Editorial: Garbo’s yellow umbrellas-A A +A
Thursday, February 21, 2013
ONE of the enduring images of the rule of Ferdinand Marcos was that of a Supreme Court chief justice personally holding an umbrella for the then president’s wife, Imelda. It was symbolic of how governance under the so-called Conjugal Dictatorship had deteriorated, or of how far a government functionary would go to ingratiate himself to the Marcoses.
Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 Chief Marcelo Garbo was not the focus of the coverage of the campaign sortie of Liberal Party (LP) senatorial bets in Tabunok, Talisay City last Tuesday. But some of his policemen, members of the Regional Public Safety Battalion (RSPB) 7, were.
The Tabunok gym became the venue of the LP gathering after rain spawned by tropical depression Crising made it impossible to use the original venue, a vacant lot in Lawaan across the Talisay City Hall. Garbo told reporters later that because of the rain he deployed a group of policemen in white civilian attire and armed them with yellow umbrellas to shield President Noynoy Aquino, who graced the gathering.
He didn’t say, of course, that the primary task of protecting the President from hail of bullets or falling rain is not with regional cops but with the Presidential Security Group (PSG) and that most of the beneficiaries of his yellow umbrellas were the LP candidates. Incidentally, yellow is the color of the LP, PNoy’s party.
What makes the act noticeable is when one considers that the RSPB was not as caring to the other top officials of the country, Vice President Jejomar Binay and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, and to their senatorial bets during the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) proclamation rally at the Plaza Independencia last week.
When Garbo’s act was brought by reporters to the attention of provincial election officer Ferdinand Grujilde, the latter was quoted as saying this:
“We will send a letter to them (LP and PRO 7) not only to ask them to explain but also to remind them of the unwritten rules of propriety and delicadeza.”
By the way, the Comelec is also investigating Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, who has been accused of using government vehicles to ferry supporters to the UNA rally. Which just shows that, on the use of government resources (and personnel) for politicking, no group can claim to be holier than the other.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 22, 2013.