There are good reasons to justify concern that President-elect Noynoy Aquino (P-Noy) may be unnecessarily eroding his political capital even before he had taken his oath as the 15th president of the Republic of the Philippines.
Barely a week and a half before P-Noy is sworn in as president, your Chair Wrecker has observed two areas of concern, as follows:
1. Reckless candidness — an observed tendency to make statements without realizing the possible downside.
2. There is a growing public perception that P-Noy is either over accommodating to defeated running mate Mar Roxas or too reliant on Mar Roxas to run the Aquino administration. Either way, some folks are starting to see a weak president.
In last Thursday’s edition of GMA Network’s news program Saksi, P-Noy was quick to dismiss the unsolicited advice of former president Fidel V. Ramos (FVR) and even stated that the former president is not one of his advisers.
In his June 17 airport interview prior to departure, FVR counseled P-Noy to seek the cooperation of his presidential rivals and strive towards achieving national unity. Despite FVR’s good advice — something the former president did when he ascended to power in 1992 — P-Noy simply dismissed it. And the way P-Noy dismissed FVR’s advice appeared arrogant and contemptuous of the former president.
P-Noy may have lost track of the fact that one of his biggest political assets is the perception of many people that he is their man — a “People’s President” is how many of them see him. How will people feel when they see P-Noy dismiss the good advice of a former president? It is natural for them to think that P-Noy will also not listen to what they’ll suggest to save our country.
On the second area of concern, your Chair Wrecker has been receiving a lot of emails expressing negative reactions to what is now largely perceived as P-Noy’s irrational deference to his defeated running mate, Mar Roxas. It is one thing for P-Noy to commiserate with Roxas over his disappointing loss to Vice President-elect Jojo Binay (V-Nay). It is another thing when that accommodation is already seen as getting in the way of statecraft.
It is unfortunate that this negative perception has been reinforced by leaders of the Liberal Party itself and by many of P-Noy’s recent decisions. In a recent appearance in Anthony Taberna’s Punto por Punto (Point by Point) TV segment, LP stalwart Franklin Drilon confirmed that a V-Nay appointment in the P-Noy cabinet must factor the feelings of Mar Roxas. Imagine the negative perception that creates — that P-Noy will allow the personal feelings of Mar Roxas to get in the way of ensuring political harmony with which to pursue — undistracted — the Aquino administration’s reform agenda.
Two recent emails from overseas Filipinos exemplify this developing negative perception, as follows:
From Letty Peralta-Dixon, a legal secretary based in Los Angeles: “Mar Roxas should be out of the picture by now. He had lost in the vice presidential election and the people had spoken by electing Jojo Binay for Vice President. Noynoy Aquino, as the newly elected President of the country, should emotionally distance himself from Roxas. I do not think that he should have any obligation, personally or politically, to this guy. A few days from now, both of them (P-Noy and V-Nay) will hold the first and second highest executive positions in the country and Roxas should know where he stands, below them. Now, I wonder whether Aquino will ever be an effective president because it looks like that his would-be administration is already gaining controversy, even though he has not even been sworn in yet! What a pity because the Philippines can be a great nation again but it all depends on how these politicians will do their job. Aquino should not make a political decision based on “pakikisama” or “kaibigan” but, instead, a decision that will benefit both the country and the people. He should make them his highest priority because his ultimate job is to make sure that he does them right.
Unfortunately, the country’s political scene is so full of drama, back-stabbings, etc. And these so-called politicians — I wonder if they will ever change? Will they ever set aside their misunderstandings and mistrust of each other and work together, cohesively, for the good of the people and the country? Will they ever stop their petty bickering? All I can see right now is a group of guys facing a wall and having a contest who can piss higher — what a bunch of nut heads! And, for some, if they cannot accept the persons of Aquino and Binay, they should, at least, respect their positions because, after all, they are the President and Vice President of the Philippines. And here’s my take on Mar Roxas ... grow up, would you? Or, at least, be man enough and accept the fact that you have lost the vice presidential post. What a ninny.
Well, anyway, Aquino should offer the DILG post to Binay because I think Binay is very qualified to do the job. End of story.”
From Hernan Homillosa, a psychotherapist based in New York City: “Appoint him (V-Nay) as DILG Secretary.... following the mandate of the people. P-Noy cannot go wrong, after all the people voted Jejomar Binay VP. Noy has greater political capital as a result; then, challenge those who claim Binay is corrupt to file charges.... not use the media to just become nuisance and distract the nation from the pressing job of cleaning up the mess left behind by GMA (Gloria Macapagal Arroyo). No more zarzuela like before... Filipinos first before politicians.... If V-Nay is guilty, he gets fired and goes to jail. Period. Election is over; time to rebuild. The Pearl of the Orient cannot regain its luster if people act like it is election season everyday. V-Nay cannot be presumed guilty until proven so. This is a new day. Enough.”
P-Noy will need to reflect on the fact that V-Nay is a political reality and that Mar Roxas is history. V-Nay defeated Mar Roxas despite not getting the support of the INC (Iglesia ni Cristo). Had the INC supported V-Nay, Roxas would have lost by more than three million votes and V-Nay would have received more votes than P-Noy.
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