The controversial Pastor
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2010-07-08

The way controversy has been hounding this Pastor surprises your Chair Wrecker how media colleagues have not grabbed the opportunity to do a personality profile on him.

Retired Manila Bulletin president and former top political writer, Napoleon “Nap” Rama, once told me that the books on controversial persons far outsell the books about Saints, heroes and the good guys. Nap is right — books about Adolf Hitler far outsell books about Winston Churchill. Books about the Mafia attract more readers than the books about good cops. The world it seems is fascinated with evil persons.

To be clear, the controversial Pastor we will discuss is not an evil person. He is neither insane like Hitler nor ordered the genocide of any race. His friends and kin have many good things to say about his generosity, kindness, genuine charity for the poor and the oppressed — not to mention his likeable personality if you really know him. His children, from two mothers, adore him.

We are talking about Pastor “Boy” Saycon who is celebrating his 60th birthday today. Boy is many things to many people. To former Malacañang Palace resident Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA), Boy is an anay (termite). That is because she felt that Boy was undermining her administration. Boy has been sued for libel and eventually acquitted. The case was filed by those he exposed in the Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard scam which is now being tried in the Sandiganbayan.

I met Boy Saycon in early 1996 during the preparation of the GMA bid for the 1998 presidency — before she slid down to vice president. Boy was part of the group that engineered the Fidel V. Ramos (FVR) successful 1992 presidential campaign which included the late Teddy Benigno. Both Boy’s group and I felt in 1996 that GMA could be the antidote to a Joseph Estrada 1998 presidency. We felt then that Estrada would be a disaster for the country.

Before I met Boy Saycon, some of the controversies hounding him have already reached my ears from various sources. I asked Teddy Benigno: “How sure are you of Boy Saycon?” At that time, there were conflicting versions of Boy’s real affiliation. Some aver that Boy continues to work undercover for FVR while others say that he has been ousted from the FVR inner circle.

It turned out that Boy was alienated from FVR after a demolition job on Boy was undertaken by an envious powerful general who wanted him out of the inner circle. Presidential election victors play this game of eating each other. The power blocks tend to eliminate each other for control of the inner circle — foolishly forgetting that they are effectively weakening their president.

In answer to my question — “How sure are you of Boy Saycon?” — Teddy Benigno replied: “Billy, believe me that when it comes to Boy Saycon you would rather have him on your side than working against you.” It was 1996 when Teddy and I had that discussion. Today, 14 years later, I will attest that Teddy was right in his assessment.

Mar Roxas may not know it and if he did chances are he will not admit it — but he became the casualty of having Boy Saycon working against him in the May 10 elections. The role Boy Saycon played in the victory of Vice President Jojo Binay is discussed in your Chair Wrecker’s May 16 and May 18 columns (log on to:

The two top political operators in our country today are Ronnie Puno and Boy Saycon. By nature, political operators are controversial and so we find both of them sharing the “Most Distrusted” title. It is easy not to like political operators just as it is uncomfortable to deal with a known spy. A political operator cannot avoid being controversial simply because a political operator — to be effective — has to be able to work with many groups and individuals.

Operating only with the so-called “Good Guys” renders a political operator useless because it is intelligence acquired from the “Bad Guys” that matters the most. Many of the civil society groups are only good for press releases and nothing more because they don’t have a Boy Saycon with them.

It was Boy Saycon’s effective political operation that enabled COPA (The Council on Philippine Affairs) to successfully file a case on the Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard scam. It was Boy Saycon’s effective political operation that assembled the combined forces of the Left and the Right for EDSA II. It was Boy Saycon’s effective political operation that allowed VP candidate Jojo Binay to get Villar-Binay and Gibo-Binay votes in the provinces where these two presidential candidates were strong.

There is a glaring difference between Ronnie Puno and Boy Saycon. Ronnie Puno has always sided with the big battalions, the side with the greater assets. Among Ronnie’s presidential clientele were Ferdinand Marcos, FVR, Joseph Estrada and GMA.

There are good causes that Boy Saycon consistently advocates. Boy has been known to side with the less financed candidates, the perceived losers. Ronnie Puno has yet to make an underdog like Jojo Binay win. Boy Saycon has supported causes and their champions even though several times he was hardly appreciated by them.

All things considered, including warts and all — may there be more political operators like Pastor “Boy” Saycon.

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  Previous Columns:

It had to happen on The Ides of March and Holy Week

Suggested guidelines for liability- free Internet posts

Election lawyer: PCOS critics should put up or shut up

All Excited by Pope Francis

A great disservice to P-Noy

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