The passion Gilbert Teodoro must overcome
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2010-01-07

Indeed, it’s a pity that Gilbert Teodoro had to run for president at this time and under the circumstances of his current political affiliation. Under different circumstances, voters will likely see Teodoro in a more favorable light.

No presidential candidate rating in the low single digit by December had gone on to win a May election. Teodoro must overcome two passions. One is the passion for Senator Noynoy Aquino by the over 40% of voters. The other passion that Teodoro must overcome is that of the strong feelings against Madame Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) and by extension - the passion working against him.

A recent e-mail expressed the sentiments of a Chair Wrecker reader, Mr. Johnny Andres of Caloocan City, who suffered a personal loss, a sister and a nephew, during the Ondoy calamity. After retiring from the private sector, Mr. Andres had worked for USAID as a Consultant and is now a Volunteer Catechist.

Mr. Andres read and reacted, as follows, to our December 17, 2009 column on issues that Gilbert Teodoro must account for.

Dear Mr. Esposo,

I have nothing against Mr. Teodoro. But I fully agree with the points that you raised. He seems to be a likeable person and a nice guy.

Unfortunately, many times, in the past, I have been conned by nice, sweet talking guys.

Of the issues you raised, I only have one for him. And that is on Ondoy. I am a victim, and like many others, I have not yet fully recovered from its devastation. I lost a lot of things. But the things I lost can be replaced.

It is the loss of my sister that is irreplaceable. She and her 10-year old son died in Ondoy. They were fixing to go when the heavy downpour started. Trapped and overpowered, the raging flood buried them in their muddy, watery grave. When the waters receded, the bodies were recovered, mother and son in tight embrace, mouths open, and arms outstretched, like mud statues crying for help.

I do not question typhoons, storms, and floods, for these are regular occurrences that nature allows on a regular cycle. I would not even dare raise a voice to God asking why? What I question is the total absence of government when Ondoy landed. Like desperate orphans abandoned in wretchedness, we, the people, were left to our own. Yet, resilient as we are, we took it upon ourselves to pick up the pieces, clean our own dirt, and mend our tattered lives. We move on. Though limping, yet alive. Though wounded, yet stronger. Though poorer, yet wiser.

I am not asking for any special government service. Only the most basic. Yet, they can not render it. I am sure that like me, you are also a taxpayer. And when you receive your paycheck, the amount due the government is already deducted. Where are our taxes in times like Ondoy? It’s not there. Where is the government during Ondoy? It’s not there. Where is the then DND/NDCC (Department of National Defense/National Disaster Coordinating Center) head? He’s not there.

As if the dead from Ondoy is not enough, 50 plus people were killed by the guns of the Ampatuans. The transfer of those guns happened (presumably, as Teodoro served as DND Head only from 2007 to 2009) during his watch. As DND head, did he not know that the military’s equipment is going to those warlords? He always visits Mindanao. Does he not know what is going on? What else does he not know? Psychologists say that past behavioral pattern predicts future behavior. If this is true, then we have a good indicative matrix on him. I will not say that his candidacy is a joke to me. Rather, I would say “give me a break!”

Galing at Talino? Wow! Can anybody be more brilliant than Ferdinand Marcos? Can anyone be a better economist than Ms. Gloria M. Arroyo? Yet, it was in the last nine years that we became the least competitive country and the most corrupt in Asia.

But first things first for my only issue: Why was there no government when Ondoy visited? When the rains stopped, why were there no government rescue teams? We have boats and choppers. Why were these not deployed? Where were these government personnel? I have a guess. Maybe, they were drinking out the rains.

They have the cheek to do such things as “playing the music while Rome is burning.” That’s what they did in Le Cirque New York, where they spent P1 million worth of dinner, when our poor have nothing to eat. They only handed pandesals to the flood victims at Malacañang, in their first day of refuge.

But you are right, he should account for those issues. Like a man. Where was the then DND/NDCC chief when Ondoy struck?

They say that we Filipinos have short memory. I say NO. I will not forget. When I cast my vote, I will remember my dead and my loss. I will remember my pain. My helplessness. My grief. I will remember the total absence of government during Ondoy.

Sincerely yours,

Johnny Andres, Bo. Obrero, Caloocan City
E-mail address:
Gilbert Teodoro should have read Sun Tzu who advised that a good general never fights a battle that he cannot win.

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A great disservice to P-Noy

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