If the SWS and Pulse Asia poll organizations are undertaking their January surveys on the presidential candidates this week, besieged Senator Manny Villar will be lucky to be rating 15%. That’s because he can dodge the Senate probe on his ethics case but he cannot dodge the Court of Public Opinion which will render judgment on him whether he shows up or not.
Villar has displayed rating volatility in the past. Now, factor the mega negative fallout of the Majority Report of the Senate (available on this link: http://www.scribd.com/doc/25470164/Enrile-Committee-Report) on his ethics case and Villar’s January ratings can easily crash by as much as 30%.
From a 33% rating in the June 19-22, 2009 SWS survey, Villar went down to the lower 20s in the succeeding months. He only managed to hit over 30% again in the SWS December 27-28, 2009 survey that was commissioned by Representative Ronnie Zamora, a Villar ally. In the December Pulse Asia survey which was announced last week, Villar rated 23%.
In a privately-commissioned study on the support bases of presidential candidates conducted late last year, over 30% of Villar voters confirmed that they will shift to another presidential candidate if it can be established that the corruption charges against him are substantiated. As we know now, the contents of the Senate Majority Report are damning.
After the emotional and tension-filled Senate session last Monday on Villar’s ethics case, Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile was interviewed via live phone patch by ANC’s Tony Velasquez. Enrile emphatically stated that Villar could go to jail if the Senate Majority Report findings are pursued in court.
Last year, Senator Chiz Escudero, before he finally decided not to run for any position, clearly stated that he cannot see himself being associated or politically allied with Villar after seeing the evidence against Villar in the ethics case. Indeed, Chiz Escudero is no Loren Legarda.
But what does even greater damage to Manny Villar is the prodding of his own political ally — Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo who is running for Senator in the Villar Nacionalista Party coalition ticket — that he should face the Senate and answer the charges. For sure, Ocampo offered that advice to help and not to cripple Villar. Ocampo must have seen that by not attending and facing the Senate, Villar is making a very bad situation worse, even possibly beyond repair.
In the abs-cbnNEWS.com/Newsbreak January 25, 2010 story of Carmela Fonbuena, Ocampo was quoted: "Ang advice namin, through House minority leader (San Juan) Rep. Ronaldo Zamora, ay sabihin sa kanya, ‘Face it up to the Senate.’ Wag nya iwasan ang issue. Wag sya magpapaliwanag sa media, kundi sa Senate. Ang nakuha kong feedback kay congressman Zamora, sabi nya, “Ipinaabot ko. Pero I’m not the presidential candidate. (Our advice, through Rep. Ronaldo Zamora, is to tell Villar to face it up to the Senate. He should not evade the issue. He should not explain to media but to the Senate. Rep. Zamora said that he relayed the message but that he is not the presidential candidate.)"
My Kumpadre Manny Villar must realize that by not facing the Senate, he is looking every bit like Madame Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) who said at the height of the ZTE scandal: “Anytime naman handa akong sagutin yan pero sa labas, sa tao. Kasi dito sa (Senate) komite, e wala naman akong makukuhang katarungan (I am always prepared to answer questions in public, to the people. That’s because here in the Senate Committee, I will not get justice).”
To be perceived as essentially another GMA — in an election where Filipinos would want to see the last of GMA — is a kiss of death for Villar. In the case of Gilbert Teodoro, the GMA kiss of death is merely incidental to representing the administration party.
Villar’s persistent refusal to address the charges against him in the proper forum projects him as lacking a very important quality — courage — which Filipinos look for in their president.
Kudos to Nick Lizaso, newly appointed CCP Board Trustee
Congratulations to accomplished stage actor and television and film director, Arsenio “Nick” Lizaso, who was once my high school speech and diction teacher as well as directed yours truly in a 1966 stage production of Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac.
Nick was sworn in as board trustee of the Cultural Center of the Philippines last January 22 and he certainly deserved that appointment. An accomplished and multi-awarded stage, TV and film director as well as an educator, trainer and lecturer, Nick was the former president of the Directors Guild of the Philippines. He also organized the first Film Academy Awards in 1983.
Nick is currently serving as vice-president of the Theater Education and Training Committee of the International Theater Institute-UNESCO and is a member of the Executive Committee of the International University Theater Association (IUTA), a unique forum where teachers, practitioners, creators, scholars and theorists from 50 member countries share discoveries and discuss common concerns in the field of theater and performing arts.
In September 2009, Nick was the only Asian invited to be a member of the jury in the 6th International Student Theater Festival held in Belarus where he also conducted a workshop on Voice for Performance.