Buencamino writes political commentary for Action for Economic Reforms.  This article was published in Business Mirror May 2, 2007 edition, p. A6.

Dear Satur,

It’s not easy for me to tell you, “I think you made a mistake,” because I could be the one who’s wrong, not you. Nevertheless, what are friends for if they are going to be shy with each other?

Last week, I was with our mutual friend, Men Sta. Ana of Action for Economic Reforms. We were discussing the blacklist of the Black and White (BW) Movement and we were a bit disappointed that BW did not trash the entire TUTA senatorial slate.

At first, we were tempted to criticize BW for their timidity. We even thought of suggesting they change their name to “Gray Movement.” But BW are our friends, and friends help friends, so I took it upon myself to do what they were unwilling or unable to do; I made a senatorial candidates blacklist based on the criteria they used for candidates in local and party-list races.

I assumed you were going to blacklist TUTA.  And then Men told me one of your colleagues mentioned you were debating whether or not to endorse Joker Arroyo, a man who has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with you for 30 years, and Ralph Recto, a man who stood on  his wife’s shoulders to get your endorsement.

Men and I couldn’t believe you seriously debated the matter of endorsing those two TUTA candidates. As Men said, before beer went shooting out of our noses, “Dine-debate pa ba yun?”

I don’t know who framed your debate— “The candidates’ proven commitment in upholding human rights, especially their consistent denunciations of extrajudicial killings, the political persecution, massive human rights violations and rising fascism of the Arroyo administration; track record in upholding the people’s interest and willingness to work with the party-list groups on key issues and concerns; and capability to take an independent stance vis-à-vis the executive department.” But whoever he was, he certainly knew his business. He took Gloria Arroyo out of the picture and you ended up endorsing members of a team whose captain declared she would not stop until she destroyed all of you.

Frankly, I don’t understand why you didn’t see the contradiction between Joker and Ralph’s “proven commitment in upholding human rights” and their desire to see Gloria Arroyo through to 2010. There are some things you just can’t do and not do at the same time, like Clinton’s famous line about smoking marijuana, “I smoked but I didn’t inhale.”

I hope you will not echo the excuse that one of your sympathizers in an e-mail group used, “a vote for Joker and Ralph does not mean we are for GMA,” because that would be splitting hairs. That’s what politicians do.  They blur the difference between right and wrong, between black and white, so that people will get lost in a gray fog not knowing which is which, what is what, and where is where.

Satur, saying, “A vote for Joker and Ralph does not mean we are for GMA,” is like saying, “I don’t like M&Ms except for the orange ones.”

Your friend,