Saturday, June 27, 2009

And the list goes on

The second ANC Leadership Forum is interesting on a very different level than the first. In this round, the guests were Former President Joseph Estrada, Sen. Loren Legarda, Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay and MMDA Chairman Bayani Fernando. Sen. Panfilo Lacson was supposed to be there but he backed out again and this time he also announced that he was withdrawing his presidential bid for 2010, citing his lack of funds as his reason. However, many are speculating that he struck a deal with the government that he would back out from running for president in exchange for easing him out of the Dacer-Corbito murder case. I wouldn't be surprised if this is true because of the timing of his announcement -- Cesar Mancao, who is supposed to be the state witness for the trial just arrived in the country then. Anyhow, the leadership forum pushed through without Ping and the University of the Philippines School of Economics was jampacked with students and teachers alike wanting to witness the forum live. If you haven't seen it yet, you can do so here.

Listening to the guests, you would really see their different visions for the country. Estrada just wanted to continue what he started when he was president, Binay wanted to replicate Makati's success on a national scale, Fernando wants to exercise political will by implementing the laws that are already existing and Legarda wants to address specific national issues through programs. Of the four, Fernando is the only administration candidate while the rest are opposition. Aside from being the lone woman among the guests, Legarda is also the only one not having experience serving on the executive level (being senator, she served on the legislative level). Here's what I think about each of the guests in this batch:

Jojo Binay - He comes as a no-nonsense type of guy. He is really serious in running for president, should the opposition pick him. And if not, then he is content with running for VP. This to me is a sign that he really means business. He is proud of what he has achieved in and for Makati, and he is sure that he can replicate this success on the whole country. This is where I begin to doubt because he said that the way that this can be done is by decentralizing government and giving maximum power and responsibility to the mayors of each municipality. This would work in an ideal world, where the mayor would be the exemplary model of his/her community and would really use the government funds for the betterment and overall development of his/her municipality. But not all mayors are like him, or Gordon, or Hagedorn (Palawan mayor). Most would probably divert the funds to their personal pockets (I'm not saying that the mentioned ideal mayors are not or have not been corrupt, but their performance and what they have done for their cities outweighs whatever flaws they have, and in this society, that is already acceptable), build their own private armies, rule their place as if they were royalty and reign endlessly. Such a dismal outlook but at the same time, so probably true.

Erap Estrada - Even before this guy speaks, you would already hear the anticipated giggles of the audience that threaten to erupt (pun intended) into bursting laughter by the time he finishes his sentence. I don't think he is insulted by this because that is actually his intent -- to make the audience laugh first at his deliberate jokes, then give his serious answer. I guess this is the charisma that Erap holds. The common man can relate to him because he is the poster boy for the typical Filipino. Even though we are faced with life's struggles, we still manage to take things lightly and have a few laughs now and then. We have never taken Erap seriously yet we made him our president. Try to explain how that happened; I know I can't! But going back to the forum, you'll be surprised that Erap actually has something to say. I was amazed by the statistics he was able to enumerate and I do not doubt his compassion for the poor and for the principles he stood for regarding the US bases and the terrorists and anti-military groups in Mindanao. Sadly all his words about helping the poor never translated into action and just remained at that ... merely words. So after all that has been said and not done, he should not be running for president anymore. He has had his chance and he wasn't able to prove himself. It's time to give that chance to others.

Bayani Fernando - All I can say is that this guy is clueless. He believes that the administration should pick him as its presidential bet but this forum revealed that he should never be considered in the first place. He had a lot of bloopers and it was evident that he wants to run just for the position and not because he has brilliant ideas in mind for the country. Whatever good things he has implemented in Marikina as mayor did not do well when he applied them to Metro Manila. The pink fences and cement barriers are motor hazards and a site for sore eyes; the U-turns created more traffic and accidents than intersections; and his clearing of sidewalk vendors created more enemies for him than likely voters. I especially hate what he did to the Commonwealth Ave. area approaching SandiganBayan. You have five lanes, three of which are taken by the U-turn slot. Compare the number of vehicles going in the straight direction and those making U-turns and you will see that this is a very stupid idea (apparently, I'm not the only one who thinks this is a stupid idea, just read item #2 in this post). A stupid idea made by a stupid man who is going to make the country look stupid if we vote for him.

Loren Legarda - I would like to see this woman win the presidency, just to see if she can pull off all her wonderful ideas for the country. She is so meticulous, perfectionist and full of pride that I'm willing to bet she would not dare do anything bad or let anything bad happen to the country during her term, lest it tarnish her name and reputation. I'm thinking she will do anything and everything to make this country as beautiful, as glorious and as rich as it could ever be, if only to prove that she is the best president the Philippines could ever have. Still, I don't think that we could risk having her as president. She reminds me too much of Mar Roxas, who is overly ambitious, and Imelda Marcos whose desire for a beautiful Philippines drove us to become neck-deep in foreign debt. Also I fear that she will become another Gloria who became all-too-consumed with power that she never wants to leave it (political analysts say that her plans of running for a congressional seat after her term as president is a step towards becoming prime minister, should the charter change push through). Is hunger for power a trait of all Assumptionistas? For the sake of our country, I hope not.

So far, that's it for the ANC Leadership forums, unless more presidentiable wanna-bes surface. Clearly, Senator Manny Villar and Vice President Noli de Castro snubbed the leadership forum. For whatever reasons, we don't know why. Perhaps they see no reason for joining the forum since they're already leading the pack in terms of the survey ratings. Better to ride on their popularity than to reveal their plans for the country? Or maybe they don't have clear plans that's why they're just going to bank on their popularity? Too bad because I'm thinking Villar can also do good for the country, but if he doesn't join the forums or the debates, how can we be truly sure? I believe forums such as these can level the playing field for the aspirants. Those who don't have money for informercials and billboard ads can be recognized and remembered by the people if they prove they have a head on their shoulders. At the same time, moneyed aspirants can be proven to be whether worthy of the people's votes or just merely popular. On that note, I pray this fervent prayer, God save the Philippines!

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