Why Nicky Perlas’ son convinced him to run

Why Nicky Perlas’ son convinced him to run
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—Everyone knows that Surigao Rep. Prospero Pichay, one of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s political advisers, is heavily involved in the Lakas-Kampi-CMD campaign. But what exactly is he responsible for?

While Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno is the de facto adviser of the ruling party’s standard-bearer Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro and running mate Edu Manzano, Pichay is “the ‘impakto’ (monster) adviser of the party’s six ‘senatoriables,’” according to Pichay himself.

Pichay was a recent guest at the Senate Kapihan, along with lawyer Adel Tamano, Nacionalista Party spokesperson and senatorial candidate. He arrived first and engaged in light banter with reporters before the forum started.

When Tamano came in, Pichay approached him with a big grin, shook his hand, and said:

“I’m watching the mudslinging between your standard-bearer (Sen. Manuel “Manny” Villar) and (Liberal Party standard-bearer Sen. Benigno) Noynoy (Aquino). I have to tell you, I’m enjoying it.”

* * *

At the forum, Pichay vowed eternal loyalty to the defection-plagued Lakas-Kampi-CMD and claimed that he would not be among those jumping ship.

“They’re talking about more big fish transferring from Lakas to the Liberal Party. Definitely, that would not be me. I’m not a big fish; I’m Pichay, so I’m a vegetable,” he quipped.

With talk making the rounds about the bogus medical report on Aquino’s mental state—purportedly leaked by the Nacionalistas—Tamano announced that he decided to take a neuro-psychiatric test at the Philippine General Hospital last week.

“Sometimes I have to ask myself whether I have become a bit crazy for entering politics,” he explained. “Perhaps we’ll find out in a week if I’m still sane.” Cathy C. Yamsuan

Gordon in tears

Mounting a show of force despite his dismal showing in the surveys (which he said he did not believe in anyway), Sen. Richard “Dick” Gordon recently gathered the groups backing his candidacy in a press conference at a restaurant in Intramuros, Manila.

Gordon broke into tears as he spoke about the country’s urgent need for effective leaders, saying he ran for president even if he could have easily sought reelection as a senator. He said he could no longer bear seeing the suffering of the people.

Sumptuous dishes were later served, including grilled fish and kare-kare prepared by the restaurant’s owner, Gordon’s sister Barbara.

She happens to be the mother of Olongapo Councilor John Carlos “JC” de los Reyes, one of Gordon’s rivals for the presidency.

* * *

Gordon was observed again tearing up while watching a documentary produced by his staff of his activities as chair of the Philippine Red Cross.

The hourlong video showed footage of the PRC operations Gordon had led, including its response to the “Wowowee” game show stampede in 2005, the Glorietta mall explosion in 2007, and the “Ondoy” and “Pepeng” flash floods last year, among other emergencies.

It also featured interviews with patients who had received aid from PRC, including the wife of an old man who became comatose in a plane bound for London.

The plane was forced to make an emergency landing in Russia and Gordon later helped bring the couple home after a monthlong stay in a foreign hospital.

Gordon’s tears kept flowing even after the presentation, especially when one of his aides, lawyer Kim Baltao, said: “I am so proud of you, boss!”

* * *

Gordon and his running mate Bayani Fernando were recently featured in ANC’s “Strictly Politics,” with Gordon being interviewed in the studio and Fernando joining him via a live feed from Davao.

Fernando said that if he became vice president, he would be ready to take over in case the president suffered a heart attack or resigned.

Hearing this, Gordon smiled, then quickly crossed himself. He’s in the pink of health, he later told the anchor Pia Hontiveros.

The following week, at Gordon’s press conference in Intramuros, Fernando thanked his partner’s Bagumbayan party, which, he said, had allowed him to tag along as a passenger.

But who knows, he said, if he would get lucky some day, he could eventually become the driver. Edson C. Tandoc Jr.

Nice guy, but …

Environmentalist Nicanor “Nicky” Perlas senses “a struggle within” Gibo Teodoro, the other “green” candidate (in terms of campaign color) in the presidential race.

“I think he’s a nice guy but he ended up in the wrong company,” Perlas, 60, said of the 45-year-old Teodoro at a recent meeting with Inquirer editors and reporters.

An independent candidate, Perlas said Teodoro had confided to him some thoughts about the latter’s connections to “certain powerful politicians.”

“I know there is a struggle within him about his association [with these people],” Perlas said. “He is struggling to be loyal and at the same time he wants to be independent.”

Perlas said he had developed a friendship with Teodoro, thanks to the forums where they sat next to each other when the candidates were arranged in alphabetical order.

“If he were in a different company, he would be an interesting person,” Perlas said.

He said he had also become particularly close to two other contenders, JC de los Reyes and Sen. Maria Ana Consuelo Madrigal.

“But that doesn’t mean we’re the same,” he quickly added.

* * *

Perlas’ 20-year-old son—Christopher Michael Perlas, a business management student at De La Salle University in Manila—draws curious stares whenever he tags along with his dad to interviews and forums.

He looks American (hazel eyes, light brown hair) and speaks with an American accent, but he is proving to be Filipino through and through as he helps his dad wage an uphill battle.

The young man helps Perlas run his website, promotes him on Facebook, and gets other Lasallians on the bandwagon.

He even lets his dad “sleep over” in his flat at the Ortigas Center.

“I try to help in whatever way I can. I haven’t been able to join his out-of-town sorties because I still have school, but I’ll join him when school’s out in two weeks,” Christopher said.

* * *

A Filipino citizen, Christopher was born and raised in the Philippines but spent about a year in the United States with his American mother, Kathryn Carpenter, when he was very young.

He attended, among other schools, the Manila Waldorf School, where his mother is a teacher.

His parents have been separated since 2008.

Christopher said he was free to stay with either parent. “Last night I was with mom … It was never like I was in a position where I had to choose where to live,” he said of his living arrangements.

Perlas’ campaign manager Tammy Dinopol said Christopher’s parents had put the Ortigas condominium unit in his name so he would be independent.

“Nick’s house is in Iloilo, and when he’s in Manila he lives with Christopher. We always kid him that he has to pay rent to his son,” Dinopol said.

Christopher said his mother “is very supportive of the campaign, but she’d rather not go public.”

* * *

Perlas said one of their father-and-son talks helped push him to make the life-changing decision to run for president.

“He told me that since I have so many complaints about the government, why don’t I try to run for president myself,” Perlas recalled. “It was one of the things that convinced me to run.”

Christopher said he was, therefore, not “too surprised” when his dad finally announced his candidacy.

“What my father wants is real change. He is very different from the other candidates because he’s truly new to this, and he has so much to offer the country,” the proud son said. DJ Yap

‘Lechon’ lover

Here’s an idea of how Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino’s Joseph Estrada loves lechon.

At a dinner hosted by the mayor of Compostela town in Cebu, he all but ignored the other sumptuous dishes and made straight for the roast pig at the end of the buffet.

On his way back to his table, someone called his attention, causing him to tilt his plate.

A huge piece of lechon landed on the tiled floor, just a few inches from the grass.

Estrada quickly picked it up and pronounced it serviceable: “Pwede pa ’to.” Christian V. Esguerra

No-shows be warned

Presidential candidates should choose wisely which speaking engagements to skip.

At their recent national convention at the SM Mall of Asia, officers of the Philippine Association of Local Treasurers and Assessors were disappointed to hear that Noynoy Aquino, Manny Villar, Joseph Estrada and Gibo Teodoro could not make it to the affair.

Of those invited, only Dick Gordon showed up—and received a warm welcome from an audience of around 3,000.

Aquino was represented by LP senatorial candidate Risa Hontiveros, Villar by his son Mark, and Estrada by his son, San Juan Mayor JV Ejercito.

No one came to represent Teodoro.

Aquino et al. may have upset the wrong crowd: During elections, a town’s treasurer sits in the municipal board of canvassers, together with representatives of the Commission on Elections and the Department of Education.

“Do not underestimate the local treasurers and assessors and remember their multiplier effect,” a female officer said onstage after announcing that the four VIPs had reneged on their commitment to attend.

“And in the absence of the local treasurer, an assessor can be appointed to take his place. This makes our participation in the elections very important,” the officer later told the Inquirer. Cathy C. Yamsuan

Karen Ang

A plebeian who is trying to make small changes in this world.