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2+2=5

2+2=5

Ronald Roy
Oct 4, 2014

The indefatigable Josefina “Josie” Trinidad-Lichauco has taken wing into the firmament, but it is impossible to rejoice over her reunion with her beloved husband Eddie in the bosom of the Father. It is however our great consolation that she chose Valentine’s Day to tell us not to grieve, but to be glad we have the power of love of country to vanquish the purveyors of electoral infamy in government. That was Josie: friend, consoler and the ubiquitous moving spirit of the Concerned Citizens Movement. Ahh, It is impossible still not to mourn.

Come to think of it, I had always called him Gilby, not Gibo, not until after he launched his candidacy. The name Gibo must then be the “promdi” moniker that was strategically devised to identify with the vote-rich grass roots this young Harvard product, a man with a cosmopolitan flair who is bidding to be the country’s next president. Be that as it may, he exudes the incongruous persona of a black-tie jet-setter astride a carabao at the hustings. It is therefore evident that his one problem is whether the poor folk can see a savior in him. Sadly, he faces other setbacks among which, as underscored in a previous article, was his failure or refusal to duck under a kiss of death blown from Malacañang.
It hurts me to write this piece about presidential aspirant Gilberto Cojuangco Teodoro Jr., but the national interest impels me to do so—to borrow a phrase from himself. In answer to queries why he is running for president against the will or without the consent of his uncle, business mogul and king-maker Danding Cojuangco, he curtly said the national interest impelled him to do so—or words to that effect. But what disturbs is his ostensible lack of respect and gratitude for his mother’s brother who has nursed his political career since its start.
Call me a sentimentalist, but it does hurt me to write this piece. Two earlier articles showcased my fraternal feelings for Gibo’s parents Bert and Ditas, as well as a special fondness for the five-year-old boy who twice mystifyingly gave me a winning streak at his dad’s poker table whenever he sat on my lap holding my cards. I seriously doubt though if this same lucky charm will win for him the presidency four decades later.
Behold, Gibo Teodoro’s superior intelligence and eloquence, his disarming charm and spontaneity, his vigor, integrity, and impeccable academic and professional credentials! With these attributes, should he be our President? I still don’t think so. I don’t think so, even if through his veins pass his parents’ chromosomes of unpretentious genius and extraordinary probity. A word about his father, the late Social Security Administrator Gilberto Teodoro Sr.—an incredibly honest boss who commanded the respect of all SSS employees but not their allegiance—is appropriate at this point.
Bert Teodoro was admired but not liked by his subordinates for being too niggardly with respect to work incentives, bonuses and the like. He told me once the SSS funds were not his “to pamper his subordinates with, because every single centavo of our coffers belongs to all the contributing members from the private sector.” He would even dare to turn down Mrs. Imelda Marcos whenever she asked him for donations which he thought were unnecessary. President Marcos himself once publicly cited him for “this remarkable trait”.
But if Bert Teodoro was a scrupulously upright bureaucrat, he was an intractable decision maker who often did not believe in consensus. He would have made a terrible politician but would have been an excellent constitutional official like an eagle-eyed Commissioner on Audit. Albeit meaning well, he was almost always too uncompromising for the comfort of his colleagues in the Social Security Commission. Expectedly, he was disliked by subordinates and peers. Paradoxically, therefore, Bert Teodoro should always be emulated for having gladly paid the price of unpopularity as he pursued the chartered mission of promoting social security as a dynamic system.
Pretty much like his father, Gibo is his own boss: intractable and self-confident. But while Bert’s truculence was his outstanding virtue in the assiduous management of public funds, his son may soon realize that the same bullheadedness does not hold true in the political office that he seeks. For the Presidency, especially in this severely stricken land, is sometimes not the exact science of two plus two being four, but the unpredictable brinkmanship of two plus two equalling five in all those cases where the textbook must yield to the Solomonic sage.
It is not too late for Gibo. A few more years lie ahead for his maturation, or before he realizes that one learns fastest and leads best who heeds the collective wisdom of others. (arnydolor@yahoo.com; Tel # 7106701, Cel # 09186449517)

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