she picked out running mate Noli De Castro for Vice President.

Gilbert Teodoro‘s decision to opt (and shop around) for a showbiz-political partner makes me rethink how smart and “for the future” he really is. I mean – the mere fact – that he thinks showbiz personalities will bring him more votes just goes to show that he still is a traditional politician, who still believes in the popularity contest of the upcoming 2010 Philippine National Elections.

Well, certainly it is a popularity contest with all sorts of names to remember come election day. A voter’s list would have to include names of  barangay captains, mayors, vice-mayors, city councilors, a congressman, 12 senators, a vice president and a president. And just imagine the list of names a voter has to weed out just to come up with that list.

Anyway, Gilbert Teodoro is the cousin of senator Noynoy Aquino, who is also gunning for the Presidential seat. They’re both nephews of Eduardo Cojuangco, Jr., the president of San Miguel Corporation. Now – what does that say to us about family and politics? The obvious presumption is that the family doesn’t get well enough to support the decision of another family member to run for a position, and then goes against that family member anyway. Certainly, such a situation would divide the family. And what is family if not the backbone of our society? With that argument in mind, I could presume that Gilbert Teodoro (and Noynoy Aquino for that matter) are not such dedicated members of their family, causing a great divide with their decision to run against each other for the Philppine Presidency.

Well – that’s just one issue. The news that Gilbert Teodoro was frantically shopping around for a vice president just goes to show his unpreparedness for the Presidential campaign. It seems like his decision to run for President is on a whim, probably fueled by his recent rise to political stardom over his overwhelming national publicity upon coordinating relief and rescue operations during Ondoy and Pepeng and other storms to follow.

Seriously, you’d think that someone who was prepared to run for President should’ve had a running mate to begin with. Now that just makes me rethink if Gilbert Teodoro is prepared at all for the task of Philippine President if he can’t even be prepared for a campaign for that position. With the elections nearing, Gilbert Teodoro hasn’t even yet established a political platform if he were to become President, and I think a true public servant for the people would’ve already thought of an agenda in helping restore the country prior to even running for any position.

All that Gilbert Teodoro has done is made himself more popular. He has yet to address the country’s needs and provide solutions for its problems. Or provide concrete steps in assuring that the solutions that are currently being worked on are kept in place.

Edu Manzano For Vice President of the Philippines

Edu Manzano For Vice President of the Philippines

And then – he has Edu Manzano for a running mate. Well, I won’t comment much on Edu Manzano. I leave it up to the universe to expose him for what he truly is – an actor who knows how to play the part. Maybe the decision of Edu Manzano to run for vice president will be a wake-up call for him. Edu Manzano does have the heart to serve the public, and even ripped up his American passport when he ran for Makati City vice mayor to show his true patriotism. He won that election to become the vice mayor, but lost at the next election when he ran for Makati City Mayor.

Since then, he has been sidelined in the political scene, and his small stint as a law enforcer for pirated CDs and DVDs  (chairman of the OMB) doesn’t really say much for his capabilities to execute the law. Personally, I’ve heard more stories of other controversies about Edu Manzano, although I haven’t confirmed that myself. I guess it’s but natural for a popular figure to be surrounded by controversy, but I just hope that the notoriety will not do damage to the well-meaning Presidential campaign of Gilbert Teodoro and Edu Manzano.

At the very least, the Gilbert Teodoro and Edu Manzano campaign will surely be entertaining. Certainly, the political soirees of the Gibo-Edu pair will bring the likes of Luis Manzano (Edu’s son), maybe Angel Locsin (if Luis can keep her long enough), and Pinky Webb, whom Edu Manzano is currently dating. Maybe, his campaigns will even bring around his former wives like Vilma Santos and Maricel Soriano.

Hmm. Edu Manzano and his many wives. Now – that also says something about your vice presidential candidate. I wonder if Edu Manzano would be pro-divorce? If he is, then maybe he might win my vote after all.

For the sake of Edu Manzano – I just hope the snow doesn’t blow out in these tropics – which is my version of I just hope the shit doesn’t hit the fan.

Dam If You Do, Dam If You Don’t

Posted in All About The Philippines, Duke420 Articles, Philippine News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 12, 2009 by JJ Duque

The militant group Bayan said that National Disaster Coordinating Council chief and Secretary of Defense Gilbert Teodoro should also be held accountable for the flooding in Pangasinan.

Bayan chairperson Dr. Carol Araullo said, “Teodoro is as accountable as the dam executives. At the minimum, he should have promptly coordinated the timing and volume of the release [of water from San Roque dam] with the possible evacuation of residents and other preparations needed by the affected towns of Pangasinan.”

“It is appaling that he [Teodoro] is clueless on data as basic as the amount of water released by the San Roque Dam,” she added.

The San Roque dam’s critical level is at 290 meters above sea level. Based on available data, water levels already spiked as early as October 4 and continued to rise until October 9. Data from the weather bureau’s website showed that the water levels jumped from 281 meters to 284 meters above see level as early as October 4, and moved up to 289.1 meters from October 6 to October 9.

Had this data been diligently studied, and presented as a serious concern, then an earlier release of water may have brought down the water levels without having it reach the near critical water level of 290 meters. Also, if this information was already available on October 4, then perhaps Pangasinan residents could have been warned and informed for plans to release water from the dam.

At the very least, the effects of the release of so much water from the San Roque dam could’ve been looked into, and preparations could’ve been made to prevent the serious flooding it brought to Pangasinan, which left 80% of the province flooded and underwater. Coupled with the devastating winds and rains brought by typhoon Parma (typhoon Pepeng here in the Philippines), it is no wonder that the consequences were disastrous.

Water Released From San Roque Dam Responsible For Floods Around Rosales Town in Pangasinan Province

Water Released From San Roque Dam Responsible For Floods Around Rosales Town in Pangasinan Province

A similar situation also presented itself during tropical storm Ketsana (Ondoy here in the Philippines), wherein the water levels at the Angat Dam in Bulacan almost reached the critical level of 216 meters above sea level, and had to release its water in the midst of the tropical storm. Some have suggested that the release by the Angat Dam is what is responsibled for the flashfloods that ravaged and killed several people in the province of Bulacan, which includes Meycauayan City and in the towns of Marilao, Bocaue and Sta. Maria.

Of course, while it is necessary for the dams to open their spillways to prevent reaching a critical level where the dam could burst, the big complaint of citizens and a group like Bayan is that there were no announcements made by dam officials about the release of the water.

Malabon City police officer Rommel Habig, whose home was flooded during Ondoy, blames the negligent release of water from the Angat Dam as the cause of the massive flooding.

“There would have been enough time for the people to do what was necessary, if only they [dam officials] made an announcement earlier that the spillways would be opened,” said Habig.

“They issued an advisory only after the flashflood,” he claimed.

Personally,  I feel that dam officials should be accountable for their negligence in not informing the proper authorities about the critical state of the water levels, and not informing the public (especially the citizens who might be affected by the dam release) that the dam would release water.

Lives could’ve been saved and preparations could have been put into place to prevent such a disaster. While the dam officials may have saved the dam from bursting, and causing even more damage, their lack of foresight and initiative to inform those who might be affected is plain irresponsible. Their responsibility to protect the dam and prevent it from bursting should also include a responsibility to protect the citizens who might suffer when the water is relesed.

At the very least, someone should make a public notice, so that a boy might know to avoid swimming in the river because the currents would be stronger. However, without any warning issued by dam officials – the consequences have been very fatal indeed.

Philippines Current Events: Coordinating Disaster Is A Disaster For National Disaster Coordinating Councild

Posted in All About The Philippines, Duke420 Articles, Philippine Current Events, Philippine News with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 27, 2009 by JJ Duque

I don’t like the National Disaster Coordinating Council of the Philippines. Simply because they lack COORDINATION! It’s a given that Ondoy has brought so much damage to property, to homes, and not to mention the thousands of people who had to be evacuated.

Coordinating rescue operations is no joke, but it’s rather such a disappointment that they couldn’t get something going quickly enough. After all, it’s a matter of coordination. If the NDCC receives a call for help, then they coordinate the efforts with the nearest rescue operation unit  in that area – whether it be hospital, police or barangay. From there, the local rescue unit will give an assessment of the situation, (i.e. “we cannot get to those victims due to severe floods.”)

From that point the NDCC will coordinate this information to those who can do something about the situation, such as the Philippine Air Force, Coast Guard, Navy, or maybe they might have their own special equipment or task force that can respond to the call since the local unit cannot, and then THAT is dispatched with the utmost emergency. And then coordinate a place with which they can use for evacuation. After all, you don’t just rescue the cat from a tree just to leave him in a pit of dogs.

The NDCC Cannot Coordinate This Disaster

The NDCC Cannot Coordinate This Disaster

What happened to yesterday’s disaster because of Ondoy had the phone lines of the NDCC on fire, and yet without anyone to really provide the proper coordination in order to get things done. The slow process of bureaucracy before Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro could mobilize anything is just not acceptable when lives and property are at stake, especially those who stand to lose EVERYTHING.

Sorry – Gilbert Teodoro – but you just lost my vote.

Then, there’s that NDCC Deputy Director Anthony Golez Jr., who I believe may have a good heart, but just looks like a total dweeb. Anthony Golez Jr., in an interview with ABS-CBN, asked for an apology for the delayed effort in the rescue operations, citing that the flood made things difficult. Sorry – Anthony  Golez Jr. – I was taught to produce results and not excuses, and I can’t believe you even had the time to conduct an interview to apologize instead of getting on that damn phone and finding more trucks and more rubber boats and more choppers, or coordinating more evacuation centers.

Then, when he was asked if school and work would be suspended, Anthony Golez Jr. quipped something like it would depend on the bureaucracy. Apparently, there is a criteria that must be followed for the suspension of classes or work, or the declaration of any calamity, and it has such a frigging red-tape process. (you may check it out here). It’s no wonder kids take the dangerous trek to school at 5Am and get to school on time at 7am, only to find out that government will suspend classes at 11am (government work starts at 8am or 9am.) By that time – the situation of the weather is near disastrous, and students are stranded.

So, anyway, Anthony Golez Jr. can’t say if there are no classes or work on Monday because some government offices are closed on Sunday, and no one is around to write the memo. If you look at the red tape process of suspending classes and work by the NDCC, you will understand the importance of the memo.

Apart from the rescue operations, the NDCC should have better coordination in the gathering of information as to those that may need relief. They should also coordinate all the efforts of volunteer groups and point them to designated areas. They should also coordinate the charity and relief assistance from various groups to send out to evacuation centers or disaster areas. COORDINATION – it’s in their job description.

Instead, what’s going on now, is that several groups and foundations have risen up to volunteer their services, and yet they are like headless chickens running around. Sure, ABSCBN is doing a tele-thon and getting donations  with even the supposed head of Coca-Cola – pledging 2 million bottles of Wilkins drinking water. Fine – it sounds good on television, but I want those 2 million bottles now! I want 10,000 of those put on a truck and sent to Marikina. I want 10,000 more sent to Rizal. I want 20,000 more floated down the Pasig river to reach homes that cannot be reached. I want immediate action through coordination. I want to see the pledged 2 million water bottles making its way somewhere it is needed. Instead, it might take 2 weeks for me to ever see those bottles, and some might just find its way to a studio set and not to a relief center.

The Red Cross have their hotlines. ABSCBN Foundation have their own fund-raiser. Politicians and presidential aspirants are setting up their own relief  centers. – those are all good. But then, eventually, there has to be someone at the top of all that to say, “ABSCBN release that 1 million peso donation so we can rent out 5 choppers to do rescue operations. NOW!”

We need someone to say,  “Red Cross! Shell out Php100,000 so we can run gensets at the evacuation centers, and put cots and blankets, and give medication…”

The good will of the people and their good intentions to help their fellow Filipinos is fine, but it’s the coordination of important action that is needed during a state of calamity that is truly lacking. We may have saved a child from drowning in the flood, but if we put that child  in a place that has no food or medicine or warmth from the storm, then we just gave that child a new place to die. We didn’t save that child at all.

If there is no one in charge with that kind of capacity, power or responsibility, to command that kind of action from local government units, NGO’s, or from private groups, then there is no point in putting up a National Disaster Coordinating Council if they cannot coordinate such things at a time of disaster.

In other countries, like the US – when a policeman needs to accost your vehicle to chase a suspect, then he gets it by flashing a badge and without questions asked. And if he wrecks it, then it will be cared for by the government. That kind of authority empowering a simple police officer allows things to get done in terms of results. We have to put that in a bigger scale in order to mobilize things at a time of disaster, at a state of calamity.

Anyway, the National Disaster Coordinating Council can begin the change by upgrading the NDCC website to make it look like a site of action, and not just a mere web-brochure on press releases about agreements made for fudning. I’m beginnning to get the feeling that the NDCC is a lobbyist group in search of relief, instead of an action group. If it were action, then the first page of their site should be a form for an incident report, or a hotline number in big bold letters. And don’t forget to check the NDCC contacts directory (the number of Golez isn’t even there!). If the primary contact number of the NDCC is the “Webnaster”, then we are truly screwed. And if the alignment of the NDCC contacts directory page is anything to consider on how to coordinate things – then God save us all because the NDCC surely doesn’t look capable at all.

Don’t even get me started with the Office of Civil Defense (OCD.)

Anyway, I was just informed that there is an online  Rescue InfoHub Central. I’m just uncertain how this works, or who’s responsible or on top of this, but it’s disconcerting that there are only 200 incident reports with everything that is going on.

I just really wish that the coordination of this disaster be swift. It is frustrating to think that with all the cooks in the kitchen, the efforts for rescue, relief and rehabilitation will be delayed in bureaucracy. Before you know it – the funds raised will be used for an election campaign, or some other misappropriate use.

By the way – President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo‘s office has been rather quiet.

Philippine Politics: Call A Spade A Spade, And A Pig A Pig.

Posted in All About The Philippines, Philippine Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 25, 2009 by JJ Duque

Calling The Attention of Philippine Daily Inquirer Columnist Conrado de Quiros!

Conrado De Quiros

Conrado De Quiros

(The following excerpt was written by JR De La Cruz, former Most Illustrious Fellow of Upsilon Sigma Phi)

Conrado de Quiros, you are the man. Few opinion writers in the Philippines can lay claim to your impeccable writing style, to your uncanny choice of words, and the thing I love most – your sardonic wit, which not only amuses but also almost always hits the point. After the death of Cory, however, after that moving eulogy you wrote (that eulogy ought to be immortalized, side by side with the apocalyptic ‘May Araw Din Kayo’), you have dropped all pretense of humor and subtlety and have suddenly turned into Noynoy Aquino’s biggest propagandist.

I have great respect for you, Mr. de Quiros, but I just do not, cannot, and will not buy all the “Battle-of-good-vs.-evil, Noynoy-is-our-Messiah-slash-Obama (please lang, sir. Wag naman.)” propaganda. I don’t buy all this contrived madness the Kapamilya network, “civil society” and the grand old Partido Liberal are trying to ram down our throats.

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing personal against Noynoy. I’ve met him once, and he is obviously a nice guy. If I was voting for student council president, or maybe even mayor, I probably wouldn’t hesitate to vote for him. By all indications, he is indeed one damn good person, as you, Mr. de Quiros, would put it. But really, is one damn good person what we need right now? Is nice enough to take us out of the mess we are in? Is his amiable personality enough to gloss over the fact that he has spent most of his years in Congress doing, well, not much, and that, just like the lot of them, he is a politician taking advantage of this singular opportunity – of all things, his mother’s death – to be president?

The bigger man, the wiser man, the one damn good person would, after seeing the multitude of mourners outpouring their devotion for his mother, have declined the temptation to be goaded into running; in Tagalog, hindi siya magpapabuyo. Certainly, a good man would have at least waited a little longer and not announced his candidacy right after the ritualistic 40 days after the passing of his mother, making it seem like he was just obliged to comply with Filipino tradition so as not to look insensitive, but at the same time that he couldn’t wait a day more since he’s thrown his hat in the race too late and must thus make up for lost time.

For in his years of public service, in his whole life, really, can Noynoy honestly say he thinks himself competent enough to be president? Or is it more likely that the crowd at his mother’s wake, and his slew of very able advisers – pardon the digression, but Drilon, Abad, which side are you on lately? – emboldened him into that way of thinking? While in his “period of discernment”, I was hoping that for at least once in my life, I would witness a true statesman, selfless, wise, like the previous generation witnessed Ninoy. He would’ve been that statesman had he declined, knowing he knows nothing and being truly wise for it. Alas, the blinding allure of power, the buoying wave of his mother’s (not even his own) supporters, was too strong to resist. If this doesn’t reek of political opportunism, I don’t know what does.

I agree, we shouldn’t vote purely on competence. But that shouldn’t stop experience from reminding us what happens if we vote for an incompetent president. What happens is we vote a hundred thousand advisers with him/her. What happens is after three years in office, we try to take him/her out again, realizing we made a mistake. If we’re unsuccessful, we call it a coup attempt. If we’re successful, we call it Edsa Dos. What happens is we pin our hopes on another popular icon, another shining symbol, without realizing that we’re being f*cked by the same people over and over again.

I agree, Mr. de Quiros, we do need someone we can trust. But I don’t see how that someone is Noynoy at all. On what action, on what defining issue, on what aspect of his life, save for being born into his name or being born in Hacienda Luisita, should we base our trust in him? If the name and the land bear it all, why then don’t we throw all our support behind Kris Aquino, or yes, Gilbert Teodoro? A press briefing right after the announcement of the Noynoy-Mar tandem is very telling.

Asked how different he was from Teodoro, his second cousin, Noynoy, probably caught off-guard, only managed to say that he hoped not to “engage in meaningless arguments but rather on how we intend to push our beliefs in how to govern the country and convince people who has a better plan and platform of government between us”. Yeah, right. Evade the question, give a motherhood statement.

His running mate, correctly realizing that the answer his partner gave was so lame, butted in saying that it was apparent Aquino had difficulty answering the question because after all, he and Teodoro were relatives. Mar then offered his own answer, saying that the difference is “Secretary Gibo said he believed in the programs and policies of GMA and that he would continue them, and Sen. Noynoy does not want the crooked, the wrong. He does not want mulcting and plundering. So, he will do what is straight and true. That’s their difference.”

First of all, to dismiss as meaningless argument the most compelling argument he can make – that of differentiating himself from his cousin – tells us that maybe he himself recognizes that there is not much of a difference between them. Second, for Mar to say that Sen. Noynoy does not want the crooked, the wrong, the mulcting and plundering only exposes his and his running mate’s hypocrisy. Didn’t Noynoy sign the impeachment complaint against Pres. Estrada in 2000, become Deputy Speaker of an Arroyo-JDV Congress in 2004, run for Senate under Erap in 2007, and now isn’t he in the middle of talks with Erap again? Now you tell me who’s a better man, one who flip-flops between two crooks or one who remains loyal to a crook despite her dismal popularity? To paraphrase Orwell, it’s like looking from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again, only to see that it is impossible to say which is which.

You denounce, Mr. de Quiros, Ronnie Puno for having served three masters who delivered this country to the dogs – Marcos, Erap, Gloria – conveniently leaving Cory and Ramos out of the enumeration, as if 1986-1998 were such glorious years in our nation’s history. But really, how different is Ronnie Puno from the posse who currently surround Noynoy? We want a prime example? Let’s look no further than Drilon, the Chairman of Noynoy’s party and one of his closest supporters. Let’s see. He served as Justice Secretary and Executive Secretary of Cory, Justice Secretary of Ramos, Senate President of Erap, ran under Gloria’s “People Power Coalition” in 2004, before bolting once again and re-emerging now behind Noynoy Aquino. How many masters has he served? What makes him better than Ronnie Puno? Again, between the two of them, it’s impossible to say which is which.

All I am asking, Mr. de Quiros, is that you call a spade a spade, and call a pig a pig. If it is a choice of the lesser evil and not a battle of good versus evil then say it. Expose each and every candidate to the people so that we may make an informed decision. Do not stoke our pent up anger at the present administration and our outpour of emotion for the late president into an emotional vote for Noynoy. Sayang e. Magagamit nanaman yung mga tao. Magagago nanaman. Turn it instead into an indignant demand to our candidates for something new, something real. They have never faced that anger. They have not been made accountable for their past actions. Because what we always try to do is to look for that symbol, that pearl, regardless whether that pearl lies among the swines. You are an opinion writer, yes, and are thus entitled to espouse one candidate over another. You are a friend of the late president and of the Aquinos. But I hope you realize that you also represent for many from our generation someone to look up to, and we do not have much left. Please, for the sake of a truly informed electorate, for the sake of political maturity, stop the propaganda and heed this call.

I still love you, Conrado de Quiros. And I love Ninoy. Cory, I am indifferent to. But we all know what will happen if Noynoy wins in 2010.