Gilbert Teodoro must account for Maguindanao and other issues
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2009-12-17

Perhaps conditioned by the experience of the Ferdinand E. Marcos national nightmare from 1965 to 1986, your Chair Wrecker has become very wary every time a candidate for the highest executive post in the land postures as God’s gift to the people owing to his talent and skills.

“This nation can be great again” was the proud boast of Marcos when he ran for president in 1965 against incumbent Diosdado Macapagal. Marcos was never coy about his “greatness” as seen by how he was packaged during the 1965 campaign.

In the 1956 campaign, Marcos projected that:

1. He was a destined (Iginuhit ng Tadhana which means predestined) leader of his people.

2. He was a brilliant man who possesses a photographic memory.

3. He was an extraordinary war hero who won a string of medals for battlefield bravery.

4. He was an exceptional lawyer who won his own acquittal in the Supreme Court over an earlier conviction for the murder of Julio Nalundasan.

5. He was the leader who would clean government corruption and bring the Philippines to its greatest heights.

As it turned out, the Marcos medals were pure myth, Marcos era corruption far exceeded that of all other previous presidencies and Marcos was simply destined to bring the country to its most traumatic post-World War II period which to this day affects the psyche of many Filipinos and had set dangerous precedents for other Marcos wannabes to ape.

Madame Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) had anointed former Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro as the administration official presidential candidate. Teodoro, to his credit, acknowledges his debt of gratitude to GMA even if we all know that to be associated with her is to suffer the kiss of death. He even vowed to continue the “good” policies of the GMA regime and pursue Charter Change which reinforces people’s perception that he will simply be a GMA clone or a facilitator of a GMA resurrection under a parliamentary system.

Teodoro is projecting himself as the epitome of galing at talino (competence and talent). Teodoro runs a clever campaign by sounding more of a reformist than the real reformist — the dominant presidential candidate, Senator Noynoy Aquino — when in truth and by his own admission he plans to pursue the policies of GMA, including the distrusted Charter Change.

Undeniably bright and articulate — like Marcos — Teodoro mesmerizes some people. They are attracted to his promises of change and reform despite his plans to pursue GMA policies and call for Charter Change. Sweet nothings from the mouths of skillful gigolos have succeeded in separating innocent virgins from their precious hymens.

But there are questions hounding Gilbert Teodoro that must be asked if we are to concede that indeed he is competent and talented. Here are a few which pertain to recent developments.

1. How come when he was still National Defense Secretary, Teodoro never raised the alarm about private armies, especially the atrocities that were happening in Maguindanao? Does this not make him equally accountable for the Maguindanao massacre as GMA who coddled and nurtured the Ampatuans, the prime suspects behind the heinous crimes?

2. How come Teodoro never acted on the weapons hoard of the Ampatuans when in fact these were mostly supplied by the military which was under him?

3. How come a bar topnotcher like Teodoro was willing to give GMA the benefit of the doubt on the imposition of PP 1959 (Maguindanao martial law) when former Supreme Court Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban asserts that the Constitutional violations of PP 1959 are very glaring and are easily spotted by a freshman law student?

4. How come Teodoro failed to anticipate the Ondoy devastation (and properly react) when we all knew that Climate Change was triggering more rainfall and worse floods?

5. How come Teodoro panders to the US “Terror” line, the predicate for pursuing the big US agenda in Mindanao?

In two presidential debates, Teodoro asserted that he will prioritize the creation of a bigger military and police force. Now, that is as way off from seeing the real solutions to our biggest national security and peace and order problems as the old assessment of navigators that the world was flat.

Going by that thinking, Teodoro will forever be engaged in expanding our military and police because he failed to recognize that the real solution was to address poverty and the lack of social justice by bridging the Information, Education, Opportunity and Wealth Gaps in our society. Going by Teodoro’s solution, money that should go for health, education and providing livelihood will instead go to fund a forever increasing military and police force.

Going by Teodoro’s solution of a bigger military and police force, the result will be a garrison state which history tells us never solved a social justice problem. Because military and police expansion prevented the addressing of the health, education, livelihood problems, expect the insurgency and rebellions to prosper just as it did during the Marcos era.

Just as Marcos succeeded Diosdado Macapagal, if you know what is good for you — Teodoro should not be allowed to succeed Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

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