Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Friday, June 05, 2009

Cigarette butt caused Gordon’s ouster

Former president Joseph Estrada made himself the butt of jokes via his “Eraptions” to propel himself into Malacañang. His presidency was a big joke. His ouster from his post and his eventual pardon, courtesy of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, were jokes of the highest order. Former Rep. Felicito Payumo’s ascension to the chairmanship of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority in 1998 was a big joke too. Imagine replacing Richard Gordon with his and Subic’s No. 1 nemesis? It was a cruel joke and a vengeful act that almost ruined the gains of some 8,000 Filipino volunteers who toiled to make the Subic miracle happen.

In his letter, Payumo pointed out that it was the law, not Erap’s cigarette, that ousted Gordon from SBMA. (Inquirer, 5/26/09) No one is disputing that, but to say that it wasn’t Erap’s cigarette butt— which he threw on the rug of then Mayor Gordon’s office in Olongapo City hall in the presence of journalists, including the late Luis Beltran— which Gordon picked up to Erap’s consternation, is an imaginative joke.

That incident brought an end to Erap and Dick’s friendship. I would do a Bill Clinton in saying to Payumo, “It’s the cigarette butt, stupid!” Everyone knows that when Estrada assumed office, his first order of the day was to issue an executive order voiding Gordon’s re-appointment as SBMA chairman by former President Fidel Ramos. How personal can someone be? If he didn’t take that cigarette butt incident too personally, would an executive order ousting Gordon from SBMA be an utmost priority for a president of millions of Filipinos?

The Supreme Court long ago settled the matter and Gordon has all the right in the world to claim that it was that incident that spurred his ouster. It was his personal opinion as told to ANC in the same manner that it was Erap’s personal motivation to get back at Gordon.

It’s a good thing that Payumo now belongs to the dustbin of SBMA’s history and, by dint of luck for his province-mates, that of Bataan too. In his hunger to grab the limelight again, this lackluster politician wants to ride on Gordon’s increasing popularity as a well-meaning national leader. Gordon accepted the Supreme Court’s decision as all law-abiding Filipinos must do. He now holds a high position in government as a lawmaker, and let’s face it, he is making a difference in that otherwise boring and sometimes theatrical body.

This just goes to prove that you can’t put a good man down. There is always an open window for guys who have integrity and capability to make a change or effect change in our nation. As for Payumo, all he needs is a feather duster to wipe him off completely from the political landscape that he desperately wants to re-invade.


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