29 December 2011

Valerie's tweet about PNoy makes it to the NY Times


Actress Valerie Concepcion’s controversial tweet about a party in Malacanang on the night after Sendong hit Cagayan de Oro City was cited in a New York Times article published Dec. 27.
The story dubbed “Philippine Floods Put Popular Leader to Test” discussed the tweet’s disastrous effect relating to President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino’s public image quoting an unnamed Manila newspaper’s headline: “President Parties as Thousands Suffer.”
The article also cited one Athena Gardon, alleged leader of the left- leaning student group Kabataan, who attacked the president for his supposed “utter insensitivity.”
It also allowed a critique of the president from Senator Richard "Dick" Gordon, the chairman of the Philippine Red Cross, who ran against PNoy in the 2010 presidential election.
Gordon questioned the “political will” of Aquino as with his “competence” and “skills” as leader.
“People are being allowed to live in hazardous areas because of complacency and a lack of good leadership,” Gordon said. “This is putting people at grave risk. The president is a good man. He can handle this situation if he exercises his mandate to lead.”
The piece went on to harp on Aquino winning the presidential race “in part because of popular support for his late mother, former President Corazon Aquino.”
Ramon Casiple, executive director of the Manila-based Institute for Political and Economic Reform, downplayed the effects of Concepcion's tweet in the same article.
“When the president attended that party, the initial impression was very bad,” said Casiple. “But it did not become a problem for him. He handled it well.”
Casiple insisted that the political consequences of how the president handled the disaster is not yet apparent.
“These are ongoing issues, and the ultimate political impact is yet to be determined,” Casiple said. “The response to this crisis is not over.”
Sendong caused massive flooding in the southern Philippines in the early morning hours of Dec. 17 and left more than a thousand dead.
According to the article, the Malacanang party was a pre-planned event and that the president visited for only “a short time.”
It noted also how Malacanang canceled a previously scheduled Christmas party for the president’s cabinet members.

By NEIL RAMOS
MB.CPM.PH

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