Saturday, July 31, 2010


Within the mammoth government information and propaganda organization in the days of President Cory Aquino, then Press Secretary Tomas 'Buddy' Gomez III and radio-TV section czarina and presidential niece (now cousin) Maria V. Montelibano were conducting early probing sorties preparatory for a bitter clash of control for the information and propaganda turf with its gargantuan budget.

Many people in media and in Malacanang were looking forward to the coming Buddy-Mary fight. The wise money was on the latter but not only because she is Cory's niece but also because she has been known as a battler with extensive knowledge on media, especially radio and television. She was fiercely loyal to her aunt.

And although Buddy was one tough character, he was still wet behind his ears as far as his new job as Press Secretary was concerned. He had a so-so background as a part-time radio technician and public relations runner for the late industrialist and tycoon Don Enrique Zobel.

He earned his spurs under the Aquino administration as the 'Peeping Tom' in Hawaii's Makiki Heights who hounded the late President Marcos.

That expected clash with Mary was just one test. Buddy had to contend with the "shadows" in Malacanang which drove veteran newsman Teddy Benigno out as Press Secretary. And of course, there were those numerous media people who didn't buy Buddy's confrontational style.

Media had already fired its first salvo against Buddy: the hitherto little-known fact that he has been married thrice and divorced twice. That immediately put him on the defensive, since he had to act as chief defender of a supposedly moral government. But he showed he could take it as well as dish it out. He took it on the chin and offered no alibis, saying he just wanted to "do it my way," like Sinatra.

Well, as he had said on his first day in office, he was looking forward to some "fun and excitement."

Not so much of the present set-up wherein we now have three men running the same office, a.k.a. the Office of the Press Secretary. They now call it the Presidential Communications Group manned by former FarEast Bank executive Sonny Coloma, blogger Edwin Lacierda, ABS-CBN hotshots Ricky Carandang and Manolo Quezon. But to date, I yet have to see Manolo assert his self in the Palace. If he does, he may be doing a lot of explaining. As for Ricky, many believe (and I share their sentiments) that his ego is bigger than 'The Big Picture.' And where is Mary Montelibano in all these? Perhaps she's keeping a distance this time as it doesn't look so smooth as they begin to fumble while communicating the President's programs and intentions to the public. As the saying goes, "too many cooks spoil the broth." In this case, jockeying for turf and influence as "too many chef-chefs may spoil the brat in office."

Talk is that one giant network gets a big advantage over another giant network simply because the new bosses in the Palace are their top anchors on leave.

We shall all see how they handle their jobs. Will it contribute to a steady acceptance rating (for now) for P-Noy, or will their egos all self-destruct, pulling down their "accidental president?"

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