it shouldn’t be too hard distinguishing between partisanship and just doing your job

Amba crowd

Our current Ambassador Jesus “Gary” Domingo, far from being partisan, is just doing his job, which is besides representing the Philippines in New Zealand, serving his one and only constituency in New Zealand, the Filipino community.

There, I’ve said it.  If you don’t want to read any further kabayan, that is the tight, concise summary of what I’m saying here.  It’s enough.  But if you need me to expound, please read on.

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Like most of us kabayan early last year, including nurses, teachers, IT professionals, scaffolders, dairy workers, accountants, admin officers,  to me “Jesus Gary Domingo” was just a name on the list of ambassadors-in-waiting at the Commission on Appointments published in our national broadsheets back home.

Two things intervened: I would soon visit the Philippines, and the ambassador and I had a mutual friend from a few years back, something I discovered on Facebook (of course).  One inquiry led to another and before I knew it, Amba Gary (as he is more well known now) and I were having breakfast at Pancake House in Greenbelt Makati the same Sunday I ran a half-marathon.  (That was a BUSY morning.)

That breakfast turned into brunch and turned into an early afternoon merienda.  We didn’t stop talking about Star Wars, our alma mater, common friends, his stints abroad (through which I vicariously lived his diplomat adventures) and a myriad other topics. Time simply flew.

One of the few things I remembered about him, in that solitary conversation, was that, representing his country in the various countries (and international organizations) he was assigned to was a given.  It was part of the job.

The unwritten part of your job, he said, was being the unofficial “elder” or respected person in the Filipino community.  That was nowhere in the statutes or codes of the foreign service, but it was implicit in the nature of the job.

In a very real sense, Amba Gary told me, politics is an essential part of the job of ambassador.  But at the same time, the ambassador is above politics.

He is there for everybody.

In this regard, I believe with my heart that if anybody (political party or not) asked Amba Gary to endorse or support their candidacy or cause, basta Pinoy, Amba Gary would not think twice.  He would do it.

He never does things half way.  Statements, pictures, the full support of the Embassy, logistical support within reason, anything.  Basta Pinoy.

In this sense, therefore, let me correct what my title above might convey.  Amba Gary is indeed partisan, but only partisan for the cause of the Pinoy community.

I have not read any statement made by or on behalf of the Ambassador.  I don’t need to read it, actually because everything here is based on my opinion and mine alone.

Neither have I consulted anyone in the Embassy, least of all Amba Gary, before posting this.  It would at the very least be awkward, and Amba Gary would simply recoil from saying anything in defense of what he believes is doing his job.

I’m taking too much of your time now kabayan.  Please let me just say one more thing.  Amba Gary is probably one of the best the foreign service has now.  We have been lucky enough to have him.  If he has any fault, it’s being naive enough to dismiss the possibility that anyone would think he has less than the purest motives.

Well, nobody’s perfect.

Thanks for reading and mabuhay tayong lahat!

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