Did admin team overlook a powerful advantage?
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2012-10-04
To many Facebook users and friends, both the administration and UNA (United Nationalist Alliance) senate lineups are unattractive. They bemoan the predominance of the so-called traditional politicians. Many of them are perceived as antithetical to the DAANG MATUWID (straight path) that symbolizes the reform program of President Benigno S. Aquino (P-Noy).

They cannot be blamed for expecting more from the P-Noy administration. The P-Noy administration delivered us from deep cynicism and transformed our economy to what’s now popularly perceived worldwide as the economy to invest in.

Among my Facebook friends, the inclusion of Ramon “Jun” Magsaysay Jr., Bam Aquino, Sen. Koko Pimentel, and Risa Hontiveros are popularly received as congruent to DAANG MATUWID. The rest of the administration senate candidates have been given mixed reviews, some seen as partly good and bad while some are seen as mostly bad. Topping the MOSTLY BAD category were Senator Antonio Trillanes IV and Jamby Madrigal.

The UNA senatorial lineup is not as fortunate as the administration in having some popularly perceived candidates. Perhaps it’s because the UNA presents a mixed bag that confuses voters as to where they’re really coming from and where they’re going. In one UNA get-together, prominently shown on the front pages of major newspapers were PDP-Laban Chairman and UNA Vice President, Jose “Peping” Cojuangco, Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile, former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada and former Senator Dick Gordon. In the UNA senate lineup is Rep. Mitos Magsaysay, the staunch defender of now detained former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA).

What’s wrong with the UNA picture? Wasn’t Peping Cojuangco a major player in the ouster of former president Erap? Erap ousted Dick Gordon from his Subic chairmanship and this proved to be a very emotional episode in the political career of Dick Gordon. Would that not confuse people why Peping Cojuangco and Dick Gordon are now seen as political comrades of Erap? Migz Zubiri and Mitos Magsaysay have no business being in a group that was staunchly anti-GMA and yet they’re there to further confuse and disappoint people.

Grace Poe Llamanzares would have been a popular candidate but that’s until UNA pulled that stunt of making her a common candidate. Llamanzares being an Aquino appointee, she’s naturally suited to run in the administration senate lineup. It’s good she realized that being made a common candidate doesn’t guarantee more votes. In fact, the confusion could lead to diminished votes. In marketing, confusion of what a brand delivers leads to the weakening of the brand. All market-leading brands are clearly defined in what they deliver to the consumers. When a body soap brand starts to be perceived as a hair shampoo, that brand is running on limited time.

The UNA common candidate bit finds rhyme in the UNA claim that they’re not an opposition party to the Aquino administration. Of course, they cannot afford to posture as opposition lest Vice President Jojo Binay lose his cabinet post and the source of his high ratings. As of now, it’s to UNA’s gain to posture as a support base of the popular Aquino administration.

Among my Facebook friends are Raffy Alunan, Rafael “Bing” Azanza, Mayo Lopez, Meiling Sicam, Raissa Robles, Maritess Vitug, Greg Macabenta and many other worthy political observers. Like me, they’ve seen the finest and worst moments of our history of the last 50 years. All of us are united in hoping that P-Noy would use his political clout and immense popularity to offer the nation a senate lineup that clearly typifies the reforms that he seeks to institutionalize.

We Filipinos should be united in hoping that — just like the phenomenal 1986 and 2010 presidential elections — the 2013 will be fought along ideological lines. In 1986, the ideological battle was fought between democracy and freedom versus dictatorship. In 2010, it was the Spirit of EDSA — reform — versus the GMA regime’s scandal-ridden track record and lack of transparency.

In 2013, we would have wanted to see administration candidates that clearly personify DAANG MATUWID to fight the traditional politicians that have been responsible for the downward spiral of our country for the last 50 years. Instead of capitalizing on that psychological edge, the administration balked and compromised with the fielding of the same traditional politician types.

It’s our misfortune that when we have good leaders, they’re usually the type who would abide by democratic ways and means. P-Noy could have easily dictated to the Liberal Party to select only those who typify DAANG MATUWID but he wouldn’t do that. He preferred to respect the opinion of other party leaders, counting his vote as merely one, like that of the others. It’s our bad presidents who have the penchant for dictating the shape of things to come.

My sentiments about Trillanes and Madrigal were expressed in a text message to P-Noy last week where it stated towards the end of the text message: “With Trillanes in the lineup already, that is already one loose cannon too many.” P-Noy replied that he has to give due importance to the opinion of others in the coalition who guarantees her (Jamby) behavior.
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Shakespeare: “Madness in great ones must not unwatched go.”

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