Buencamino writes political commentary for Action for Economic Reforms. This article was published in Business Mirror July 4, 2007 edition, p. A6.
Gilbert Teodoro’s appointment to the Department of National Defense is a very astute political move. His connection to Danding Cojuangco aside, Teodoro has the right qualities for the job. Give him a free hand, don’t allow the usual suspects to undermine him, and you just might extricate yourself from the human rights mess your national security advisers put you in.
Allow Teodoro—no, encourage him—to “sample” some members of the military brass. Don’t worry about alienating those who stepped outside the law to serve you loyally; the decent elements within the AFP, the international community, and especially the Americans,will applaud and support a genuine cleansing of the AFP and your change of heart. I don’t need to remind you that your welfare is the only thing that really matters.
You’ve been on this legacy binge lately—proclaiming to everyone everywhere that the next three years are yours and the time for political payback is over.
Do you really want the public to believe you?
Well, the only way to “move forward” and to make people forget about “fighting battles of the past” is by removing all mementos of lying, cheating, stealing, and extra-judicial killings. You know who those reminders are; replace them all with new faces.
There are many qualified replacements—people like Gilbert Teodoro who are qualified and, at the same time, safe, as far as holding you accountable for your misdeeds is concerned and yet passable enough because they were not seen defending you in the political battles of the last six years.
Besides, you have the means to escape accountability. The Lower House, local government officials, a cooperative Ombudsgirl, and charter change advocates are all at your disposal. Your only problem is the Senate. But you can co-opt that institution by cooperating in human rights investigations as soon as Congress convenes.
A Senate probe of extra-judicial killings and disappearances, unhindered by EO 464 clones, and producing real results, will not only be met by universal approval and acclaim, it will also distract the public from the election cheating and multi-billion peso graft and corruption cases that have become hallmarks of your reign.
You must now take the chairman-of-the-board stance—set goals and leave the hard work to your new team—because, at the end of the day, you want to be able to tell the public:
“Yes, I did everything you accuse me of doing, but I turned the economy around and now you live in an enchanted kingdom. Do you still want to throw me in jail, or will you allow me a quiet retirement?”
That moral dilemma, the choice between material comfort and spiritual nourishment, is, sadly, the only legacy you can leave to the nation. But look at the bright side; you don’t have a soul to worry about and you can use mankind’s weakness for material well-being as your “get out of jail” card.
Your loyal minion,