At last, Gibo speaks
DUCKY PAREDES

‘Even when he was betrayed, he had nothing bad to say about those who betrayed him.’


I HAVE not seen Gilbert Teodoro. Jr. – Gibo – since weeks before the elections but I am glad that he talked to Newsbreak where I got the following quotes.

On the reasons for his conceding early, he answered: "Marami, pero natural ’yung betrayal ang pinakamasakit. Pero nangyari ’yan. Ang importante huwag ka magtatanim, you move on. And I am very happy insofar as the results are concerned, Lakas-Kampi-CMD remains, as of this time, the dominant majority party in terms of the number of [local] officials elected, according to the secretary general, Ray Roquero. I am only a member of Lakas-Kampi-CMD. I am a loyal party member. "

Did you speak to anyone before conceding?" I spoke to Nikki (Gibo’s wife) about it and, of course, to our party president, Francis Manglapus."

How about President Arroyo? "No. I spoke to our party president, Francis Manglapus. Then I’m speaking to the country through you."

Do you have any regrets? "Alam mo, kung meron akong ginawa napagsisisihan ko, dahil may nagawa akong mali, siguro I wouldn’t be relieved. But I didn’t do wrong to anybody, I served my country well, I didn’t steal a single peso of Filipino money. I have a record probably that I can hold up to anybody, and I have got a supportive family–the best one: my wife, my son, and my official family, and the volunteers. Who could ask for more?"

What are your long-term plans? "I didn’t fight for a political position for myself, but for an idea. And I have to retain the objectivity to criticize when I feel it is there and to agree when I feel it’s there. Any official political involvement will restrain that because I have my own political interest to protect."

Where did the campaign go wrong? "It’s not for me to point kung saan nagkamali. Right now, the message is: What can we do right for our country? I said my winning or my losing is secondary to the idea I was proposing–the idea of national unity, competence, several ideas that I have: universal participative healthcare, basic education reform, college graduate opportunities for every family, genuine and sustainable agrarian reform, long-term infrastructure programs, continuing cash transfers to open up the 4P program, localized peace processes, strong foreign relations on the basis of national integrity, and what’s best for the Philippines, and several other programs."

Don’t you think there would be a clamor for you to remain in public life? "It all depends. As I said, I am secondary, the principal is the idea."

Are you running for senator in 2013? "Right now, rather than have Senator-whatnot, what I want is constitutional reform. What I want is to see the country go forward. I’m not even gonna participate so it’s not bona fides. We need a constitutional convention as soon as possible to reform the political and economic situation in the country. I think it’s bona fide already, because I’m not in government anymore, I don’t stand to benefit from it anymore."

What advice do you have to those who won? "Do the best that they can do in their own fields. We have an obligation to our country to do the best in our respective fields. And we do the best for ourselves in that sense–fairly, legitimately, within the bounds of the law. We do better for our country."

I always considered Gibo an interesting candidate and a friend worth keeping for life

Newsbreak has the whole story. Gibo should remain a person of interest for us all. Even when he has been betrayed, he has nothing bad to say about those who betrayed him. I know that, eventually, the country will need him again.

***

This is a statement from the Commission on Human Rights Chairperson:

"Whistleblowers are a rare breed of individuals. Many other people would simply choose to turn a blind eye to an anomaly, so as not to jeopardize their careers, their ambitions, their personal security and the safety of their loved ones. Whistleblowers, on the other hand, see graft and corruption, illegal activity and human rights abuses, and despite the huge personal cost involved, choose to make publicthese anomalies for the greater good.

"Whistleblowers and their loved ones must be protected and given safe refuge, as well as the chance to tell their stories. If our society turns a blind eye to their plight and their courage, if our society simply allows the powerful to threaten, intimidate, abduct, injure or worst, kill them, then things will never change. The culture of impunity will prevail, and the morally bankrupt will win.

"Bona fide whistleblowers must be protected, and their dignity respected. The reported incident involving a Comelec Commissioner and two whistleblowers, wherein the former allegedly pointed repeatedly his fingers at the latter and kicked a chair, allegedly provoking a fistfight, must not be countenanced. That incident must be duly investigated. There are legal remedies against false, malicious or libelous claims, if at all, which, however, exclude maltreatment of the whistleblowers. There are proper ways to refute the claims, or counter-act the moves, of whistleblowers other than intimidating or harassing them.

"Given these developments, the CHR will call on the next Congress to prioritize the passage of a Whistleblowers Protection Act." – Lilia de Lima

It is interesting that she takes note of the violent reaction that the Comelec has taken on its whistleblowers. It makes me wonder what secrets are being kept by the present commissioners. I wonder, too, from the stories I am hearing, if those secrets could eventually put them all in jail.

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