Quitting Time: 10 Controversial Resignations
Some cut cleanly and some go out swinging
(SPOT.ph) Ask Pope Benedict XVI and he’ll tell you: resignations are always complicated affairs. In most cases, one party is always happier than the other. After all, what else can you do when things aren’t working out anymore? There’s always some sense of relief when things end. The problem is that things tend to get really messy first. In this list, we look back on some of the most talked about resignations. There were some who cut cleanly and without fanfare, but there were others who put up a fight on their way out.
JUAN MIGUEL ZUBIRI
What went down: Amidst accusations caused by the electoral protest put forth by Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III, Miguel Zubiri announces his resignation with a speech in the senate plenary on August 3, 2011. Zubiri cites the pain and anguish that his family is going through and will continue to go through if he lets the Senate Electoral Tribunal make a decision about his dignity and integrity. A bold move to save face before more dirt is thrown and more bones are unearthed. As an update, he recently admitted to "benefitting from cheating" albeit with a disclaimer that he had "no concrete evidence" that it was true.
Parting shot:"Sa harap ng Diyos at sa harap ng tao ay nais kong pagtibayin na hindi ako nandaya at wala akong kinausap upang mandaya para sa akin sa halalan. Ang lahat ng akusasyon laban sa akin ay pawang walang katotohanan. (I did not cheat nor ask anyone to cheat for me...and my family would never tolerate any form of electoral fraud)."
What went down: In 2005, Gutierrez was appointed as Ombudsman by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. She was the first female to ever hold the position. In 2009, civil society groups filed an impeachment case against her because she allegedly mishandled cases. That case was dismissed. However, in 2010 cases were once again filed against her for the same reason. Cases such as the Fertilizer Fund Scam and the pluder case against former military comptroller Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia. The complainants accused Gutierrez of "inaction" when it came to the said cases. They implied that she was protecting the so-called persons of interest in the said cases. On March 22, 2011, the House of Representatives voted to impeach Gutierrez. Perhaps, sensing that she would not be given any mercy, Gutierrez responded by announcing on April 29 that she was resigning as Ombudsman. Her resignation took effect on May 6 that same year.
Parting shot: "There is much darkness for me now. In a few weeks the Senate trial on my impeachment will begin. Uncertainties all around me loom and at times they seem to carry me away. And there is always something more painful that accompanies those uncertainties, despite the brave front I construct for all the world to see [especially my immediate office staff], and it is supposedly the path that would lead me toward a win-win solution to the multitude of problems I face today. That is resignation. It is supposedly the better of few options available to me today. Because if I persist in fighting the charges levelled against me and I lose, I lose not only my retirement benefits, the opportunity to again serve government in equally dignified but less taxing capacities, but will also reap the shame of being the first Ombudsman to have been forcibly removed from office." (This was quoted by the Philippine Daily Inquirer from Gutierrez’s column, The Essential, published in the Business Mirror.)
What went down: The controversial coverage of the now infamous Manila Hostage Crisis of August 23, 201o put the big networks under great scrutiny and Maria Ressa punctuated the situation with a shocker. An internal letter was released by ABS-CBN Corporate Communications from Ressa, stating that she would not be renewing her contract with the company. Ressa was not only grilled in the senate for having a "conflict of interest" due to her position as a part-time contributor for CNN, she also received criticism for writing Noynoy Flunks First Test for the Wall Street Journal. She addressed none of these in her letter and elegantly proclaimed that her allegiance stays with "editorial independence."
Parting shot: "Journalism faces challenging days ahead. Value and protect your editorial independence. I wish you clarity of thought, stamina, and courage to fight for what is right and avoid the compromise of mediocrity."
What went down: The public’s reaction to the "Pilipinas Kay Ganda" campaign was initially lukewarm, but then things began to boil when netizens, like Spanky Enriquez, found it to have disturbing similarities to an old Polish advertisement. Vicente Romano initially fought for the new campaign but decided against it to defend the honor of Campaigns & Grey, the agency that handled the account. In his resignation letter, Romano pulls an Atlas and puts the weight of the entire controversy on his shoulders and also attempts a Superman by trying to save face for everyone.
Parting shot: "I now realize that an idea as big as a new country brand needs time to germinate and blossom. There are no shortcuts."
What went down: GMA News Online reported on September 21, 2012 that the tycoon "was cutting ties with the Ateneo de Manila University following disagreements over mining and the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill." The report noted that Pangilinan had been "one of the prime patrons of the school for nearly a decade" and "was also the main sponsor of the Ateneo basketball team." The report noted that Pangilinan’s move was triggered by "a letter written by Rev. Fr. Jose Magadia, Jesuit Provincial of the Philippines, in which he referred Jesuit communities to a document entitled The Golden Mean in Mining: Talking Points." Needless to say, Pangilinan was not pleased by the said points. Prior to this incident, Pangilinan had already attempted to resign from the Ateneo de Manila Board of Trustees because he had inadvertently delivered plagiarized statements (attributed to his speechwriters, but he said sorry nonetheless) in his commencement speech at the school’s 2010 graduation ceremonies. In fact Pangilinan referred to this incident in the resignation letter he sent to university president Fr. Jett Villarin.
Parting shot: "I must say that I am extremely distressed and saddened by this recent event. And in the context of two other gruesome incidents (i.e., plagiarism and the first mining blow-up) in the recent past, I believe we have come to the irretrievable point where it is best and appropriate to draw the line in the sand, to conclude that we have little or no common interest, and to say that I'd look like a fool helping an institution which opposes my conviction diametrically and unequivocally ("non-negotiable"). The logical consequences of this are: (i) each of us can pursue our advocacies freely without having to be sensitive with regard to each other's feelings; (ii) my complete and total disengagement from the Ateneo-something which, after reflection, I must confess I welcome with some relief at this stage. Time to call it a day." (In November last year, there were rumors of a Pangilinan-Ateneo reconciliation. But it wasn’t clear just what such a reconciliation entailed.)
What went down: In September 2011, one of Philippine basketball’s most recognized coaches, Cone, announced that he was leaving the Alaska Aces, the team he had coached since 1989. GMA News Online, quoting Alaska Aces assistant coach Luigi Trillo, revealed that Cone "asked to be released" from his contract so that he could "explore more options." Cone’s contract was supposed to expire in 2013. This moved shocked everyone, including team owner Wilfred Steven Uytengsu, who admitted, "It really caught me by surprise."
Parting shot: "I discussed it with my family. This process actually started weeks ago. Maybe it's just a mid-life crisis but honestly, I want to do something different. I've reached my 50s and it seems there's more out there at this point. It didn't come to me like a lightning bolt, it came on gradually. Once the decision was made and that step taken, it's probably a point of no return."
What went down: As the frontman of the one of the most successful Pinoy bands who burst into the music scene in the early 1990s, Buendia was at the top of his game. However, by 2002, ennui had set in. Eraserheads-crazy pundits say it was just a matter of time before Buendia parted ways with bandmates Raimund Marasigan, Marcus Adoro, and Buddy Zabala. Fan lore has it that Adoro was informed by Buendia via SMS that it was time for him to leave.
Parting shot: Adoro has been quoted in past interviews saying that he got a cryptic text message from Buendia, which allegedly said, "It’s time to graduate." And that was that.
THE BEAUTY QUEENS
What went down: Can you really abdicate your beauty queen crown? Apparently so.
(1) In 2008, Bb. Pilipinas World Janina San Miguel’s fame grew bigger than her tiara when her stuttering answer and broken English became the year’s anthem and a top-shared YouTube video. Despite her non-answer, however, San Miguel ended up with one of the top prizes only to resign a few months later. San Miguel cited "personal reasons" for quitting, giving her Miss World slot to a runner-up. Rumors abounded that she left due to her being unfit to represent the country internationally.
(2) Before she was Miss Universe 1st Runner-up, Janine Tugonon was runner-up to Bb. Pilipinas 2011 Shamcey Supsup. Tugonon resigned only to join again in 2012, this time bagging the top crown and ultimately ending big in Miss Universe. Preceeding her, Diane Necio, who was 1st Runner-up in 2010, also left her post to sign up for the succeeding year where she won Bb. Pilipinas International and qualified for the Top 15 of Miss International 2011.
"Take 2" candidates have always been a norm in the small world of beauty contests, but could reigning queens in search for bigger tiaras become the next pageant trend?
Parting shot: Like the true queens that they are, these contestants kept mum about their resignations.
What went down: GMA-7 filed a suit against talent Sarah Lahbati for allegedly going against her contract. In an article in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, GMA-7 stated that, as winner of their talent-search program, Lahbati is obligated to be solely under the network’s management and representation. Lahbati, however, employed the services of Annabelle Rama, the talent-manager-mother of her rumored boyfriend, Richard Gutierrez. In her Twitter account, Lahbati explained that GMA-7 was passing her off to a different agency, thus prompting her to find new management on her own. In response, GMA-7 sued Lahbati for breach of contract, citing in their complaint that the actress also walked out during shoots.
In December 2012, a month after the debacle began, Lahbati’s mother announced that her daughter was taking a monthlong leave of absence to be able to de-stress and unwind-a request denied by GMA-7. According to the PDI article, the network "disapproved the leave of absence and demanded for Lahbati to return to work and comply with her commitments," adding that the "unauthorized leave of absence have caused and continue to cause damages in its business operations." GMA-7 asked the court to order the actress to commit to the contract and pay P7 million worth of liquidated damages, P1 million for attorney fees, and P500,000 for litigation expenses.
In January, however, Lahbati ignored the issue and flew to Switzerland, allegedly to continue her studies.
Parting shot: Just a partial quote from her (last) Twitter statement on the issue before going AWOL in Switzerland: "My statements does (sic) not have malicious intention, I’m just telling the truth, because the people deserve to know the truth about the system of Gma Artist Center. I ask help from GMA news to also investigate the truth behind Gma Artist Center deals with ICONS. I’m not against the whole network of GMA but the system of GMA artist center..."
What went down: Did he resign or was he chucked out? Let’s review.
On May 4, 2010, Willie Revillame on a live episode of Wowowee gave ABS-CBN an ultimatum, demanding that management fire entertainment columnist Jobert Sucaldito or he would resign. After ABS-CBN overlooked his on-air tirades, Revillame started a self-imposed sabbatical. He then sent a letter to ABS-CBN management (which was suspiciously leaked to the media) begging to be released from his contract with the network, and explaining that his early outbursts were due to his conflicting emotions with the network. After a series of substitute hosts, a few weeks later on July 30, Wowowee aired its final episode. Before anyone could grieve for the hit noontime variety show, however, Revillame surprised viewers by fronting a nearly identical show, Wil Time Bigtime, on rival network, TV5. Suffice it to say that ABS-CBN and Revillame parted ways.
Parting shot: "I know that all these have caused so much strain on our relations and I would like to save the situation by asking that I be released as a talent of the station. This way, I will have the much-needed space and time to contemplate on my direction in life and, at the same time, maintain the relationships I have built within the network, which are all worth preserving."
Art by Warren Espejo, with photos from PEP.ph and SPIN.ph