Cory lessons about the bulls in the china shop
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2010-05-18

Our beloved late president Cory C. Aquino ascended into power on the wings of the 1986 People Power Revolution with an all-time popularity high for an incoming administration. Not just an incoming president — Cory was likened by the world media to an Asian Joan of Arc.

That popularity allowed Cory to get the people’s support behind the ratification of the 1987 Constitution and the election of 22 out of 24 Senators during the 1987 Senatorial elections. That popularity and trust level also served Cory well in surviving at least 6 coup attempts, of which the August 1987 and December 1989 coup attempts were the most serious.

It was in the August 1987 coup attempt when our soon-to-be President Elect Noynoy Aquino was shot and to this day he carries a souvenir from that “very warm reception” he received from the coup plotters. The December 1989 coup almost succeeded and Cory needed the help of the US in order for her administration to survive. Then CINCPAC, Admiral Ron Hays, a Chair Wrecker personal friend, ordered US fighter jets to fly over Metro Manila to send a clear signal to the coup plotters that the US will not allow them to topple the Cory government.

If one tracks the intensity of the coup attempts against Cory, it will show that the first ones were not serious threats because Cory’s popularity was at its all-time high — unlike during the August 1987 and December 1989 coup attempts. By 1987, there had already been many issues against the Cory government, a lot of them self-inflicted by people around her who can be likened to bulls in the china shop.

These bulls in the china shop made it their priority to quarrel among themselves — turf battles among amateurs who failed to recognize the real enemy outside Malacanang Palace. Their arrogance and petty quarrels eventually resulted in a major cabinet reshuffle. But the damage to the Cory government had already been inflicted.

These days, it is easy to see the same bulls in the china shop among those people around Mar Roxas who eventually brought him down. First, they failed to maintain the then seeming insurmountable lead of Mar over his then nearest rival, Loren Legarda. Second, they failed to recognize that the vice presidential race was not just between Mar and Loren and so Mar became the victim of that phenomenal Jojo Binay surge.

If it was not bad enough to have failed to protect Mar from defeat, they had to resort to vicious finger pointing and badmouthing of people they’ve accused of not supporting a Noynoy-Mar tandem and opted for a Noy-Bi (Noynoy- Binay). They saw everyone else as the “sinner” but they failed to accept that theirs was the biggest fault for Mar’s defeat.

They are such amateurs in politics that they’ve committed the biggest mistake of making more enemies than the ones who really shafted them through their dense brains. And not just more enemies, they even invited reprisal from heavyweights at that.

They’ve singled out the COPA (Council on Philippine Affairs) as the “chief plotter” behind the Noy-Bi even though it was only COPA Secretary-General Pastor “Boy” Saycon who actively promoted Noy-Bi. Peping Cojuangco, Dave Arcenas, Ching Montinola, Louie and Triccie Sison — to name a few — of COPA were all active Noy-Mar supporters. In fact, COPA was not involved at all in promoting any candidate and political party. So these bulls in the china shop around Mar ended up antagonizing Mar supporters and others who did not even promote Noy-Bi.

They also badmouthed the sisters of Noynoy (this has found itself in media and the internet), Peping Cojuangco, Popoy Juico, Conrad de Quiros, your Chair Wrecker and of all people — Gawad Kalinga’s Tony Meloto. They cannot deny this because one of those who attended one such badmouthing session narrated this to several people, including your Chair Wrecker.

More than what the opposition can mount against an administration — it is the self-inflicted wounds that prove to be fatal. The telling blows against the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) regime came from within — Garci, ZTE, Jose Pidal, and so forth. These were all acts of the Palace occupants that were merely exposed by the opposition. The telling blows against the Ferdinand Marcos dictatorship also came from within — the crony capitalism, the human rights abuses and the Ninoy Aquino assassination which was the ultimate demonstration of the arrogance of power.

Amateurs in the world of politics are mesmerized by the thrill of wielding political power. Veterans in the world of politics are circumspect and anticipate the turn of the spinning wheel — when this day you may be up and tomorrow you could be down. When the amateurs wield power, they tend to antagonize people. When the veterans wield power, they tend to use it to attract more allies.

Noynoy will soon come to grips with what he can and cannot realistically accomplish. Thus, it becomes imperative that he surrounds himself with people who can attract allies for his cause without having to compromise the purity of his intensions. Noynoy will need to learn from the experience of Cory and avoid the bulls in the china shop.

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  Previous Columns:

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Election lawyer: PCOS critics should put up or shut up

All Excited by Pope Francis

A great disservice to P-Noy

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