POSTSCRIPT / September 6, 2009 / Sunday

By FEDERICO D. PASCUAL JR.

Philippine STAR Columnist

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Sure losers back out using Noynoy excuse

SAVING FACE: Some of the pretenders to the presidency who actually never had a chance saw a face-saving excuse to quit the race by aping the withdrawal of Sen. Mar Roxas in favor of Sen. Noynoy Aquino.

Whatever reason they gave for their withdrawal, that was a welcome development as the clutter on the race track was adding to the confusion.

Among those who had reportedly backed out were Pampanga Gov. Ed Panlilio and Makati Mayor Jojo Binay.

Another lackluster aspirant is Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro, who wants to do a Magsaysay, but cannot conjure up a dramatic moment to propel him to the lead. If he backs out, that would be goodbye to his wife’s dream of becoming First Lady.

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QUANDARY: Megastar Sharon Cuneta’s husband Sen. Kiko Pangilinan said he was also backing out as a vice presidential wannabe (he did not angle for the presidency), if that would help unite the opposition. Sayang, Kiko would have been good material.

Another aspirant, chairman Efraim Genuino of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. is reportedly in a quandary. If he runs he might lose potential millions he could still earn between his forced resignation and June 2010 when a new boss takes over the Pagcor goldmine.

Genuino could still lower his sight to mayor of Makati, where Pagcor has poured tons of money already. I want to see Binay blocking Genuino’s entry into his turf, but the mayor’s plans are as dark as, huh, his bank accounts.

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NO ONE-MAN SHOW: It was not surprising that when priest-turned-politico Panlilio dropped all presidential pretense and quit, there was an audible sigh of relief in the Church — I suppose also in heaven.

Really now, how can Panlilio expect to finance a presidential campaign costing billions when he himself said he did not have the petty cash to buymerienda for his people attending to the recount of ballots in some contested precincts in Pampanga?

Anybody dreaming of becoming president has to have show money of one billion pesos at the starting gate and at least another two billion as the race progresses.

How can Panlilio, bound by a vow of poverty, match his high-flying rivals? He might be deemed a nuisance candidate if he cannot show a nationwide organization down to the barangays and field a ticket that includes a vice president, 12 senators, hundreds of congressmen, and a multitude of governors and mayors.

Managing a nation of some 90 million open mouths is not a one-man show or an on-the-job training. Even with his vaunted provincial administrator Vivian Dabu beside him, how can Panlilio run the entire country when he cannot even straighten out Pampanga?

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PARTY INTRAMS: If Vice President Noli de Castro wants to run for president as the Anointed One of Malacanang, he better start scrambling. But first, he has to join the administration coalition, shaky as it is.

His main rival Teodoro has just been endorsed by a delegation of governors who gravitate around President Arroyo. He should be disturbed by reports that the defense boss’s endorsement was welcomed by a host of Palace and party biggies.

Teodoro’s inroads should also unsettle Chairman Bayani Fernando of the Metro Manila Development Authority who has been a loyal party member and consistently showing administrative skills and political will. Imagine a newcomer dislodging a party stalwart!

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LATTER-DAY GUY: Teodoro is leaving shortly for the United States to meet his opposite number at the Pentagon and other officials having to do with security in the South and such.

What for? Uncle Sam already knows everything about Mindanao (and the rest of the country), so there is hardly anything new Teodoro can input, except probably his two-cent worth of opinion.

What then is the hidden agenda? Like President Arroyo before him, the secretary could have been summoned to receive his marching orders.

Watch it. Washington operators might just be working it out that Teodoro emerges as a latter-day Magsaysay and recruit him as another American runner.

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SAMARITANS: Today, some 100,000 doctors, dentists, nurses, pharmacists, other health and medical workers and concerned Filipinos leave the comforts of their home to perform a massive act of charity.

These Good Samaritans will join the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office in providing medical and dental services to more than two million Filipinos in a single day.

Dubbed as the “100 Percent in One Day” project, the PCSO’s nationwide medical, dental and info-based mission aims to cover the country’s 41,995 barangays.

“This is a first-of-its-kind project in the country providing fast access to medical and charity care to poor Filipinos in one day,” said PCSO General Manager and Vice Chair Rosario Uriarte.

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PCSO DAY: Today’s activities, coinciding with PCSO’s 75th anniversary, will set up more than 2,000 missions in 25,197 barangays in Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao, representing 60 percent of all barangays.

A medical mission site is manned by four doctors, two dentists, four nurses and two pharmacists. They are assisted by 30 to 40 volunteers attending to physical setup and security.

Minor surgeries such as the removal of lumps, dental services, eye examinations, bone scan and ear check monitor will be available in some government hospitals and rural clinics.

Medicines to be distributed free to patients include amoxicillin drops, capsules and suspension, metropolol tablets, mefenamic acid, paracetamol drops and tablets; and ascorbic drops, tablets and syrups.

In Metro Manila, more than 150,000 beneficiaries are expected to avail themselves of free medical and dental services.

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(First published in the Philippine STAR of September 6, 2009)

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