Wednesday, October 3, 2007

October 3, 2007

To Babe Romualdez,

This refers to your column ‘Flashy Gordon’ which was published in the Philippine Star on October 2, 2007.

Resigned Comelec Commissioner Benjamin Abalos was not humiliated by Senator Richard Gordon, it was Abalos who humiliated himself after prominently figuring in the dubious and anomalous ZTE Broadband deal – which by the way, wasn’t the first time Abalos’ name was attached to anomalous and irregular transactions that wasted billions of pesos. And, this is not even to mention the time that he said he didn't know anything about 'Hello Garci' in 2004 and the time that he refused to implement the Automated Elections law, which eventually gave way to 'Hello Bedol' just this year.

Yet here you are, pleading sympathy for a man who hardly deserves sympathy.

You bleed for Senator Alan Peter Cayetano whose bungling of the Senate Hearing on the ZTE Broadband deal allowed former NEDA Secretary General Romulo Neri to escape further questioning and eventually reveal who else was offered a bribe. Apparently, Cayetano didn’t know that Neri could not invoke Executive Privilege unless it involved matters of National Security.

Also, if you actually watched ANC or took time to read the transcript of the hearing before firing off your column, perhaps you would have seen how respectfully Gordon had requested to exercise his privilege and how he was subsequently told by Cayetano to stop ‘quibbling’ with rules, which was actually the reason why Gordon took the opportunity to put Cayetano in his place. The Senate should have no room for people who have no appreciation for the rules that govern it and it should not tolerate the lapses of a Chairman who is still reading up on its rules.

Yet here you are, quibbling over Gordon’s temper.

Your version of the events involving COA Chairman Guillermo Carrague and Senator Gordon is inaccurate. In response to Gordon’s queries on the COA’s performance of its duties in the ARMM, it was Carrague who stood up, pointed a finger at Senator Gordon, and shouted ‘You’re a Dictator!’ Gordon rebutted that he was not a dictator, he was Dick Gordon – the humor in the pun must have escaped Carrague who people say wasn’t completely himself at that time. Nevertheless, Carrague apologized for his behaviour but only after being threatened with contempt – perhaps other people would have been more circumspect and would not need to be threated with contempt to realize how inappropriately they acted.

Gordon was the one subjected to disrespectful behaviour and yet here you are, calling him arrogant.

Near the end of your column, you had called yourself a friend of Senator Gordon but that was in relation to your act of bringing a prospective locator to SBMA ten years ago – which most of Gordon’s former staff don’t actually remember you doing. Maybe there were just too many people trying to broker deals during that time and maybe yours fell through or fell through the cracks, but that’s hardly a reason to be sore with Gordon.

In anycase, the reason why I bring this up is that your entire column speaks of misplaced sympathies and hardly gives evidence of being a friend to Gordon. I once had a notion that being a columnist meant being a journalist of the highest order, after reading your column – with its inaccuracies and absolute lack of fairness – I had to revise my notion. This only applies to some and not all columnists -- certainly not you.

Paul Farol, Manila

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