The Ferdinand Marcos Jr. government has appointed a controversial lawyer as its new Presidential Adviser on Poverty Alleviation, a move questioned by a progressive lawmaker as “clownish”.
Following the announcement of Atty. Larry Gadon’s appointment to the post on Tuesday, June 27, Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Arlene Brosas said the choice “reflects the administration’s clownish approach in addressing hunger and poverty in the country.”
“Gadon is an extremely poor choice for a public position that requires serious and diligent work, especially as more than half of Filipinos rate themselves as poor,” Brosas added.
(UPDATE: The Supreme Court announced Wednesday morning, June 28, it voted 15-0 in favor of Gadon’s disbarment for acts inimical to the legal profession.)
Brosas said creating a new position at the executive branch and filling it up with the most unqualified person is certainly not a step towards solving the widespread poverty in the country.
The Makabayan bloc lawmaker added that truly solving poverty requires comprehensively addressing the widespread landlessness and joblessness in the country through genuine land reform and establishment of national industries, development plans that Gadon is not known to espouse.
Brosas also pointed out that the new presidential adviser is an unsavory character, unworthy to advise the highest official of the country.
“A lawyer who once maligned and verbally assaulted a female journalist with misogynist remarks, and who has been suspended twice by the Supreme Court for his foul language has no right to be on the presidential payroll,” Brosas said.
“He is also a certified red-tagger, branding those who supported calls for his disbarment as ‘NPA coddler,’” she added.
A rabid Marcos follower and supporter, Gadon first became notorious for flashing a dirty finger at and cursing protesters supporting then embattled Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno in a rally in Baguio City in 2018.
The SC suspended Gadon in January 2022 for spewing obscenities and sexist remarks at journalist and Marcos critic Raissa Robles of the South China Morning Post.
He is also infamous for publicly branding those who disagreed with as “bobo” (idiots).
In his first media interviews after announcement of his appointment, Gadon remained unapologetic, adding they deserved his tirades.
“I’m not going to say sorry because, in the first place, they were at fault because they spread lies. They should be grateful I didn’t have them killed. It’s good that I just cursed them,” Gadon told radio station DZBB.
He added that his critics, including the group Akbayan, do not have 5% of his intelligence.
‘Batang Busog Malusog’
According to the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) announcement of Gadon’s appointment, the presidential adviser would work with government agencies and non-government organizations to create programs “addressing the root of poverty.”
In his first televised briefing, Gadon said his first program would the Marcos Jr. government’s anti-hunger program dubbed “BBM” or “Batang Busog Malusog.”
BBM is the acronym of the President’s nickname Bong-Bong Marcos.
Gadon said the BBM program aims to address malnutrition among public elementary school students, noting that the condition contribute to the Filipino pupils’ poor academic performance.
The lawyer added he will also focus on strengthening micro-industries to provide jobs for the poor.
“My idea is to have micro-industries, similar to the pattern in China and Taiwan where they have a number of micro-industries scattered in their communities that employ 50 to 100 personnel,” he said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)