Sure signs of a fake leader
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2008-10-30

The hallmark of a nation’s great leader is the ability to enlighten and to direct a people towards the right strategy that will bring them to the Promised Land.

By this yardstick, history has reserved special pedestals for national leaders like 20th century notables Franklin D. Roosevelt of the US, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk of Turkey, Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore and Deng Hsiao Ping of China.

Roosevelt led the US through the depression and World War II. Ataturk founded the modern Republic of Turkey from the ashes of the collapsed Ottoman Empire. Lee Kuan Yew led Singapore from a backward city state when it acquired independence from the Malaysian Confederation into the financial and IT center that it is today. Deng Hsiao Ping brought China to adopt capitalist methods that spurred the economic growth and momentum it enjoys today.

Sadly, we Filipinos have had the benefit of only two leaders who had the right vision for the country but failed nonetheless to lead us to the Promised Land — mainly because of health reasons. I refer to Apolinario Mabini and the biggest what-could-have-been of Philippine history — Ferdinand E. Marcos. Mabini and Marcos had the right vision and direction for our country.

Mabini’s health prevented him from pursuing that vision more vigorously as well as denied him access to the top leadership position. A paralytic, no matter how sublime, cannot hope to be the top leader of a revolution.

In the case of Marcos, his vision to establish a New Society lost steam after he started suffering from chronic kidneys in 1976. Other than that, Marcos betrayed his own goal by creating his own oligarchy.

But if you check what the New Society was all about (it centers on the removal of the oligarchy), then you’ll realize that those New Society goals are still what we have to attain these days if we are to reach our Promised Land.

Many are hopeful that the 2010 presidential elections will usher our nation towards an era of prosperity and social justice. For that era to dawn, Filipinos need a leader who will enlighten and point the right direction.

To enlighten includes the awakening of the Filipinos to a full appreciation of where we came from, the reasons for our mistakes and where we should be headed. When the nation and its leader are united in appreciating their problem and are committed to the set direction, then the national momentum to progress is created.

What should concern all Filipinos is that at a desperate time like this when even OFW and call center jobs are threatened by a global recession — we are not hearing any presidential wannabe offer a comprehensive plan for the country. What we see proliferate in media are presidential wannabes trying to score awareness and recall points among potential voters via off-strategy selling points.

By now, many would have seen Senator Loren Legarda’s television spots where she positions herself as a crusader against graft and corruption. We also know of another presidential wannabe who is positioning himself as a crusader against graft and corruption and we refer to Senator Panfilo Lacson of ‘The case to nowhere’ fame.

Graft and corruption is a perennial Philippine problem and we all want to be rid of it. But curbing graft and corruption is a not the strategic solution to solving the Philippine poverty problem!

Graft and corruption stems from the patronage system that takes its roots in the oligarchy. Catching 99% of the crooks won’t solve the nation’s problem simply because we have not rooted out the oligarchy that feeds and promotes the Wealth Gap.

The truth is the sum total of monies made from graft and corruption cannot even alleviate poverty here substantially.

The leadership we need is one that can inspire, promote and manage greater productivity (create more wealth) and ensure that social justice prevails so that every Filipino gets a fair share of that wealth. That far outweighs the qualifications of a graft buster offering himself or herself for president.

If the task is simply to catch and send crooks to jail, then what we need is a good DoJ Secretary (not a president) who will make full use of the NBI’s investigative powers to ferret out every crook in government when the slightest hint of graft and corruption surfaces.

Selecting a graft buster for our 2010 president is as way off-strategy as selecting a husband because he is an excellent house cleaner. This of course extends the benefit of the doubt to those who promise to eliminate graft and corruption that they are honest folks themselves. But are they?

Promising to clean the Aegean stables — as corrupt governments are usually characterized — is a cheap sales pitch. It postures as qualifications for the top post while giving the impression that one is clean. It also panders and takes advantage of the people’s ignorance, their inability to see and understand the real issues.

Presidential candidates who subscribe to this cheap sales pitch present three reasons why we should reject them.

First, they show that they have not understood the real national problem.

Second, they manifest inadequacy to offer the right solution to the core problem of the country.

Third, they do not provide enlightenment at all but exploits the ignorance of the masses. This is sure sign of a crooked mind.

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