Limbo

Buencamino is a fellow of Action for Economic Reforms. This was published in the December 16, 2009 edition of the Business Mirror, page A6.

It’s like going from nowhere to nowhere. – Robert Zimmerman
I tried to sell Gilberto Teodoro to my daughter.

“I am impressed by Gibo Teodoro’s quick and decisive reaction to the Maguindanao massacre. He displayed courageous leadership,” I said.

“Why, what did he do?”

“Plenty. He visited Vice-Mayor Ismael Mangundadato right after the massacre, went with him when he filed his certificate of candidacy for governor, and appointed him new provincial chairman of Lakas-Kampi after the Ampatuans were expelled.”

“You’re impressed that a presidential candidate took sides in a power struggle between warlords?”

“Why, what did the other candidates do?” I challenged her.

“The other candidates immediately called for justice for the victims and the immediate arrest of suspects. Isn’t that better than taking sides in a clan war?”

“But isn’t it admirable that Gibo expelled the Ampatuans from Lakas-Kampi?” I asked.

“That was just a facial!”

“What!!!”

I was outraged by her cynicism. I decided to set the record straight.

“Lakas-Kampi said the expulsion of the Ampatuans was part of the coalition party’s cleansing process,” I said.

“Ayun, eh di facial nga!” she exclaimed.

“He expelled the Ampatuans but kept Gloria Arroyo, her children, and in-laws as party members of good standing along with other well-known crooks, warlords, and human rights violators. They are not included in the cleansing process, why?” she asked.

“Don’t draw conclusions too quickly, maybe he will expel them all.”

“And who’s going to be left in the coalition if he does that?” She laughed.

“Ramos said Gibo’s decision to expel the Ampatuans ‘seemed like withdrawal of support’ for Gloria,” I said.

“Gibo, the man who said, “For me now to say I will turn my back and bite the person who gave me a break will be the height of ingratitude,” has gone rogue? C’mon…”

“He did it on his own,” I insisted.

“What was his position on Proclamation 1959?”

“He said he would wait for the justifications and reasons for it,” I replied.

“He was waiting for instructions,” she said.

“That’s not fair.”

“Well, Gloria already lifted martial law and he still has not told the country whether he was for or against it.”

“He has a mind of his own,” I repeated.

“Huh? What is his platform?”

I shrugged.

She recited his platform from memory, “Ang policy ko ay ituloy ang mga programa ng administrasyon at ang pinakamalaking policy ko ay, oras na manalo ako, hihikayatin ko ang Kongreso mag-Charter change tayo – sa Con-con.” (My policy is to continue the administration’s programs and, as soon as I win, my biggest policy will be to ask Congress for charter change through a Constitutional Convention).”

“So are you saying Gibo is Gloria’s stunt double?”

“He said it, I didn’t.”

“I’m sure he meant that he would continue the good programs of Gloria but not her shenanigans,” I explained.
“He’s going to fight corruption and hold crooks accountable?”
“Why not?”
“He is the standard bearer of the party of corruption and impunity, doesn’t that tell you anything?”
“But he’s a nice guy,” I said.
“Yes, he’s a nice guy. Unfortunately, he fell in with a bad crowd,” she lamented.  “He should have resigned from the coalition instead of expelling the Ampatuans.”

“Why?”

“Because expelling the Ampatuans is a ruse if no action is taken against the little girl who created, armed, and coddled them. If he does not leave the party, then he is an accomplice to the machinations to clear Gloria of any responsibility for the Ampatuans…”

“But….”

“I’m not done yet…”

“Sorry, go on.”

“As I was about to say… if he sticks with Gloria, then he validates nine years of impunity, corruption, human rights violations, and the destruction of institutions.”

“That’s harsh,” I said

“No,” she replied. “He has to be clear about Gloria. He’s either with her or against her.”

“But she is not a candidate for president.”

“All the more reason why he has to prove he is not her stunt double.”

“Is there no a middle ground for him?” I asked.

“Sure, there is one. And he’s already there. It’s called Limbo.”

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