POSTSCRIPT / June 29, 2010 / Tuesday

By FEDERICO D. PASCUAL JR.

Philippine STAR Columnist

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Keep Pagcor running, but kick out Genuino

NO CLASS: As one who breathes protocol, Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo should not have announced right after emerging from a weekend meeting with incoming President Noynoy Aquino that he would be retained in the Cabinet.

The country’s top diplomat, a nephew of the great Carlos P. Romulo, should have left it to the new President to make the announcement. Instead, he himself broke the news after meeting with Noynoy in his residence on Times St. in Quezon City.

Romulo told the press staking out Times St.: “I have accepted and I am honored by his trust.” He went on to say that he and the Aquinos have been long-time friends, blah-blah.

Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral, who is also likely to be retained, displayed more class when she said after a similar meeting that she would leave any announcement to Aquino.

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NO HONEYMOON: Many friends have asked if I think Noynoy will be allowed by the media the usual 100-day honeymoon.

By all indications, it seems the answer is No. The rabid Yellow squad in media will continue to heap him praise and encouragement beyond the three-month adjustment period.

But there are media elements who were never impressed with Noynoy. We expect them to continue firing at will, nitpicking and magnifying every little misstep of the new tenant of Malacanang.

These non-believers will continue their tirades also because – this is important –they are still smarting from the insults added to the injury inflicted on them during the campaign.

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BITTERNESS: This is precisely the danger that we have warned against — protagonists’ waging a relentless campaign of hate and vengeance.

Having inflicted deep wounds without giving the other fellow a chance to salvage his honor, how do we now reach out to him and others similarly situated?

From Noynoy’s own pronouncements, it seems there is no intention of easing the tension and the bitterness.

It is unfortunate that Noynoy gives the impression that he does not mind being president only of the 15 million who voted for him and never mind the 30 million others who did not.

Even the sage advice of such elder statesmen as former President Fidel V. Ramos for Noynoy to reach out, heal the wounds and unite the nation seems to have fallen on deaf ears.

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SPOILS OF WAR: I would like to believe that Noynoy himself realizes the need for a communal coming together after the bruising elections, but it seems that there are many holdouts in his camp who do not want that.

Many partisans who had placed their bet on Noynoy want a “winner take all” division of the spoils of war. Their selfish question is why they should share victory with those who had fought them.

They refuse to accept that in a democratic process, there is necessarily a procedural division of the house, after which the majority rules and everybody puts aside the temporary division.

In this healing process and the uniting of the warring factions, the President’s words and actions are very important signals. There should be no hint whatsoever that Noynoy wants to be president only of a minority segment.

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GENIUS AT WORK: The errand boys of PAGCOR Chairman Efraim Genuino refuse to give up. They are still at it – pushing a media campaign to picture their boss as a talented money-maker who should be retained by President Aquino.

One line being reeled out is that the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. is overflowing with money – a net of P17 billion a year — that could be used for development projects of the incoming administration.

The subliminal message is that it was Genuino who raised all that money and that if Noynoy is wise, he should retain him. In parenthesis is that Noynoy will be able to make easy unaudited millions by just keeping the genius in charge.

If I were Noynoy I would respond to this expensive media campaign by ordering the in-depth auditing of Pagcor and a lifestyle check on Genuino and his boys.

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FREE SHOW: For minor starters, Noynoy should send an incorruptible team to investigate the Wanders/Flow musical stage show at the airport casino that holds two or three presentations a week with tickets priced in the thousands of pesos.

One point to check is the ownership and the profit-sharing. Although ostensibly privately owned, the outfit’s mega-income is assured since tickets are forcibly sold via casino outlets.

During the last two elections, casinos reportedly bought the expensive tickets and gave them away for free as part of the campaign of members of the Genuino family who ran in Makati and Los Banos.

Related to this, the reported feasting of campaign workers and ward leaders – and even of Comelec functionaries — in casino hotels should be investigated.

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FACE TULFO: Days ago, a burly man attacked columnist Mon Tulfo’s teenaged daughter in the elevator of a Makati condominium, choked her and warned before she passed out: “Papatayin ko tatay mo!” (I’ll kill your dad!).

Having been his editor once, I know that Mon can take what he dishes out. It was cowardly for anybody to have sent a goon to inflict violence on a family member in retaliation for what he has written.

It was the first time anybody that he had written about vented his anger, not on him, but upon an innocent member of his family. He dared anybody who has a grudge against him to just face him like a man.

We his brothers in trade do not take this as an isolated personal affront. It is challenge to all of us.

Public persons who find themselves the subject of critical comments in media should just answer the criticism. They expose the indefensibility of their position when they respond not with reason but with violence and evasive tactics.

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(First published in the Philippine STAR of June 29, 2010)

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