By Artchil B. Fernandez
BBM is one year in office. Various groups and analysts are grading the first year of his term. While BBM gave himself an incomplete (INC) grade, he got grades ranging from satisfactory to failure from groups and pundits.
Grading aside, two incidents in recent weeks accurately capture the nature of the current administration in its first year. They also mirror BBM’s take on public office and the kind of leadership he has. These are the ignominious appointment of the controversial Larry Gadon as presidential adviser and the fiasco of the Department of Tourism (DOT) latest campaign ad.
Larry Gadon, a rabid BBM supporter is also his most toxic one. A person without sense of decency and zero sense of shame, Gadon was used by BBM as his attack dog. He badmouths critics of the Marcoses in the most vicious and dirtiest manner. Gadon curses and spew unprintable words to the opponents of BBM.
Never has the political scene in the country seen a person like Larry Gadon in terms of vulgarity, nastiness, obscenity, and vileness. Foul, dirty and lewd words flow freely from his mouth. A person like Larry Gadon has no place in a civil and civilized world. The misogyny and hate Gadon promotes particularly against Muslim Filipinos is reprehensible. He is the worst person currently living in this country.
Yet this despicable person was rewarded by BBM with a presidential appointment. BBM named Larry Gadon as his poverty alleviation adviser with a salary of P278,434/month. “Moral integrity” does not exist in the world of BBM.
To highlight the unfitness of the character of Lary Gadon as a whole and not just for the post he was named, the Supreme Court (SC) disbarred him the day after his appointment was announced. The High Court stripped him of his right to practice law.
Voting unanimously (15-0), the High Tribunal disbarred Gadon for having “repeatedly cursed and uttered profane remarks against journalist Raissa Robles” in a viral video. What Gadon said in the video according to the Court was “indisputably scandalous that it discredits the legal profession.”
The High Court found Gadon to have “violated Canon II on Propriety, of the Code of Professional Responsibility and Accountability,” which states that a lawyer must always “act with propriety and maintain the appearance of propriety in personal and professional dealings, observe honesty, respect and courtesy, and uphold the dignity of the legal profession consistent with the highest standards of ethical behavior.”
“The privilege to practice law is bestowed only upon individuals who are competent intellectually, academically and, equally important, morally. There is no room in this noble profession for misogyny and sexism. The Court will never tolerate abuse, in whatever form, especially when perpetrated by an officer of the court,” the SC said.
Despite the disbarment of Gadon, BBM insisted on keeping him in his cabinet. “He will continue in his new role as presidential adviser on poverty alleviation as there are urgent matters that need to be done in the President’s antipoverty programs,” Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin declared. “The president believes he will do a good job,” he added.
Rewarding fanatics notwithstanding their worst behavior is the priority of BBM. He does not care about the moral fitness, integrity or credibility of the person or how bad that person is. As long as s/he is blindly loyal with canine devotion, s/he gets government post. Hiring the “best” as criteria for government appointment as flaunted earlier by BBM’s apologists is actually employing the “beast.”
Then the DOT scandal erupted right after the outrageous Gadon appointment. The tourism department is in hot water immediately after launching a new tourism campaign “Love the Philippines.” The P250-million campaign to promote the country was opened with great fun fare featuring BBM as guest of honor.
It turned out the videos used for the promotional material were plagiarized. Five of the videos were taken from stock footage showing the best not of the Philippines but that of Indonesia (rice terraces), Thailand (a fisherman throwing a net), Switzerland (a passenger plane approaching the runway), and Dubai (a person driving a vehicle on sand dunes). The promotional material has a price tag of 49 million pesos.
Even the tag-line was also copied. In 2021 Cyprus launched a tourism campaign named “Love Cyprus.” Promoting the Philippines as a bastion of plagiarism is the foulest way to boost tourism in the country. There is no “love” here only deception.
As of this writing, the DOT is determined to keep the tagline despite the scandal and embarrassment attached to the campaign. Like in the appointment of Gadon, the administration of BBM has no sense of shame or propriety in the latest DOT blunder.
The brouhaha in the tourism campaign is not unusual for the present administration. BBM was elected through the utilization of “fake news” and lies. So, what is surprising on the use of “fake videos” in the tourism campaign of BBM’s presidency? Lie, deception, and dishonesty, these are all the trademarks of the Marcoses. The DOT under BBM is just being consistent with its principal.
Employing the “beast” and “blightest” – this is the hallmark of the presidency of Marcos junior. Blight is a disease, something that spoils or damages. The venom of lies and falsehoods has infected the national landscape with the return to power of the Marcoses. “Fake news” and the utilization of toxic people like Gadon are the standard operating practices of the Marcos family to push their vile agenda.
In the next five years, “beasts” and “blightests will continue to dominate and populate the political scene. Good luck everyone.