PNS — Short of publicly endorsing the presidential candidacy of Lakas-Kampi CMD bet Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro Jr., former President Fidel V. Ramos has hailed Teodoro’s decision to rush to crisis-torn Maguindanao following the November 23 massacre of 57 civilians as an “act of courage that constitutes what leadership is all about.”
At the same time Ramos stressed that Teodoro—a former Defense Chief like the EDSA I hero—had wasted no time in initiating the expulsion from the ruling party of the Ampatuan patriarch, Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr., and his two prominent sons through a unanimous vote in an emergency meeting of the party’s executive committee.
Teodoro took a major risk in both instances, said Ramos. “This is something to be admired.”
Ramos added: “While the other presidential aspirants merely condemned the massacre as was expected, it was Teodoro who displayed the boldness and the courage to immediately rush to Maguindanao even before the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police moved to clear the province of its private armies and arms stockpile.”
“Where are they?” asked Ramos in apparent reference to the other presidential candidates.
It is in situations such as these that leaders are born, Ramos said. “This is what the country needs in times if crises; the country needs leaders who can take risks.”
The former president made the comments after returning from Sydney, Australia for a conference which discussed, among other proposals, a possible Asia-Pacific Community in the future.
Ramos also commended Lakas-Kampi CMD president Gov. Migz Dominguez for joining Teodoro in pushing for the Ampatuan’s expulsion from the party.
Ramos also commended the offer of Teodoro to act as legal counsel to the families of victims of the Maguindanao massacre in the court cases that are expected to be filed against the perpetrators.
When asked by media men if he saw himself in Teodoro, Ramos was quick to reply, “May be it is Teodoro who sees himself in me.”
In another development, the Friends of Ramos (FOR), a socio-civic organization which helped Ramos capture the presidency in 1992, announced it was supporting Teodoro for president in the May 2010 elections.
Now called the Friends of Ramos for Teodoro (FORT), the organization headed by its national president Maricor Imperial, cited Teodoro’s commitment to uphold human rights and his sterling performance as Defense Secretary and chairman of National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC).
In a press statement, Imperial said: “Teodoro’s human rights advocacy to uphold the dignity and worth of every human being, regardless of status, was manifested in his grassroots beginnings in Tarlac and as KB President in Central Luzon, both for six years.”
Imperial said Teodoro’s performance as chairman of the NDCC in the darkest hours of typhoons “Ondoy” and “Pepeng”, “endeared him to thousands of victims whose lives he touched.”
The Friends of Ramos was founded by the late Naga City Mayor Monico L. Imperial, Sr., founder and president of the Bicol Saro, a regional political party. FOR was launched in January 1991 headed by Imperial Sr. as chairman, Judge Oscar Inocentes (Ret) as president, and Maricor Imperial as national coordinator. It is one of many business and civic groups and NGOs nationwide supporting Teodoro’s candidacy.