By Andrew Jonathan S. Bagaoisan
(First published on ABS-CBNnews.com on January 31, 2014)
Talk show host Boy Abunda is no longer entertaining thoughts of running for public office anytime soon.
“I am announcing it here: I changed my mind, I’m not going into politics,” he told over 100 students at a forum in the University of the Philippines (UP) College of Mass Communication on Thursday.
Abunda admitted that the pork barrel scam made him think twice about running.
“I was just so disappointed,” he said. “Ayoko na, ayoko na talaga.”
The “Bandila” anchor first revealed in the run-up to the 2013 midterm polls that he was considering a run for the gubernatorial post in his home province of Eastern Samar in 2016.
The pork barrel scam, which disclosed the misuse of legislators’ Priority Development Assistance Funds, was exposed two months after the election.
Abunda said that while he could find the right time to run, it was not now.
“It’s not a permanent decision, but given the choice, and given the political landscape today, I will continue doing my interviews with politicians and public servants. But to dip my fingers and what is left of my soul into the political arena is not something that I would do in the next few years,” Abunda said.
To laughs, he added: “I will continue to be a pole-dancer.”
Interest in running
The “Bottomline” and “Buzz ng Bayan” host was at the UP to talk about entertainment reporting and interviewing celebrities.
But a question from a student prompted him to discuss how he first mulled joining politics.
“My nanay was into politics, my tatay was into politics–small-town lang. My sister is now the mayor of Borongan. Ako lang ang hindi pumasok sa pulitika,” he said.
Abunda said that accountant and philantrophist Washington Sycip broached the idea with President Benigno Aquino III of getting 50 “progressive, honest, young” people to run for governor in different provinces, which he believed would have an impact on the political system.
“When Washington Sycip talked to me about it, I was somehow convinced that this was making a lot of sense,” Abunda said.
Sycip then had told Aquino: “Mr. President, why don’t you ask Boy Abunda to run for governor?”
In 2010, Abunda refused the President’s offer to become secretary of tourism.
His closest foray to politics was being appointed senior political adviser of the Ladlad party-list in 2011, but later said that he was not interested in doing legislative work.
Abunda confessed at the forum that he was expected to follow his parents’ footsteps into government over his sister Maria Fe.
“Sabi nga nila, ang kapatid ko hindi marunong mag-Ingles, hindi marunong mag-speech, pero napakahusay niyang government servant, di ba? I think she’s one of the best,” he said.
He said he felt a tinge of guilt that his sister had accomplished much despite her limitations, while there were also a lot of expectations for him.
“I was decided (to run), because I wanted to make a difference,” Abunda said.