The papers on Saturday reported that Vice President Teofisto Guingona might run for the highest government office next year.
“I will continue to fight for the principles that I believe in. I will continue to fight for the Filipinos, 68 percent of whom, according to the latest statistics, are very poor,” the Inquirer quoted the Vice President as saying.
When asked if that means he would run for president, he said it “may include” that although he is not sure about it yet.
Guingona has been calling on the youth to support his crusade against Charter change, saying it endangers the Philippines’ national patrimony.
During a gathering of students and activists in Letran last July 4, Guingona said we should not allow foreigners to exploit our resources because these are gifts to the Filipino people from God. (For his part, former Senator Wigberto Tanada, in his speech exposing the bad effects of globalization on the Philippines, said we must push for a nationalist economy.)
Throughout the history of his political career, Guingona–a true nationalist– placed himself on the people’s side. His consistency and deep understanding of our nation’s history would make him a good president.
He’s been having differences with with President Gloria Arroyo because while she acts as if she is US President Bush’s spokesperson in Asia, Guingona chooses to uphold and defend our sovereignty.
Some people would say, however, that at 75, he is too old and not popular. But wasn’t Nelson Mandela also 75 years old when he became president of South Africa? Also, we need principled, not popular leaders.
In Conrad de Quiros’ article about Guingona after the latter resigned from the Department of Foreign Affairs last year, he wrote he is glad that the principle of self-reliance as an alternative to globalization “has found a spokesperson in the second highest official of the land.”
“The second highest by law, though by reason easily the highest official of the land: He earned his right to glory, Gloria did not. He himself is the best argument for his cause, particularly when he cajoles us to stop crying over spilt milk, there is no lack of things we can do amid adversity. He has restored my faith in the Filipino.”
Meanwhile, Prof. Luis Teodoro has this to say about the vice president:
“What the Arroyo government–what the country–needs are in fact more Guingonas, it being so patently clear that he is an exception to a distressingly uniform belief in the wisdom of Philippine engagement with US purposes to the possible detriment of Philippine interests. Guingona isn’t the problem, but part of the solution.”
I think we must give Guingona this last chance. For him, it’s now or never.