The price and hazards of underestimating P-Noy
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2013-01-20

The biggest mistake of the political opponents of President Benigno S. Aquino III (P-Noy) was to underestimate him. They underestimated him to the point of resorting to cheap shots like calling him ABNOY and his so-called “underperformance” as NOYNOYING.

Not even into his third year in office, P-Noy has chalked a track record that has not been seen in this country. The best proof of P-Noy’s achievements is seen in the rare instance when there’s no real opposition party competing against the administration party in the 2013 national elections.

UNA (United Nationalist Alliance) has the best chances of playing the role of the opposition party but they refuse to identify themselves as opposed to P-Noy. They must have sensed that – unlike previous administrations that proposed charter change – people are now clamoring for a charter change in order to allow P-Noy to have a second term and follow through with his accomplishments. However, P-Noy, like his mother Cory, will step down as president in 2016.

The UNA is in such an awkward position and it becomes worse when they have loose cannons like Rep. Toby Tiangco shooting his mouth off and calling the administration as “repressive” for the cases being filed against Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia. Tiangco should be taught that there’s repression only when the cases are manufactured and baseless. That’s not the case with Gwen Garcia.

Tiangco has been speaking like an opposition party spokesman when UNA refuses to be called the opposition. Is Tiangco is authorized by UNA to speak the way he does? What Tiangco has been saying is incongruous to the fact that the top star of UNA – Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay – is a member of the P-Noy cabinet and has very close ties to the Aquino family. It’s doubted if VP Binay approves such pronouncements and comments being made by Tiangco.

UNA’s political objective is to capture the presidency in 2016 and VP Binay is their best bet. VP Binay has the highest approval rating among the top government officials although this is dependent on his being a member of the P-Noy team. By being a P-Noy cabinet secretary, VP Binay can rightfully claim in 2016 that he contributed to the achievements of P-Noy. If P-Noy takes UNA spokesman Tiangco’s opposition stance seriously, and asks VP Binay to leave the cabinet – that would trigger the erosion of Binay’s popularity.

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The Lakas-CMD of former president Fidel V. Ramos has wisely disassociated itself from the coalition of former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Gloria’s Kampi is no longer a force to reckon with. The Nacionalista Party (NP) went a step further and allied itself with the administration party.

In less than three years, P-Noy has chalked achievements that will be hard to knock down. The stock market has breached the over 6,100 index. P44 something, the Peso is now P40 something against the US dollar. Our tourism is booming and we’re now included in the countries to visit in 2013, as listed by the New York Times. Under P-Noy, our S&P ratings have been upped several times and will likely make investor grade in due time. P-Noy has brought the MILF to signing the first major step towards a lasting peace that will trigger the development in Mindanao. We have never had the level of positive publicity in the international press, as what we’re now getting.

Under P-Noy, crime doesn’t go unpunished. Up to this time, there has not been a financial scandal involving P-Noy or his cabinet. The corruption now is found more in the local level where local tyrants promote selfish interests over those of the country. The military has seen the scrapping of the shameful “pabaon” system and other corrupt practices. P-Noy is building every soldier a home of his own. It’s just a matter to time that bad cops will eventually be weeded out and indicted.

The DAANG MATUWID (straight path) of P-Noy has paid big dividends. Notice how there’s so much funds now when we need enormous amounts for the effects of weather-related disasters, like TyphoonPablo. These are monies that could have been lost due to corruption. Under P-Noy, these monies are wisely spent on education, infrastructure, the Conditional Cash Transfer Program, disaster needs and so forth.

Over 70 percent of Filipinos approve the performance of P-Noy and trust him. This is a record setting mark for a president nearing his third year in office. Let me add – there is genuine affection for this president. Popularity might get people to vote for you. Affection will make people fight with you. Nobody in the Philippine political spectrum can go up against P-Noy today and his endorsement will be an enormous boost to one who gets it.

P-Noy has raised the bar of Philippine politics – from choosing among popular candidates to choosing between good and bad governance. The usual mudslinging or cheap shots will not have any effect against an administration perceived to be this clean and seen as this effective.

Remembering Lito ‘Spar’ Puyat

The news about the passing of Lito “Spar” Puyat – the only Filipino to become FIBA (International Basketball Federation) president – had saddened me. I worked with Lito and his ever reliable and amiable man Friday Moying Martelino in helping stage the 1978 World Basketball Championship here. I was then in charge of the advertising and public relations of SEIKO, the global watch giant. SEIKO provided the timing devices for the games, and these conformed to the new standards for displaying one-tenth of a second.

I can never forget the experience of having brought the owner of SEIKO, Mr. Reijiro Hattori, to a private dinner that Lito had hosted at the penthouse of Manila Bankers Life Building along Ayala Avenue. By the time Reijiro Hattori and I arrived at the dinner, Lito was already “enlivened” by spirits one gets from a Scotch bottle.

Reijiro Hattori wasn’t prepared to sit beside the FIBA president who was in such a condition. The Japanese, prim and proper as they are, are not used to unexpected situations in the extreme. Lito wasn’t obnoxious in any way. He mind was just flying off in so many different directions.

Lito was handed an award by Moying Martelino, a medallion, to give to Reijiro Hattori for SEIKO’s contributions to the staging of the games. Suddenly, Lito was giving it to me instead! He eventually recovered his senses after it was whispered to him for whom the award was intended, and he finally gave it to Reijiro Hattori.

The Scotch whisky industry will experience a slight decline in sales with the passing of Lito Puyat.

* * *

Shakespeare: “Madness in great ones must not unwatched go.”

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A great disservice to P-Noy

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