"What this Country needs is not a change OF men but a change IN men" March 1980

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Gloria ‘on ropes,’ should fire advisers

PRESIDENT Macapagal-Arroyo has been badly served by her advisers who came up with such ill-advised and divisive policies as the calibrated pre-emptive response to rallies and the prohibition of Masses for the opposition in the churches near Malacañang, an administration senator said yesterday.

“The President should fire some of her advisers. They are letting [non-issues] become issues,” Sen. Richard Gordon said at the weekly Kapihan sa Sulo breakfast forum.

In remarks to reporters after the forum, Gordon said the President was “very ill-advised.”

“She’s drawing more flak.... I look at Gloria as somebody on the ropes. The President is afraid to do anything,” he said.

Gordon asked why the administration could not just let the anti-Arroyo protesters be. He said government officials should not infringe on the freedom of expression.

As for the request of the Presidential Security Group commander, Brig. Gen. Delfin Bangit, for the churches near the Palace to disallow Masses attended by anti-Arroyo forces, Gordon said Bangit “should have consulted lawyers, good lawyers.”

“A leadership that is afraid cannot lead.... A poor leadership that is afraid cannot make changes,” he said.

Gordon said the President should meet with the opposition.

“We already know what we disagree about. Let’s talk about what we can agree on,” he said.

Gordon said there were five things that Ms Arroyo should do to show that she was doing something concrete for the people.

He said the President should run after criminals, generate jobs by shifting the budget priorities to tourism and trade, boost tax collection, close the gap in education and health, and make the government “fast, fair, firm, friendly and forward-looking.”

“The government must stop going around the ropes and start hitting the right spots,” Gordon said.

By Norman Bordadora
Philippine Daily Inquirer