Sunday, April 18, 2010

A Very Dangerous "Maverick"

Dr. Prospero E. de Vera

On April 14, 2010 Senator Noynoy Aquino proudly proclaimed during a press conference in Cebu that by “Next week, you will all be in shock and awe...One of the stalwarts of the current administration is joining our campaign”.

The media frenzy that followed raised suspicious questions:

Was it going to be Fidel V. Ramos who had earlier sent Alaminos City Mayor Nani Branganza and Pangasinan Governor Victor Agbayani to join Noynoy's camp?

Was it going to be Vice President Noli de Castro who has opted to stay politically-unattached and continuous to enjoy support from the poor?

Was it going to be Finance Secretary Gary Teves who remains one of the few decent men in the Arroyo administration?

And then the announcement came a few days later- its Joey Salceda!

Am I shocked? Am I awed?

Yes I am!!

I am shocked because this is the same Joey Salceda who called President Arroyo a “lucky bitch” during an Ateneo Graduate School forum in 2008 and got away with it because GMA obviously really loved him.

This is the same Joey Salceda who received his share of the JocJoc Bolante fertilizer fund in 2004 while his next district neighbor (and still a GMA loyalist) Rep. Edcel Lagman didn't get any because it was believed that he was not very helpful in the 2004 campaign.

This is the same Joey Salceda who cornered big-ticket projects from the GMA administration such as:

* Construction of the P3.4-billion Daraga International Airport
* P776 million public infrastructure funding
* Installation of the P560-million worth Doppler radar
* P977.3 million for the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, which assists
70,000 poor families in the province
* P1.25 billion worth of assistance after Typhoon Reming.

And this is the same Joey Salceda who just a few days earlier herded more than 30 administration governors belonging to the National Caucus of Governors, praised Gibo to high heavens, and engineered the signing of a manifesto to “work hard for overwhelming electoral majorities” for Teodoro.

And how does the Aquino camp explain Salceda's decision to jump to their side?

“I think he should be welcomed. He is a very intelligent governor. He’s got the experience of being a legislator. He’s also a governor. I think he should be welcomed in the LP,” said fellow LAKAS to LP political butterfly Ralph Recto.

And at least two of Aquino's senatorial candidates – Rufino Biazon and Risa Hontiveros – welcomed Salceda with open arms into the LP fold because he is a "maverick".

Is Salceda a "maverick"? The last time this was used in political-speak was to justify John McCain's poor choice of Sarah Palin as his vice-presidential candidate.

Everyone is the US was really "shocked and awed" by McCain's unlikely choice of an inexperienced and fact-challenged Alaska Governor who believed that Africa was a country and not a continent, did not know that Mexico, Canada and the US were part of NAFTA, couldn't mention the newspapers she reads, and claimed she had foreign policy expertise because Alaska's was geographically close to Russia.

And what does Joey Salceda think of his switch? He said that he decided to join the LP "because LP officials have allowed me to field my own set of local candidates regardless of political affiliation". And what takes the cake in this whole circus was Salceda's statement that "despite his support for Mr. Aquino, he remains an Arroyo ally" (

And am I "awed"?

I am awed by the audacity of LP leaders to present Joey Salceda as an economic genius without mentioning that he was one of the "economic architects" of the Arroyo administration that has plunged us into the economic and political abyss that we are now in.

I am awed that Salceda could praise Noynoy Aquino and in the same breath say that he supports and remains an Arroyo ally! What happened to "good vs. evil"? And I thought it was Villaroyo and not Aquinoroyo?

Most of all, I am awed by the LP's use of the word "maverick" to describe a political opportunist.

A "maverick" exhibits great independence in thought and action. At least Sarah Palin for all her shortcomings deserves to be called a maverick.

A political opportunist masquerading as a "maverick" is the most dangerous kind. Antique Governor Sally Perez was right when he said - “Noynoy, be careful of Governor Salceda. If he can do it to Gibo, he can do it to you”.

To this I add, Noynoy be careful of what you wish for, this "maverick" may turn out to be your worst nightmare.

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