by Dr. Prospero E. de Vera
A few days ago I wrote my blog entitled "Heroic Leadership: Gibo and Ondoy" in response to the surprisingly aggressive attack made by LAKAS-KAMPI strategists on my Strictly Politics year-end commentary on the impact of Ondoy and Pepeng on Philippine politics.
The attack was contained in the Manila Standard article written by Christine Herrera which quoted LAKAS-KAMPI spokesman Dominguez as saying that I was part of a "politically-motivated vilification campaign" against Gibo Teodoro (http://www.manilastandardtoday.com/insideNation.htm?f=2010/january/5/nation1.isx&d=/2010/january/5).
Dominguez also challenged me to "be forthright and tell the public that I (he) was in fact working for another presidential candidate."
After posting my blog on Facebook and getting a rather tepid response from some of my friends, I had planned to let the whole thing go. That was until I learned from friends that the mis-interpreted and obviously politically attributed news release has been carried by several websites and posted all over the internet.
The original Manila Standard article was carried by the Teodoro's campaign website (http://www.gibo.ph/updatefull.aspx?key=G0iyBGcAWD//zGviev35NUwT+3gV2cIs56h86xj+8HZ8uLJ5lZgPHA) and featured in www.politicalarena.com (http://ph.politicalarena.com/gilbert-teodoro/news/mudslinging-ushers-in-campaign-period-by-christine-herrera).
It was also carried by Hataw tabloid in a news story titled "Gibo Di Takaw Publicity (Political Analyst Niresbakan)- (http://www.hatawtabloid.com/news/34-catfrontpage/12955-gibo-di-takaw-publicity-political-analyst-niresbakan), and by the Pilipino Star entitled "Cheap Publicity Binira ng Kampo ni Gibo" (http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=538114&publicationSubCategoryId=92).
The Negros Daily Bulletin, a provincial paper also featured it in a story entitled "Political Wannabees Asked: Public Service not Cheap Publicity Stunts"
And Almar Dangilan in a column in Hataw tabloid declared "Gibo Di Mapagsamantala; at RFID Huwag Katakutan" (http://www.hatawtabloid.com/archive/13033-gibo-di-mapagsamantala-at-rfid-huwag-katakutan).
Not surprisingly, LAKAS-KAMPI strategists used the official government portal (www.gov.ph) and the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) to attack my personal views. Here’s their news release entitled "Lakas Dares Presidential Wannabees: Do Public Service, Not Cheap Publicity Stunts"
(http://www.gov.ph/index2.php?option=com_content&do_pdf=1&id=2002598) and (http://pia-misorocccam.blogspot.com/2010/01/pia-dispatch-04-january-2010.html).
The news story added that "de Vera must be talking about his candidate, for a man of his stature we would have expected him to be forthright and tell his viewers that in fact he is working for another presidential candidate. Enough of hypocrisy!!
I am tickled by all the attention. And happy to hear that I am now a "man of stature" who is expected to be "forthright" and tell my viewers that I am working for another presidential candidate.
There are just two problems. First, many of the things mentioned in the article are politically attributed to me. I did not say many of those statements in the television program. I strongly suggest that the LAKAS-KAMPI strategists view the show again and please ascribe to me only those statements that I actually made.
The second problem is that my critics are completely missing the point!!
I am not anti-Gibo. I've always held Gibo Teodoro in high regard as a person. We were panelists in a forum organized by Action for Economic Reforms (AER) about a year ago discussing the post-GMA administration political and economic blueprint and I found him to be a very intelligent and articulate speaker who came well prepared for his presentation. I have also publicly declared that his stock was rising because of his performance in the debates.
Don't attack the messenger, address the message!!
This is about very poor government response during Ondoy and Pepeng. This is about heroic leadership in times of crisis. Let's debate on these issues. And while we’re at it, let's include government accountability for the Maguindanao massacre. Let's talk about accountability for arming civilian volunteers and putting them under the control of recognized local warlords. And let's debate on the whole government policy in Mindanao.
These are the discussions that should be hitting the web, newspapers and tabloids. These are the issues that the people should be reading about.
Unless we start focusing on these important issues, then I cannot help but agree with the comments from friends that Gibo’s strategists are just riding on my airwaves.
A good friend MC Canlas from San Francisco wrote the following about my blog "Heroic Leadership: Gibo and Ondoy". "Gibo is not in the news to propel his rating. To attack you by his strategists is one way of getting in the news. Namumulot ng barya sila. Sori sila, di lang anino ni GMA ang dala nila, multo pa ng masamang administrasyon sa kasaysayan ng bansa"