This early we’re seeing cracks in the UNA (United Democratic Alliance) organization. Their act of making such a big fuss about the three “adopted” senatorial candidates — Loren Legarda, Chiz Escudero and Grace Poe — strikes most folks as the whining of a kid whose candy was taken.
Why can’t UNA accept the reality that Legarda, Escudero and Poe opted to cast their lot with the administration instead of them? The more they whine — like my friend Jun Lozada is fond of whining — the more they look pathetic for being unable to present a credible alternative to the senate bets of President Benigno S. Aquino III (P-Noy).
If you know Philippine politics and understand its dynamics, you know that Legarda, Escudero and Poe simply made the smart choice. The major factors that they have had to consider when choosing between Team Pinoy, the administration senate ticket, and UNA are, as follows:
1. The logistics factor. There’s a big edge when you’re running with the administration. You have more rallies and these will be better prepared. The administration machinery is unmatched.
2. The P-Noy factor. If this is a referendum on P-Noy’s first two years in office, there are several indicators that it will be a favorable one. P-Noy remains popular and trusted. People are awed by his brand of integrity and good governance. Even the foreign media, usually critical and used to calling us the sick man of Asia, have been profuse in praising the turnaround that P-Noy had accomplished in such a short time.
3. The UNA baggage. There’s no denying that UNA carries with it a heavy political baggage. One of its so-called three kings, Joseph “Erap” Estrada, is a convicted plunderer. Another, Juan Ponce-Enrile, has been dragged into a serious question of fund misuse in the senate regarding Christmas bonuses that he gave senators last year. Senator Miriam Santiago and senate candidate Ramon Montano cited Enrile for injecting a lot of falsehoods in his memoirs. The slip in ranking of Jacky Enrile could be a reflection of these recent issues against his father. UNA carries remnants of the unlamented Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) regime.
If you were candidates Legarda, Escudero and Poe — you’ve got to be intellectually challenged to decide to cast your lot with UNA. UNA should just let this issue go just as they should also let their spokesman, Rep. Toby Tiangco, go. This issue and Tiangco’s foot in mouth pronouncements are making the UNA ship sink at a faster rate.
Take the case of Tiangco. From Day 1 he was inclined to position UNA as the alternative and opposition to the administration team. He forgot that their main man and hope for the 2016 presidential elections, my friend and kumpadre Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay, plays a major part in the administration and would want to remain in P-Noy’s cabinet until 2016. The more Tiangco tried to push UNA towards an opposition stance, the more awkward UNA looked in the public eye. Maybe the problem with Tiangco is that his center of gravity is said to be Bongbong Marcos, a hidden 2016 card.
UNA says that they support P-Noy but in the next breath they proceed to cite alleged administration shortcomings. They’ve got to be dense if they think that Filipinos wouldn’t see through that. During elections, Filipinos seek candidates with virtues and speaking with a forked tongue is just not seen and accepted as a virtue. Worse, Filipinos will not vote for candidates who are seen as speaking with a forked tongue because that’s already an indication that they can’t be relied upon to fulfill their promises.
In the January 19‑30 Pulse Asia poll that was released to media last February 12, Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile suffered the biggest drop in approval rating, from 73 percent to 46 percent. Compared to P-Noy’s 12 percent drop, VP Binay suffered a 13 percent drop. This should serve as an alert for UNA of the volatility of their public standing. P-Noy has been able to recover from dips in approval ratings and there’s no reason to believe that cannot happen again with the improvements all over the country.
Last February 12, the Japanese Export Trade Organization (JETRO) released the results of a survey they conducted in October and November 2012 that aimed to compare the business competitiveness of the Philippines vis-à-vis other Asian economies such as China, Myanmar, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and India. The Philippines topped the survey.
Our high score was largely due to the very promising performance of the country’s export oriented business with a 72.4 percent profit compared to China’s 5th place ranking with a 54.6 percent profit, and India with 55.3 percent profitability rating. The Philippines also performed well in terms of good management. The JETRO survey also showed that companies have the least problems here when recruiting general staff.
JETRO is just the latest of the many international organizations that have been praising the performance of the Philippine economy under P-Noy. Between them and the sinister opposition here, along with their paid hacks, Filipinos will know whom to believe and trust.
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Shakespeare: “Madness in great ones must not unwatched go.”