By Alex P. Vidal
“When you have to make a choice and don’t make it, that is in itself a choice.”—William James
MANUEL L. Quezon’s famous quote, “My loyalty to my party ends where my loyalty to my country begins” can’t be applied to Nacionalista Party (NP) stalwart and Iloilo second district Rep. Michael Gorriceta’s recent refractory when he endorsed Vice President Leni Robredo, who isn’t a member of NP.
Gorriceta’s decision didn’t sit well with NP provincial chair, Dr. Ferjenel Biron, who is Iloilo campaign manager of former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. of Team Unity.
Biron, a former Iloilo fourth district representative, apparently isn’t happy when party members—incumbent local officials or candidates in the May 9 election—become “rebellious” and don’t support Marcos and vice presidential candidate Sara Duterte-Carpio.
It’s like Popeye who felt offended when one of his subordinate sailors openly defied him.
Biron probably thinks “if you don’t support my presidential and vice presidential candidates, it’s better to cut and cut clean.”
In simple platitudes, get out of the kitchen if you can’t stand the heat. It’s impossible for trust to grow in the garden of suspicion when there is no fertilizer called loyalty to cultivate it.
“Trust is a big word for me. Loyalty and trust, for me, are everything,” Tommy Mottola once reminded us. “It’s the core of what I’m about and what the people around me hopefully are about. It’s a certain thing that gives you a sense of security. It’s the biggest factor in everything I do.”
First, no one can tell if Gorriceta, a former mayor of Pavia, is indeed a loyal partyman, except him.
Second, if he is loyal and wants to terminate that loyalty because he is enamored to someone else outside the party, it doesn’t follow that his move is tantamount to patriotism, or loyalty to his country.
When one political figure shifts support or picks a presidential candidate from another political fence, what he feels about his country has nothing to do with his act.
It’s about his values, character, quality of choice, and principles as an individual.
President Quezon’s classic quote must’ve been intrinsically metaphorical.
In Gorriceta’s case, loyalty to his party ended when he professed support for Vice President Robredo, who is the chief rival of the candidate his party endorses and supports, plain and simple.
In my opinion, the Philippines’ P12.7 billion helicopter deal with Russia is unnecessary and immoral given the state of economic despair the Filipinos are up against in the post-pandemic quarters of 2022 and thereafter.
Unnecessary because we can use the amount to finance our urgent needs in health, agriculture, education, infrastructure projects.
Immoral because Russia is now an international pariah cut off from the world’s major financial institutions for the brutal invasion of Ukraine.
Palace officials were still insisting the government was poised to honor its deal with Russia over the procurement of 17 Russian-made Mil Mi-17 heavy-lift helicopters, despite the reluctance or refusal of other countries to comply with such contracts in light of the Ukraine crisis.
The deal is being enforced while many Filipinos, who lost livelihood and employment during the lockdowns, are reeling from financial crisis and battered by successive fuel price hikes even as global benchmark oil prices were reported to be trading around $115 a barrel, up from around $80 a barrel at the end of last year.
This developed as the United States imposed a ban on oil imports from Russia, the world’s third biggest producer, as retaliation for Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, and Britain also said it would phase them out, reported the Reuters.
The helicopter deal should be scrapped and the money be safeguarded for the next administration.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)