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Home Community RP Government Updates Overseas Filipinos Should Demand that Only Career Diplomats Be Posted Abroad: The Buddy-Gomez Saga
Overseas Filipinos Should Demand that Only Career Diplomats Be Posted Abroad: The Buddy-Gomez Saga PDF Print E-mail
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Communities - RP Government Updates
Tuesday, 12 February 2008 05:32

T he Overseas-Filipino communities must insist that only career diplomats be assigned to the Philippine consulates or embassy in their foreign domiciles. The primary reason is that a Philippine diplomatic post happens to be the show window of the homeland and, therefore, only the best-trained and the brightest career diplomats should be sent to man it. Politicians, especially lame ducks or defeated candidates, and even retired military officers are poor choices for the diplomatic service. Why? Not being trained as diplomats, politicians run the risk of further dividing the already-fragmented Overseas-Filipino community. (Editor's Note: This article tells also how some Filipino Americans in Los Angeles, CA, fought to redeem the image of the Ilocano, as tarnished by the acts of then Consul General Buddy Gomez in Hawaii during the Cory Aquino presidency.)

In June 1993, this writer took on a politician who was nominated by then President Fidel V. Ramos as consul general for the Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles (PCGLA). His name was Tomas (Buddy) Gomez III, who was former President Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino’s appointed consul general in Honolulu, Hawaii, during her presidency.

Mr. Gomez lost in the 1992 senatorial elections. After the mandated one-year prohibition for appointment to a public office, President Ramos nominated him for the top plum in the PCGLA in 1993.
 

I asked a few Filipino-American publishers to print my article on why Buddy Gomez should not be confirmed as consul-general nominee for the PCGLA. But no Filipino publisher in Los Angeles wanted any piece of the exposé. So I had to print a four-page pamphlet that explained my objections to Mr. Gomez’s nomination. Among the reasons was Mr. Gomez’s dismal record as consul general in Honolulu, where he served as President Aquino’s “attack dog” guarding then exiled former President Ferdinand E. Marcos. He called Ilocano Americans as “ignorant Filipinos” for continuing to support Mr. Marcos. As a grandson-in-law of a great Ilocano writer, Don Belong de los Reyes, of Vigan, Ilocos Sur, I found it repulsive for a consul general to be insulting Filipinos of Ilocano descent.

 
A nd worse, after Mr. Marcos died, then Consul General Gomez committed a major blunder when asked by a mainstream reporter whether the Aquino Administration would permit the burial of Mr. Marcos in the Philippines. Mr. Gomez said that “his government would not permit the carcass (sic) of Marcos to be brought home for burial.” I said also that there was a report about Mr. Gomez giving former First Lady Imelda Marcos the one-finger salute in Honolulu.

 
I asked the support of many Ilocano-American leaders in Southern California but almost all of them turned me down. Only one group of Ilocano-American leaders backed up the protest. The Ilocano National Association (INA), as headed by Dr. Carlos Paredes-Manlapaz, picked up the cudgels and carried on the fight at the Commission on Appointments (CA) that needed to confirm Mr. Gomez’s nomination. Our community-based coalition won the fight and President Ramos withdrew Mr. Gomez’s nomination. We did not even have to man picket lines in front of the PCGLA, which we planned had the CA confirmed Mr. Gomez’s nomination.

 

Filipino Americans must demand that only the best-and-the-brightest career diplomats be assigned in the United States, which is the world’s remaining superpower.

Since our crusade in 1993, the Philippine President and the Secretary of Foreign Affairs sent only the best-trained and the brightest career diplomats to serve as consul general in the PCGLA. The list is impressive. These were the career diplomats sent after 1993 to the PCGLA, many of whom had the rank of ambassador and in fact previously served as Philippine ambassadors to foreign countries: H.E. Emmanuel C. Fernandez, H.E. Josue L. Villa, Edwin D. Bael, H.E. Marciano A. Paynor, Jr., H.E. Willy C. Gaa and Mary Jo Bernardo Aragon.

In 2001, then Consul General Bael sided with our opponents in the in-fighting at the National Federation of Filipino-American Associations (NaFFAA). Despite my pleas to Mr. Bael to consider his stand, he chose to confront our coalition. We moved for his recall and President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo heeded our petition. After Mr. Bael was recalled, he refused to go back to the head office in Manila and decided to remain in the United States. Again Dr. Manlapaz and I teamed up to spearhead Mr. Bael’s recall. This time we were joined by many organizations, aside from the INA and the Media Breakfast Club that I founded in 1993 – after I initiated the fight against Mr. Gomez.

There were reports in late 2001 that Mr. Bael would be replaced by an Arroyo protégée, who was not a career diplomat. We sent through channel a private message that President Arroyo would be risking a repeat of the Gomez episode if she did not name a career diplomat for the PCGLA’s top post. The Philippine President then appointed Ambassador Paynor to be the consul general in Los Angeles.
We have proven twice that when confronted with threats of pickets and other forms of protests in the United States, the Office of the Philippine President would opt for the good sense of sending career diplomats, instead of politicians and other “controversial” appointees. If military officers wanted to be diplomats, then they should have joined the Foreign Service, instead of working for the Department of Defense or the Armed Forces of the Philippines. The best example is H.E. Ambassador Paynor, who is now the consul general in San Francisco. Mr. Paynor is a Philippine Military Academy alumnus but he chose to serve the Foreign Service in various assignments until he reached the rank of ambassador. (As updated on Jan. 5, 2009.) # # #



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Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 January 2009 03:23
 
Comments (1)
1 Wednesday, 30 June 2010 20:27
These are just a few examples of mng. Carlos' true leadership and his real passion in caring for all people! Way to go mng.

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