"In societies where Robbing Hoods are treated like a celebrity it is but natural to expect political parties to act like a Mafia syndicate" Political Jaywalker "In a nation where corruption is endemic people tend to confuse due process with aiding and abetting criminals" Political Jaywalker "War doesn't determine who is right, war determines who is left" Bertrand Russell "You have just one flash flood of money, you keep your people poor. It's like a time bomb and it's scary" Philippine Lawmaker

My Choice as the Next Philippine President

The Bagumbayan Movement will be inaugurated on April 27, and subsequently it will announce its choice for Philippine President in 2010. Time is running out and unless you have a better man, I hope you will, as I have chosen, concur as to the next President of the Philippines.

Move all the presidentiables from top to bottom and matrix them with qualities and achievements from left to right, and you will find out that there is only one man who we can trust to deliver on his word.

Why? Because he has already performed a national track record even if he were not yet President. Nobody but he can we verify to govern effectively.

Why? Because he is the only one who has over-delivered on his promises and our expectations.

Why? Because he is without a tinge of scandal for the many years he has served publicly.

Dick Gordon was the youngest Con-con delegate. Early in his political career, he made Olongapo the model city because of a deliberate and determined local administration. Go to "Gapo" today and see how the color-coded jeepneys still ply their daily routes efficiently. See how clean and properly zoned the city is. See how despite the country's recession, the city is booming with commercial progress.

Then we saw Mayor Gordon on top of the natural disaster when the earthquake levelled Central Luzon from Pampanga to Nueva Ecija to Zambales. Thus it was no surprise that he was also on top of emergency management when Mt. Pinatubo erupted.

In fact, Dick saved Subic from being ransacked and looted as Clark when the Americans left us holding the bag of confusion the volcano caused. He mustered home-based volunteerism to help clean up the former US naval base and prevent it from being violated.

He did not stop there, immediately after the calamity, he stopped Subic from being a white elephant and a ghost town by working for it to be legislated as and coverted into a freeport.

President Ramos appointed him chairman of Subic Bay Management Authority. He enticed the Philippine middle and upper classes to invest in Subic from leasing housing properties to putting up businesses like the yatch club and the various tourism facilities in-base. He marketed Subic as ideal for light industrials globally and ahead of China, and was able to get Acer to manufacture their computers and electronic gadgets there, Enron to take on the power supply and Fedex to base its transhipment in Asia and Oceania.

It is not an over-statement to say that Dick already established the Subic Bay experience as microcosmic of what the Philippines can be if seriously na dstragically governed. Si Dick Gordon lang ang magdadala sa sambayanan sa isang destinasyon na alam na natin dahil nagawa na niya.

I can go on and on but let me just say he did not ask for a single centavo from the national or local government to run Subic, he operated the freeport, funding it with its inherent income and giving whatever surplus to the national treasury starting from its first year. To save on personnel cost but getting the creme de la creme, he called on the best in the Pilipino - a new bayanihan or spirit of volunteerism that even attracted my oldest daughter right after her graduation from the University of Virginia and many more second and third generation FilAms.

Gordon was violently booted out of SBMA by Erap Estrada trumping on his yet unfinished term because the latter wanted his crony former congressman Fely Payumo to be the chairman. Of course Payumo later ravaged Subic and became filthy rich from kickbacks from smuggling and casino abuses. This saw at least Acer and Fedex moving out to China and Enron selling out to the Aboitiz interests instead because SBMA under Payumo kept mulcting the Taiwanese and the Americans.

But when Erap was himself booted out in a power grab by Gloria Arroyo, Dick accepted the portfolio of tourism secretary, and because of that we saw structural reforms combining with promotional programs erstwhile true only during the Marcos era. Intramuros became a historical showcase with year-round festivities that brought in a radical increase in in-bound traffic. With the Wow Philippines campaign, the local governments outdid each other in beautifying their towns and cities and offering attractions powered by local nuances drawing inspiration from Olongapo and Cebu cities as paradigms.

Gordon ran for senator under the administration coalition, but never joined any political party including Ramos' Lakas or Arroyo's Kampi. In fact, he does not belong to any political party. That is why he has been effective in authoring electoral reforms and piloting the Blue Ribbon investigation of the fertilizer scam that Jun Magsaysay was not able to finish.

Thus there is no hot air such as an Among Ed Panlilio promising if elected president to prosecute the Arroyos for corruption. While yet senator, Gordon has already started prosecuting Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, her husband and their ilk.

And as we speak, Dick is presiding over the return of his fellow Red Cross volunteers that have been taken hostage by the Abu Sayyaf, something that I suspect as a stated-sponsored kidnapping to stop Senator Gordon from further damaging the Arroyo presidency. I say so because this is the longest time that the Philippine military and police have cordoned off armed insurgents without really getting anywhere.

With Dick Gordon there is no guesswork, he is the definite adrenalin that we need today for a serious, deliberate, time-tested and moral leadership.

Ado Paglinawan is a former press officer of the Philippine Embassy in Washington DC who occasionally contributes to the Philippines Daily Inquirer. He writes for various email groups and blogs under the pseudonym "mymaestro888". Ado has best served overseas Filipinos as a resource person providing inside information and backgrounders about the celebrated fertilizer scam that rocked the Philippine Agriculture Department and the Presidency since 2004.

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