I have never met Getsy Tiglao but I first heard about her when then Press Secretary Rigoberto Tiglao married his long-time girlfriend and Inq-7 editor-in-chief, Gethsemane Selirio, in simple civil ceremonies in Pampanga.
Writer Regina Bengco said way back in 2002 that it would have been one of those simple and secret weddings had President Arroyo, herself, not spoiled it by revealing it to the media.
Arroyo, during a photo opportunity with Rodolfo Ma. Ponferrada, who topped the bar exam, and members of the National Market Vendors Association at lunchtime, excitedly asked lensmen: “Did you know that Tiglao is getting married?”
Bengco further narrated, “The question elicited gasps and murmurs from photographers and officials who were present, including Agriculture Secretary, Leonardo Montemayor; Agriculture Undersecretary, Ernesto Ordonez and defeated administration senatorial candidate and former Bulacan governor Roberto Pagdanganan.”
“Oh, so that’s why,” Pagdanganan was heard as saying cryptically. Upon hearing the announcement, palace reporters saturated Tiglao’s cellular phone with calls, only to be answered by a recorded message.
“After about an hour, Tiglao finally answered and admitted that he had just gotten married in Pampanga.
“It is not her marriage to fellow journalist Bobi that has captured my imagination but her crisp pen everytime she writes opinion- editorials.
Here is a sample of her genius which I will quote verbatim, “When A Vice-President Becomes Expendable”:
“As far as spare tires go, Vice President Leni Robredo sure acts as if she’s the one spinning and pulling the vehicle of state.
“She talks and preens like she’s the sitting president and not the superfluous official that her position mandates her to be. The Philippine Constitution states that she’s just a backup, in case of emergency, which the majority of Filipinos are fervently praying will never ever happen.
“All the past vice presidents of the country knew their place in government. The President is the boss, not the vice president. In case of differences with their principal, most of them were honorable enough to resign their posts.
“Such was the case with former vice president Teofisto Guingona Jr. who resigned after one year as Foreign Affairs Secretary over policy differences with President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Same with Jejomar Binay who resigned from the Cabinet in June, 2015, but only after enduring several years of harassment by the minions of his principal, Benigno Aquino III.
“President Rodrigo Duterte wasn’t constitutionally obligated to give Robredo a Cabinet position, but he did so and it was in fact the strategic housing portfolio. She could have worked hard on this post to enhance her political credentials, knowing full well that she’s a political tyro who merely advanced on her widowhood.
“She messed it up. Instead of taking her job seriously, she was posing for magazine covers and giving soft lifestyle interviews. She couldn’t handle the housing requirements for the victims of supertyphoon Yolanda that an irked Duterte had to order a lower-ranking aide to do the job. When typhoon Nina hit her home region of Bicol, she opted to go on a family vacation in the United States.
“She acted like she couldn’t be bothered to work and one can imagine her being so at home at the low-energy Aquino administration. But the Duterte administration is too much in a hurry to do real work that Robredo’s sloth-like ways just wasn’t the right fit. So she was fired.
“Robredo can always claim she resigned. But when the boss tells you not to attend the Cabinet meeting that means you’re out and that you were deemed useless to the entire government.
“Now Robredo is trying to burnish her profile by using the gullible international media, always a sucker for pretty faces and clickbait sad stories.
“With Oscar-worthy makeup and lighting, she recorded a video message for the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs. It would have been fine if she just spouted her usual platitudes about justice and democracy. Filipinos could put up with her vacuity; what they couldn’t stand was her betrayal.
“Smiling for the cameras, she maligned the country, its people, the government of which she is supposedly part of, the entire police force, and her commander-in-chief the President. She used spurious data, which has been debunked, and misrepresented a legitimate police strategy with witnesses to wreck the image of Filipino policemen.
“Her passive-aggressive ways may work with naïve, ill-informed foreigners especially those from Western Europe. But Filipinos can see through her nonsense and overweening ambition.
“Americans, meanwhile, probably can’t understand what we are going through since they are used to having vice presidents who are team players. Under their unique system of indirect voting, the president and vice president from the same party are chosen together.
“Put it this way: Imagine Democrat Barack Obama as president in 2009 with the Republican Sarah Palin as his vice-president. Or Donald Trump today having to deal with Tim Kaine. Total disaster? You betcha. That’s what we go through everytime we have national elections.
“In the Philippines, the president and vice president are usually from different political parties. This is a crippling set-up that has led to friction at the top, particularly if number two is too impatient to wait for her turn.
“Perhaps it is time for legislators to introduce a constitutional amendment that would do away with the voting for vice president. Instead, the president-elect should just be allowed to pick his second from any member of his own party.
“Robredo may or may not be part of a destabilization plot but in the age of Internet the signs are there for everyone to see: her unceasing criticism of her boss; the impeachment complaint against Duterte filed by a disgraced ex-soldier who was jailed for mutiny; the threat of a case in the International Criminal Court, with assassins and murderers as witnesses; and the non-stop placement of negative stories in the international press.
“Robredo judged and she was judged back. Instead of preparing to succeed Duterte as president, she will now be spending her time fending off a possible impeachment by Congress. If she loses that’s the end of her political career.
“That was one short ride from being redundant to expendable.”
End of quote.
Back to the Getsy’s wedding.
Court of Appeals Justice Remedios Salazar Fernando officiated at the wedding, which was witnessed by her husband, Joner, and one of Tiglao’s cousins. “He was surprised by the president’s announcement of his wedding,” he said.
He said the church wedding will follow when Bobi Tiglao and his wife, Getsy, get back from Japan, where he is going on a three-month professorial fellowship. The new Mrs. Tiglao, who had been the press secretary’s office mate when he was still with the Business Day and later replaced him as Inq-7 editor-in-chief when he took the job of presidential spokesman, will accompany Tiglao in Kyoto as his researcher.
“She’s beautiful, intelligent, kind-hearted and also a good journalist, a very good one,” he said of his forty-something bride.
Tiglao, who assumed the post of presidential spokesman on April 23, 2001, was widowed when his wife, Racquel Edralin, women’s rights advocate, died of breast cancer in late February, 2001.
They had three children – a commercial plane pilot, a graphic artist for an advertising agency and Darth, 22, Inq-7 editorial assistant.
Cartoon contributions: The first three by Steven Pabalinas of the Manila Times, and the last one is by Edwin Venturina of the Daily Tribune.