Friday, May 7, 2010

From Yellow to Green

Manila -- Perhaps for the last time, we at TRAVELIFE Magazine digress from writing about travel and the good life to say our piece on politics before an extremely polarized nation goes to vote on Monday.

For most of our adult life, we've been unabashedly yellow. In fact, we were yellow long before it became fashionable - and certainly at a time when it was very dangerous to be so. And throughout the years, we've worked for the yellow camp and the good and honest Corazon Aquino, and had many opportunities to interact up close and personal with her.

We risked arrest and organized Cory's Crusaders at the Ateneo, distributing leaflets and marching in the streets when many of our classmates were safely at home. Later on, we worked for Corazon Aquino in various capacities. In one of these capacities, we were privileged to accompany her several times on her visits to Japan. I still remember one particular trip, when we made up a party of four -- President Aquino, her daughter, another person and myself -- and visited the city of Kobe. In the evenings, we sat around the living room of President Aquino's suite; and I never forgot the radiance and aura that surrounded her, even then amongst people she knew in the privacy of her living room. As a person, she was truly a special lady.

From Yellow to Green

But this time we're unabashedly green because this good lady who was the reason we were yellow has passed away, and she is not the one running for election. And I believe that anyone else running under the Aquino name should be taken entirely on their own merits -- especially right now, when the country is in such dire need of good and strong leadership.

In choosing our candidate, we took a long and hard look at each of the serious contenders. The job of running a poor, fractious and corrupt country like the Philippines is a tough one that requires vision, talent, management skills, integrity, vigor, stamina and an honest-to-goodness good heart. Most of the candidates had some or the other, but only one really had most of these qualities -- at least in our opinion.

Out of all the major candidates running for election, Gilbert Teodoro is the one candidate we had no connections to and the one we knew least about -- yet he impressed us the most, and this is why we're casting our vote with him. Through the campaign season, we had opportunities to meet him and each time we found a good, smart, honest, principled and sincere man who we thought could and should be president. When he spoke, he had a realistic vision and a no-nonsense approach when proposing solutions. I also liked that he had worked hard all his life in spite of being the son of a privileged family.

"GIBO stood out for his brilliance.."

Early last year, way before the elections heated up, I was at a farewell dinner at the Mandarin Oriental for the head of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation of Germany. Gilbert Teodoro was the guest speaker because he knew the foundation head well. At my table was Gilbert's law professor. This was not yet election fever and her attendance at this dinner was completely unrelated to Gibo's presence at the event.

She said to me: "You know, even in law school, Gilbert stood out for his brilliance. But what really impressed me was that he really worked hard and diligently. He belonged to a batch that included several sons and daughters of famous families. Most of them simply went through the paces of school, confident that whether they studied hard or not, a good future in law or politics awaited them. But Gilbert Teodoro was different. He was brilliant, but he was also among the hardest working and diligent students of that batch -- and of the thousands of students who've passed through my classes over the years."

Everywhere, people are for GIBO

Of course, everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion regarding presidential candidates -- although I'm happy to note that almost everywhere I go, so many people are for Gilbert Teodoro. On Thursday, at an Italian restaurant in Makati, four out of five of us were green. And the restaurant servers were green as well. But even in other sectors of society, I found Gilbert Teodoro supporters everywhere. My facialist confirmed that everyone in their salon was for GT, and just yesterday at a spa, my therapist whispered the same. They liked how he spoke and what he said, these service personnel told me; he sounded smart, sensible and different.

Although we are for Gilbert Teodoro, we certainly respect other people's choice of candidates. However, it baffles us constantly, when we meet friends and acquaintances and they say they're supporting a candidate because "my brother knows him," or "my uncle worked for his mom," or "we went to the same school," etc. The funniest one I've found so far is: "Because my husband knows his cousin-in-law." It's as if we're voting for a school alumni association president rather than the president of a country.

This is about the fate of 90+ million Filipinos

Voting for a president isn't about choosing the candidate we know or went to school with, or the one most likely to give someone in the family a job. This is about the fate of 90+ million Filipinos and not just a few hundred families, so the candidate the nation elects had better be up to the job. Winning the elections -- especially with massive propaganda machines and the support of major media establishments -- is the easiest part of the process. The hard part is running the country afterwards. I cannot stress enough how damaging six more long years under a mediocre president will be. It may be good for a few hundred families and a couple of media, but it will be devastating for the rest of the country. And each time I think of this possibility, I really feel sorry for this country and its people, who could really and finally use a break from the cycle of poverty, mismanagement and corruption.

As for us voters, it's easy to wear the baller of your candidate, or to post his sticker on your car or his photo on Facebook. But when you're actually in that polling booth and ready to choose, please remember that your choice will have serious repercussions for your country.

1) Does your candidate personally have an ambitious and yet realistic vision for the country? (The vision created by his PR machine and by some smart ad agencies doesn't count.)

2) Can your candidate manage people?

3) Can your candidate wisely manage resources?

4) Do you believe your candidate will work hard for the good of the country? Has he done so credibly in the past?

5) Does he have proven leadership skills?

6) Can he intelligently represent the country and its interests in the international arena?

7) Can he truly run the country?

From all of us at Travelife Magazine, the Philippines' leading travel & lifestyle publication, good luck with your choice and -- for the sake of our poor beloved country and its many suffering people, most of whom live in poverty and have no access to the Internet -- may the best, most qualified man win.




  1. Hi! I hope its okay, I've shared your post on my FB wall.

    And I even wrote this -

    I love our country! Be an enlightened and a discriminating voter! Our next president will be the face of each Filipino wherever he is especially in the international arena.Vote for someone who is God fearing, truly competent and credible, who espouses the value of hard work and maintains his integrity at all times. The same values we want to instill to our kids and to every Filipino youth so that he can proudly say he is a FILIPINO, at par with the best in the world.

    Thanks for your sharing your thoughts.

    Sulong GIBO! Sulong Pilipinas! God bless!

  2. Thanks for your kind comments and thank you for posting this on your wall. We so appreciate it!

  3. This is great! SULONG GIBO! :D

  4. will also share this....


  5. GIBO, is the next best president of our country. indeed!

  6. I am impressed by the great achievements of former General Electric CEO Jack Welch Jr. One time, when he and Coca-Cola CEO Roberto Goizueta was interviewed about succession, Jack said that he is looking for someone who have "the INTELLIGENCE, the ENERGY, and the INTEGRITY" to run GE after he left the helm. But he continued to say: "But if a candidate does not have the INTEGRITY, the first two will 'kill' you (or the company)."

    I've been looking at the life of Gibo, and I could see that he is intelligent and the energy too that will be needed in the presidency. But I have serious doubts in his integrity because of the many actions and decisions he made in the past.

    First, while still a Congressman, he assailed the integrity of the Supreme Court when he falsely accused then Chief Justice Hilario Davide of graft and corruption by filing a Complaint for Impeachment, despite the fact that COA itself confirmed that there was "no material misstatement" in the high court's finances. Davide and his son had to suffer attacks through the media because of that. Considering that Davide was holding that time a case on someone influential to him, that action was very suspicious indeed. From that action, I seriously doubt his integrity and uprightness.

    Second, it is obvious that the motive of his campaign is a personal ambition to presidency. And that for me is a questionable motive for serving in that office. Because with that motive the primary concern for 'service' is the self and not the people.

    Third, the way he broke up with his uncle and from NPC had been done badly which even motivated the Cojuangco family to not support him. The same situation happened with Chez Escudero when he left NPC but the break was handled well and with dignity. That's another question I need to make in Gibo's integrity.

    I am for intelligent and energetic leaders. But I feel it is dangerous to choose a man whose integrity have been seen and observed with so much question. We don't need more people who are very intelligent but end up enriching themselves in power. Power is corrupting, and it requires a strong and unassailable integrity to survive its enticements.

    But I can only assume that you know about these points that I mentioned above. I can only say that it would "good luck" to us if he ever wins.

  7. @Zosimo:
    I am not aware of the first point you raised, and can only ask where you've heard of it. ABS-CBN has never raised that "issue", and they are well-known for being anti-Gibo.

    As for your second point, how is it obvious that Gibo is only running for personal motives? What made you believe that? Any proof? Because as far as I see, Gibo is the one NOT running for personal gain. Would he actually run a PLATFORM-BASED campaign AND stick to it, if he only wanted to enrich himself? NO. He'd be doing all the mudslinging and black propaganda, because that's the easiest way to win the presidency.

    Thirdly, the rift between Gibo and Danding Cojuangco was a family matter. If it was messy, it was because the reason for the rift was never aired out in public, because Gibo is not the kind of man who would willingly air out dirty laundry in public. Unfortunately, the same could not be said for the Cojuangco family. And frankly, their lack of support for Gibo is not a loss, really, considering how Danding was one of those who plundered the country as one of Cory's "Kamag-anak Inc."

    Gibo's integrity is shown in the way he holds fast to his principles. At the beginning of the campaign, he has said that he will NOT engage in mudslinging. It's now the end of the campaign period, and as you can see, he has NEVER WAVERED from that promise. You can imagine how hard it must be to stand firm on your principles when your survey ratings are flagging. But Gibo has stood firm on his convictions. THAT is INTEGRITY.

    I hope you'll consider what I wrote, and I hope you will vote for him tomorrow. I can only say that it would be "Good luck" to us if he DOESN'T win. He is the best man for the job, no biases.

  8. Gibo is ok, I guess.. but I don't want to risk the possibility of another Gloria-like administration. Sayang nga eh, ok sana yung galing at talino niya, too bad he's tolerating our infamous president's questionable acts. From what I see, he never questioned or gave a statement regarding all the scandalous issues (like charter change and all the scams)the present administration has been in. I used to like yellow, then considered green..but now I'm YELLOW-GREEN!!! No more traditional politics!!!

  9. Thank you for sharing this article. It is indeed overwhelming to know that a prestigious magazine...TRAVEL MAGAZINE...has proudly admitted/shown to the world their conversion form YELLOW to GREEN. This would serve as an inspiration to all the Filipino people to think hard enough to be able to choose the right leader for our country. And this is no other than G1BO Teodoro...a dignified man. KUDOS!!!

  10. Thank you, everyone. Gilbert Teodoro fought nobly and well. It is unfortunate that he was ahead of his time. But thankfully, the elections took place in a peaceful manner.

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