Death mask makeover

Buencamino is a fellow of Action for Economic Reforms.This was published in the January 13, 2010 edition of the Business Mirror, page A6.

I don’t know what’s happening to me. I’m not alive. I’m not dead. I’m just…I’m just so lonely.- Julie, Return of the Living Dead 3 (1993)

When a Lakas-Kampi bigwig compared Gloria Arroyo’s anointed successor to President Quezon, the first question that popped in my mind was, “Why compare him to Quezon, why not to Gloria’s father, Diosdado?”

I posed that question to Manuel L. Quezon III, newspaper columnist, TV host, and grandson of the late president. His reply was a satirical essay on why and how Quezon was chosen over Rizal, Magsaysay, and Macapagal. (His essay – “Makeover”- is archived in his blog www. quezon.ph)

I don’t understand the logic behind Gibo Teodoro’s makeover into Quezon.  The only similarity between them is Quezon is dead and Teodoro’s candidacy is also dead.

Although it’s true the heroes who were considered as templates for Gibo are dead, it  can be argued that they are dead only in a physical sense.

Rizal, Quezon, and Magsaysay continue to live in the hearts of the Filipino people while Diosdado Macapagal continues to live in the heart of his daughter.  Thus, it makes more sense to compare Gibo to Diosdado; it’s closer to Gloria’s heart.

Besides, Quezon hated thieves. He would never have been a “satandard” bearer for a party of thieves.

Maybe Diosdado Macapagal was not seriously considered because  Gloria’s endorsement is already “a kiss of death” and likening Gibo to her father  would only be seen as another fatal kiss, this time “a kiss from the dead.”  Those endorsements will make  Gibo’s campaign double dead. But I’ve been wrong before.

Strange as it may seem, Lakas-Kampi considers Gibo’s candidacy viable. The party must have been encouraged by surveys showing him ahead of four other candidates by a comfortable margin.

I guess the party is banking on money, muscle, and machinery to add at least 40 percent to Gibo’s current five percent rating between now and May. Besides, who can predict the future, what if, God forbid, Gloria suddenly passes away or, God willing, she admits to her crimes and volunteers to go to prison? Fate could be the game changer Gibo is looking for. But I could be wrong again.

Gibo might deserve a second glance if he were not the “satandard” bearer of the Bonnie and Clyde Arroyo Gang. Unfortunately, he is. And that makes it impossible to assess him purely on his own merits.
That’s why when Executive secretary Ermita told the press, “Hopefully, the accomplishments of this administration will rub off on Secretary Gibo Teodoro,” I saw Gloria’s many accomplishments – private armies, human rights violations, dozens of graft-laden deals – rubbing off on Gibo.

That’s why when Ermita said, “In other words, Gibo Teodoro’s explanations overshadow the perception that the elections is just about popularity,” I flashed back to the 2004 presidential election when electoral fraud overshadowed popularity.

And when Ermita kept on attacking popularity and introduced intelligence into the equation – “We had an experience, if it’s just popularity, something wrong would happen. But if we had a leader who really has brains, the country would be managed well” – I remembered Rep. Mikey Arroyo saying that his mother was “ten million times more intelligent” than he was.

Mikey’s remark made me wonder, how much brains does anyone need to become ten million times smarter than Mikey?

And that’s when I saw that Ermita, like Mikey, mistakes the absence of scruples for intelligence. But I digress.

Going back to why I wrote this article, “Why compare Gibo Teodoro to Manuel Quezon and not to Gloria’s father, Diosdado?”

Who’s got the answer?

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