Who wants to resurrect COPA?
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2011-02-06
Not content with the rebuke his January 31 morning interview with Retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz had received, as expressed in our February 3 column (“The desperate moves of P-Noy’s adversaries) ABS-CBN’s Anthony Taberna said a mouthful last Thursday on his 5:30-6:30 p.m. program on DZMM-TeleRadyo.

A good friend was able to tape and furnish me the latter part of Taberna’s rant. The other things that he uttered friends who chanced to be listening narrated to me.

From the taped portion, Taberna was asking why I was such a crusading writer during the term of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) and why I have allegedly ceased to be such a crusading writer now in the term of President Noynoy Aquino (P-Noy). From the other portions which several friends narrated to me, in gist Taberna was still trying to peddle the story that he and Archbishop Cruz tried to impress on the public mind that COPA (The Council on Philippine Affairs) has ceased to support P-Noy. This time Taberna claimed that COPA Secretary General Pastor “Boy” Saycon had intimated to him in “off the record” discussions how disappointed he had become with P-Noy.

Saycon vehemently denied Taberna’s claims and we have no reason to doubt Saycon and every reason to question the motives of Taberna. You see, Saycon believes that Taberna is working for somebody who wants to get back at the COPA Sec. Gen for his role in promoting NoyBi during the May 2010 Elections. This was reported to Saycon by an ABS-CBN insider who doesn’t agree with many of Taberna’s operations. Taberna is the last person Saycon will share an “off the record” sentiment, if ever. The mere fact that Taberna has resorted to peddling his “COPA withdrawal of support from P-Noy” with alleged “off the record” conversations demonstrates the kind of journalist that he is.  

During the January 31 Taberna interview with Archbishop Cruz, it was Cruz who raised the point that COPA was about to lead three groups that will remove P-Noy. A reliable intelligence report which was shared with me pointed to groups associated with GMA as the three groups Archbishop Cruz had mentioned. COPA complicity is totally unbelievable because there is no way COPA will ever link up with the GMA group, most of all Saycon who has been harassed, sued and vilified by the GMA regime.

Even if we assume for the sake of argument that Taberna did have a conversation with Saycon — that cannot suffice as basis for saying that COPA is disappointed with P-Noy or poised to move against P-Noy. If Senator Miriam Santiago goes on her occasional rant and declares that she will again stir a mob, the way she did in 2001, to assault P-Noy’s Malacañang, is Taberna going to report that the entire Senate is going to stir a mob against P-Noy?

Saycon may be a spokesman for COPA but he cannot speak for all of us on a matter as serious as this without the Council convening and voting on it. What Taberna and most people do not know — another solid proof that Taberna is peddling fiction — is that COPA has been in hiatus ever since we encountered policy differences in 2003 and I led the majority of COPA members to resign.

Shortly after we had a division of the house, an agreement was reached. Instead of breaking a good group composed of genuine friends, we decided to go on hiatus and since late 2003 the COPA has never convened again. We were all solidly behind P-Noy during the May 2010 Elections but not really as COPA.
We now arrive at asking the big question — who wants to resurrect COPA? After asking who, the next question is — why do they want to resurrect COPA, for what ends? If indeed, as Archbishop Cruz asserted, the three groups that will remove P-Noy is just waiting for COPA to move — then they’re, in effect, saying that they cannot accomplish anything without us.

In fairness to my friend Gabby Lopez and his network, this COPA business of Taberna did not go unnoticed and was acted upon right after I issued the COPA January 31 clarification which debunked what Archbishop Cruz and Taberna attempted to peddle. A top network official, assured me that the clarification will immediately be sent to their news department.

Some three hours after Taberna went on his rant last Thursday, the same network official sent me this text message: “I actually put your column piece in our Issues of the Day report. It is a document that is given to our excom which includes Gabby (Chairman Gabby Lopez). I have referred your earlier communication about this with Justice (Jose) Vitug, the network ombudsman. I will tell him this latest development so he can discuss with Anthony.”

What made us question the motives of Archbishop Cruz and Taberna is how this was presented in the morning interview last January 31. When the name of COPA was mentioned by Archbishop Cruz — lo and behold a file video of Saycon was immediately seen. That suggested a setup. Later, I was told by Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma that while this interview was going on, he was already being asked for a reaction to the alleged “COPA withdrawal of support” from the administration.

How else are we to see this? This can’t be what is called breaking news. It reeks of what appears to be manufactured news. The question that arises is this — for whom and for what ends.

Clearly, Taberna and I have divergent views of what is a crusading writer. Just because I was a crusading writer against the GMA regime, Taberna wonders why I have ceased to be such now that P-Noy is in Malacañang. It strikes me that Taberna’s idea of a crusading writer is to just keep hitting every president. I will support and encourage a good president and police a bad one.

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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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