Mar Roxas can become president sans negative campaigning
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2008-09-23

I have three reasons for writing this column.

One — I want to see the dawn of a new type of political campaigning in the Philippines where candidates, especially presidential candidates, sell themselves to the voters on the basis of real values that they can offer.

What we want to remove from our political exercises is the destructive type of campaigning where a candidate wins because he succeeded in making his rival candidate appear less palatable — selling himself as the lesser evil. That is how we ended up with the present evil in the land!

Two — I want to advise a still unannounced presidential candidate I respect and admire (and I won’t mind it if he becomes president) that he can and should concentrate his energies on projecting himself and the positive values he can offer the voters in 2010. I refer to Senator Mar Roxas of the Liberal Party (LP).

I was very disappointed to see Mar Roxas get involved in last week’s demolition job that was done on Senate President Manuel “Manny” Villar. My September 18 column (“Another Panfilo Lacson dud”) expressed my views regarding that baseless tirade against Villar where neither crime nor evidence were presented and established.

Mar Roxas has the credentials and the pedigree (if you’re the type who believes in pedigree as presidential qualification) to make a positive pitch as a serious presidential candidate. He does not need to resort to demolition jobs like the one Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson is doing on Manny Villar who happens to lead all Senate presidentiables in public trust ratings.

Maybe Sen. Lacson has nothing better to offer the 2010 voters and therefore needs to resort to negative campaigning. Lacson does not have the credentials to convince voters that he can make the economy boom. Cops are not known to have that skill. Lacson has his image of bloody hands hounding him, a terrible handicap for a presidential candidate.

But Mar Roxas does not have any such handicaps. Mar has no business getting involved in negative campaigning. Live by the gun and you die by the gun. Provoke your political opponents and they’ll find a way to dig up some negatives that can be used against you.

Three — I want to promote the evolution of a new type of voters who will elect public officials on the basis of who offers the best values for the voter, the community and the country.

To be quite frank — and your Chair Wrecker has never been otherwise — I was disgusted at what Senator Panfilo Lacson staged last week when he delivered that ‘Road to Nowhere’ speech.

I was disgusted because the emerging candidates for the 2010 elections offer the national voters an excellent array of presidentiables. Senate President Manuel Villar, Senator Mar Roxas, Senator Richard Gordon, National Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro, Quezon City Mayor Sonny Belmonte, Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay — they are six of the most qualified presidential candidates who can turn around our sinking country.

Sec. Teodoro and Mayor Belmonte do not appear to be interested in the 2010 presidency but they have been in many people’s wish list and I can only agree to that. In fact, my personal choice for 2010 president would zero in on Gordon, Belmonte, and Binay.

Gordon, Belmonte, and Binay have excellent track records in local governance. Gordon has Subic as his showcase — how he made a success story out of a disaster zone created by the US naval base shutdown. Belmonte turned around a bankrupt Quezon City on his very first year as Mayor and has kept it financially healthy for the past 8 years. Binay has all those benefits that Makati residents enjoy to entice the national voters with.

I have always advocated for voters to look at candidates with proven ability in local governance for their choice of the Chief Executive of the land. In the US, there has been a steady preference for governors over legislators in the search for a Chief Executive. The current US campaign is one of the few after World War II where there isn’t a governor among the presidential candidates of the Democratic and Republican parties.

When you have such a fine array of candidates, as those now being lined up for 2010, you simply hate to see the political campaign degenerate into a “Karl Rove” type of mud slinging. Karl Rove is the negative campaign specialist of US President George W. Bush who was largely credited for the Bush 2000 and 2004 poll victories.

There is more than enough poison in our society already and that is an understatement. Anarchy rides all over the land. Just watch the primetime news for a week and you’ll see the extent of the anarchy. Filipinos are killing each other for the silliest reasons. That can only reflect how low human life is now regarded in Philippine society.

The current regime, in fact, is the biggest promoter of the anarchy. Anarchy is best served when laws become subjective and selective, when courts of law are no longer trusted by the people.

If the Filipinos do not arrest this build up of toxic attitude in our society, we will open ourselves to the severe prescriptions of history — revolution by the suffering lower class, civil war between political combatants or be overrun by superpowers who will not refuse the temptation to take advantage of a disunited nation sitting on land and seas that are rich with natural resources.

It is high time that presidential elections become opportunities for charging the air with positive vibes and real hope that is founded on well-conceived programs that are being offered by candidates with the qualifications and integrity to implement a great vision.

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Election lawyer: PCOS critics should put up or shut up

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A great disservice to P-Noy

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