Carlito T. Anonuevo, Manuel Buencamino, Sylvia Estrada-Claudio, Fides Lim, Nepomuceno Malaluan, and Filomeno S. Sta. Ana III

The intelligentsia is agitated. We dread the scenario of the ascendancy of Fernando Poe, Jr. or FPJ. The commentators among us have written sophisticated pieces that appeal to an already convinced middle class
to reject FPJ. But there is something missing in the analysis.

Take the paper of Joel Rocamora titled “The FPJ Bomb in a Populist Lamp,” which was widely circulated through the internet and which was published by the Inquirer (22 February 2004) in a recycled version (“Can FPJ translate reel into real?” ). The gist of Rocamora’s paper is that we must ensure the defeat of FPJ and we should pounce on every weakness of FPJ.

However, Rocamora’s article is of note not just for what he states, but more so for what he leaves unsaid. We need to fill in the blanks of his analysis so that we may have a more balanced discussion of the issues, something that is so sorely lacking in the run-up to the May elections.

We are writing this at a time when the surveys and some political analysts are predicting a one-on-one fight between FPJ and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA). Having known Rocamora for his political savvy, we hope that the implied endorsement of GMA in his article is not lost on him. Whatever his partisan leanings may be, we thought that we would clear up ethical grounds by stating that none of us support either candidacy. In fact we have no unity about whom we will vote for or even whether we will vote for any presidential candidate. So let us look at the “GMA side” of the FPJ-GMA battle.

If Rocamora is alarmed that FPJ’s victory would result in national disaster and destabilization, we are appalled by the damage that GMA is inflicting on our institutions. The former is a possibility, but the latter is already happening. Take for example, GMA’s partisan appointments to the COMELEC and her deployment of the Carpio-Villaraza group in sensitive public offices, the re-enactment of the 2003 budget to augment the discretionary funds for electioneering, the mobilization of public officials (Manapat and Corpus) for political demolition, and the use of the whole state apparatus for her campaign. These brazen actions undermine democratic institutions and hence are as pernicious as Gringo’s aborted putsch.

Whereas Rocamora points out that the FPJ party is made up of Marcos-Erap forces, we would like to remind everyone that GMA has likewise accommodated Marcos-Erap-Danding interests. And may we add how she has embraced Jose Pidal, as well as Nani Perez. She likewise stabbed party comrade Lozada just to accommodate the other Jose Pidal in the same manner that she stabbed kabalen Canlas to please another Jose.

While Rocamora fears the destabilization arising from an FPJ victory, we should equally fear GMA’s squid tactics that are a cause of destabilization.

He wrote: “FPJ has to be ‘defeated’ before the May elections.” And so he states: “The non-issue of FPJ’s out-of-wedlock son, and reportedly two other daughters might be more damaging than his not knowing how the peso loses its value.” Oh, this is as immaculate as what the Forniers are insinuating—that FPJ’s mom was a pakawala and FPJ’s father was a pindeho. We agree that these issues are not to be taken lightly. But so far, none of the commentaries about this matter have gone beyond the usual moralistic condemnation on the one hand, or the equally disgusting condonation of male privilege on the other.

As for the truly important issues of sexuality and reproductive rights
that are the more appropriate policy concerns touched on by this alleged “non-issue”, GMA’s health policies are just as bent on impregnating as many women as possible as FPJ’s libido. Perhaps FPJ in this sense may be a little better. He may yet agree that women may choose artificial contraception as long as they are not his lovers. Professed sinner that he is, we doubt that he would come to the presidency proclaiming that he is a “good son of the Church” ala GMA, and then proceed to rule over a soft theocracy where laws, policies and programs on certain issues (divorce, reproductive health and sexual health, for example) are tailored according to the precepts of only one
religious denomination and tradition. Talk about hypocrisy! GMA brags about a strong state then she weakens its very core by her inability to
uphold the separation of church and state.

Rocamora urges us to “work together to prevent the looming disaster of an FPJ presidency.” He is obviously trying to scare his readers into voting for someone else, yet he does not tell his readers who that someone else should be. He must tell his readers who should be left standing in the wreckage of FPJ’s candidacy. He need not be ashamed of publicly endorsing his choice.

In the interest of fair play we believe Rocamora should have stated for us whether he is in truth endorsing GMA, which is the end result of his article. That disclosure would have made the article infinitely more valuable because it empowers those who read it to contextualize Rocamora’s claims with greater objectivity.

For reformers, an anti-FPJ vote should not translate into a vote for GMA. FPJ’s friend is Jose Velarde; GMA’s lover is Jose Pidal…and she is very willing to be the friend of Jose Velarde if it would boost her candidacy. FPJ has Jinggoy and Dingaling; GMA has Sonny O and Miriam. FPJ and GMA are Tweedledum and Tweedledee.