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PIA Press Release
2009/10/27

Commentary: The Gibo puzzle

By Bong Pedalino

Maasin City (27 October) -- In this politically obsessed country, where pre-mature campaigning is hard to define, you can see, feel, and hear all the presidential wannabees trying to project an aura of an ideal and confident leader who can steer this nation forward to prosperity and glory.

They try hard to get to the soft part of the voters -- to all voters by portraying an image of being there leading the way, and to visayan-speaking voters by speaking the dialect, even how totally scripted it turned out to be.

So far, Defense Secretary Gilbert "Gibo" Teodoro has not gone down to this level, not yet maybe, but that leaves something to wonder why he has not jumped early on in the bandwagon.

***

Gibo was featured in a passing advocacy campaign on disaster readiness in the internet -- I saw one at yahoo recently -- but this is not the way to go, not in the Philippines where mass appeal is the "in" thing in getting votes, or so it has been perceived.

But if Obama had it through the online channel, can a Filipino be left behind?

Sounds cool and cute, and potentially rewarding, given that the present generation of web-based young voters coupled with prospects of a computerized balloting may offer clues to a paradigm shift in the attitude and mindset of the text-era elections.

Still, it remains to be seen whether this method can, indeed, deliver.

***

So much for campaigning -- or pseudo-campaigning, inasmuch as those stuffs are not meant to win votes for now but only for purposes of name recall. One issue confronting Gibo is his continued presence in the Cabinet, even as he had pledged to let go in due time.

One may credit his "overstaying" to the successive storms that entered the Philippines, one after the other in a short space of one month.

At any rate, though, those typhoons provided some kind of a level playing field to all the presidential aspirants, wherein each one made sure they wore their hearts out in their sleeves, there to be seen bleeding in sympathy; and each one extended actual help to the victims -- selfless acts borne out of a sense of duty and utter compassion, and media mileage.

Gibo, somehow, had the upper hand, being the top honcho of the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC), the man on top of the situation 24/7 next to the President.

***

Surely, his handling of the challenging tasks at hand generated large eye bugs for sleepless nights, and lots of criticisms, but at every day's end he gained enough exposure and, yes, publicity.

Will that translates into victory? If we consider the pre-Ondoy SWS survey where Gibo was at his usual tail-end place, no way, Jose.

But if we consider the same pre-Ondoy SWS survey, where his ratings substantially jumped from.8% to 4%, then protracted publicity, either good or bad, is the name of the game, boosting his chances, among other constantly changing factors, of winning the presidency.

That is Gibo's secret charisma. That is the Gibo puzzle.

***

Oddly Yours: At the Maasin City terminal, one cannot help but notice a HUGE tarpaulin picture of DILG Secretary Ronaldo Puno prominently displayed to be the center of attention and attraction. What's the occasion for putting the tarpaulin there? I don't know. Puno's picture has sprung everywhere like mushrooms, not just in the terminal, although not as large. Perhaps that compensates for his absence during this year's Charter Day feast when he should have been the guest speaker. Hmmm, sounds logical, but, on second thought ... well, your guess is just like mine.

ODDLY YOURS: October 26, 2009 marks the 25th year in which for the first time an animal to human heart transplant was successfully made, even as it did not last long. Up to this day, however, ethical and moral questions still long for answers: what would have happened had Stephanie Fae Beauclair -- known to the world then as only Baby Fae -- survived the baboon heart transplant by Dr. Leonard Bailey of California on October 26, 1984? Baby Fae was born with a hypoplastic left heart syndrome, meaning the heart's left side is underdeveloped for causes science did not know yet. The baby lived for 21 days after the surgery, two weeks longer than previous baboon heart recipients. But the singular act paved the way for successful human-to-human heart transplant operations which has become routine nowadays, and for this Dr. Bailey, now 66 years old, felt vindicated for his feat. Dr. Bailey still worked as chief surgeon of Loma Linda Children's Hospital in California, the same hospital that carried the successful baboon to human baby heart transplant. Soon, Baby Fae will be on film, in "Stephanie's Heart: The Story of Baby Fae", and the one who will introduce the documentary will be Dr. Bailey himself. (PIA-Southern Leyte) [top]

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