Monthly Archives: January 2010

Nuisance Sister of a Candidate

First it was Kris Aquino’s marital problems made public due to her confrontation with her husband’s supposed “admirer” that caught the media’s attention. This was followed by the leak of the Senate’s Ethics committee report on the “C-5 re-routing, insertion, over-pricing” controversy censuring Villar for unethical behavior. Then there was the filing of a strong protest with the Comelec by the Liberal Party on the inclusion of KBL Acosta as a legitimate candidate for President. (The inclusion of Acosta dislodges Aquino’s name from top of the ballot’s list  of Prsidential candidates to choose from printed in alphabetical order.) Soon after came  the junking of the petition to disqualify Erap as promulgated by the Comelec’s Second Division; and more recently, the Live coverage of the Senate hearing on a couple of propositions regarding the ethics issue against Villar that turned into a shouting match between the anti and pro Villar factions and a walk out by Senator Santiago after she castigated the entire senate, Senator Enrile in particular. Enrile in turn accused Villar of attempting to bribe him in connection with the same Ethics report with Villar vehemently denying this.  All of these developments occurred in a span of only a week. When the official campaign period begins, the candidates will be allowed to use the V word (vote) and their commercials, no longer “infomercials,”  will inevitably be more pointed and direct. With more than three and a half months to go before the May elections, the old dictum, “in politics a week is a long time,”  rings truer as the campaign begins to heat up.  Unless there’s been a miraculous change in the behavior of most politicians, expect to witness nasty mudslinging coming from the various political camps making candidates vulnerable to drastic changes in the way they are perceived and, consequently, steep fluctuations in subsequent surveys to come. If a week is, indeed, a long time in politics, three and a half months can seem like a  lifetime; and in this country, especially, anything can happen…short of  presidential candidates Acosta and De los Reyes leading the pack in the next survey. Abangan

It would seem the so-called youth vote is again beginning to gel after it fragmented when Senator Chiz Escudero withdrew from the Presidential race. The reason for this is the youth’s growing attraction to the candidacy of former Secretary Gilbert Teodoro. What’s happening is that every student campus Teodoro visits gains him more and more admirers and committed supporters among the students that are able to see him and listen to him. That should not be surprising because Teodoro is the most articulate among the presidential candidates and has the best grasp of the issues and problems besetting our country today. His physical demeanor, his good looks and that of his wife, of course, also add to the attraction. The youth vote, if it can be harnessed to act in unison as a solid voting bloc, is, by sheer number, bigger and more powerful than any other sector, political party or machinery existing in our political landscape. The youth, comprising close to 60% of the registered voters, may yet be Teodoro’s key to victory, even more so than the much touted Lakas-Kampi CMD machinery which, on the other hand, could provide him the edge in case of a close fight. It would be extreme folly for his opponents to count him out this early in the game.

As part of the preparations for the procession of the Black Nazarene that took place last January 9, 2010, the PNP announced that they had installed a GPS device on the float carrying the statue of the Black Nazarene to know its exact location at any given time. That’s like trying to determine where a full-grown elephant is within a basketball court. This was a procession involving hundreds of thousands of frenzied devotees screaming and jostling to get as close as possible to the float traveling at a snail’s pace speed of about 1 km/hr, and weaving through streets covering a radius of not more than 10 km. The event was covered Live on radio and TV.  Ahhhsiguro naman hindi na kailangan ng space-based global navigation satellite system to know its precise location, no? Meanwhile, three procession-related deaths were reported that day. GPS?! Riiight! Nice try, though.

It’s quite clear that Kris Aquino has the propensity, proclivity and insatiable appetite for taking attention away from whoever in her family is in the news – during her mother’s term as President; during her mother’s illness; during the wake and burial of the former President; and now, during the campaign of her brother Noynoy.  Based on that pattern, this won’t be the end we will be hearing of her love life and tribulations for the duration of the campaign period; and, if Noynoy wins, expect to be watching more of her  “reality show” in the next six years.  The problem with that is the narrative is neither unique, remarkable or educational; the story is rather common to, and typical of many couples’ quarrels minus the celebrity status. It has little entertainment value in itself if not for her being the daughter of Cory and Ninoy, a TV celebrity (thanks to being daughter of then Prez Aquino when she debuted in the industry), and now, sister of presidential candidate and survey  front-runner, Senator Noynoy Aquino.  The real tragedy in this drama is not to be found in her story but in the story within the story: why media gives it the attention that it does.





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There are a growing number of people drawn in by the wave of sympathy for the Aquino family upon the death of former President Aquino that morphed into support for Noynoy’s bid for the Presidency, that are now having second thoughts about his candidacy. The newfound doubts and misgivings stem from the fact that to date, five months into the death of Mrs. Aquino, they have yet to hear a single argument in favor of Noynoy that does not mention his mother or father.  They lament the fact that while his opponents present to the electorate their respective track records, accomplishments, and vision,  praises given to Noynoy by his supporters have little to do with him but  are, rather, traits attributed to his parents. It is true that emotions are quicker to react than the intellect  to any given situation, so it is the hope of Noynoy’s handlers that the emotions that accompanied the death of the former President will still be the in the minds and hearts of the majority come election day. If by May 10, 2010, Noynoy’s handlers are able to make Cory’s death seem like it had happened “only yesterday” (they will be counting on their ally, ABS-CBN, to do their part), then their campaign strategy would have succeeded. Their work is cut out for them.

According to a friend of ours, it was reported in a tabloid that a certain Jesus Nazareno, who claimed to be the “son” of the Black Nazarene, has asked the Liberal Party to advise Noynoy Aquino to withdraw from the race so that he (Mr. Nazareno) can replace him as the Liberal Party’s standard bearer. Nazareno explained that since the procession of “his father” was larger than that of Cory’s, that should make him more qualified than Noynoy to be President and able to attract more voters. Well, we guess that since we are all children of God (Jesus, the Black Nazarene), that should qualify Mr. Nazareno as, indeed, a son of the Black Nazarene. Only in the Philippines!

If one were to look objectively at each Presidential candidate’s intellectual capability, track record, and credibility, it should not be difficult to conclude that Gibo Teodoro is the most qualified among all of them to be the next President of the Philippines and, one might add, has the potential of a great leader. Sadly, voters, and not a few, will resist voting for him if only to send a message to GMA that they have not forgotten the numerous accusations of graft and corruption involving the first family. Many also still remember her involvement in the alleged cheating (Hello Garci) in the last Presidential elections. And for these reasons, it is a pity that the country would have missed-out on the chance of good if not great leadership from a candidate whose only fault is his association with GMA. There’s no other way to put it: his affiliation with GMA is proving to be the “kiss of death.”  Gibo will have to convince the electorate that a vote for him does not translate to forgiveness of GMA’s “sins.”  How he manages that, the gentleman that he is, might require the cooperation of GMA herself which in turn will require a large dose of humility from her. In other words, she will have to accept public utterances coming  from Gibo that assures the voters that if he wins, he will not interfere or intercede  on her behalf in the graft and corruption charges that may be filed against her or her family after she has stepped down. His work, requiring the most delicate political “balancing act,” is, likewise, cut out for him.

It is beyond comprehension how some people try to hold Congressman Ferdinand Marcos II (Bongbong) “responsible” for his father’s declaration of Martial Law almost 40 years ago especially now that he is running for Senator. Bongbong was barely fifteen years old when Martial Law was declared in 1972 not to mention he was in England attending to his schooling, perhaps, worrying about tickets for the  Rolling Stones concert as most youngsters his age were concerned with or the likes of it. As for the entire period of the controversial Marcos Rule, it would be best to leave to historians the rendering of a dispassionate accounting of that period in the history of our nation. Bongbong Marcos, in fairness, has declared that he is ready to be judged by the voters not based on anyone’s actions nor even on his father’s achievements, but based on his own performance the last 15 years he has been in public office – nine years as Governor of Ilocos Norte and six years as Representative of the 2nd district of the same province. His sterling performance during those years in office and the enviable transformation of his province under his leadership speak for themselves, and should the voters decide based on that record, then he will surely be elected to the Senate in the coming elections, half a century after his father was first elected to the same post. As the sun rises, so also will the son.

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