The mob is fickle
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2010-06-22

All national and local leaders must never lose track of the reality that the mob is fickle. There can be no better proof of this than the Jerusalem crowd that welcomed Jesus Christ like a conquering hero and in just a few days cheered and jeered as the Lord carried his cross to Golgotha.

The more desperate the conditions of the country, the more fickle the mob tends to be. The leader enjoying adulation today could be the object of curse and ridicule tomorrow or the day after tomorrow.

Hungry and jobless people cannot wait too long for a new leader’s promised benefits. Hungry and jobless people expect food and income sources soonest and cannot afford to extend an indefinite period with which to allow the new leader to prepare the ground for delivery.

In the NBA Finals, they say WIN or GO HOME. In our political reality, it is DELIVER or BE REMOVED. A look at our past presidencies will show this erosion of public support after a president fails to improve socio-economic conditions and public safety.

This reality must have been at the back of the mind of President-elect Noynoy Aquino (P-Noy) when he asked last week to be allowed more time to deliver on his campaign promises. In his post-proclamation press conference, P-Noy revealed that we are in such a negative situation and we need to first hit level zero before we even talk of positive changes.
P-Noy is right. We cannot realistically expect positive growth unless we first recover from the minus state that our country is in. It is a simple mathematical impossibility. But P-Noy’s problem is this — the hungry and jobless people cannot be consoled with the validity of that logic and will be prone to shifting from their present state of euphoria to one of discontent and agitation once P-Noy is seen as failing to deliver.

Your Chair Wrecker will hate to go on record as having agreed with First Gentleman (FG) Mike Arroyo and former president Fidel V. Ramos (FVR). Your Chair Wrecker, for sometime now, has been taking adversarial positions against the two over their respective roles in perpetuating the tyranny of the last nine years under Madame Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA).

It raises the blood pressure of your Chair Wrecker to now go on record that FG and FVR were right when they offered unsolicited advice to P-Noy, as follows:

1. On the part of FG, he reminded P-Noy that he must now be the president of all Filipinos — those who voted and did not vote for him.

2. On the part of FVR, he advised P-Noy to seek the cooperation of his presidential rivals and strive to attain national unity.

Even assuming that FG and FVR may have their respective ulterior motives for offering unsolicited advice — it does not negate the fact that it was good advice FG and FVR offered. Jesus Christ had warned us about the devil quoting scripture but the truth of the Gospel is not lessened or discredited once the devil mouths it.

If FG and FVR were harboring secret intentions to mislead P-Noy into taking the wrong path which will lead to political disaster — then their advice may have been given in anticipation of P-Noy’s rejection and eventual detriment. As reformist presidents tend to be despised by the oligarchs, all the more that P-Noy should seek political harmony in order to be able to implement his reform agenda.

We must be alarmed over this developing rift between the President-Elect and Vice President-Elect because of the sensitivities of defeated P-Noy running mate, Mar Roxas. If it is important for P-Noy to attain the cooperation of his presidential rivals, then it is imperative that his vice president — Jojo Binay (V-Nay) — does not become the rallying point of the new opposition.

FVR sought harmony with his vice president and gave Joseph “Erap” Estrada a cabinet position. Estrada also sought harmony with his vice president and gave GMA the Social Welfare portfolio. GMA had vice presidents of her choice and only had problems when Tito Guingona became adversarial. Had Noli de Castro taken an adversarial stance against GMA during the Garci and ZTE scandals — it could have been lights out for her.

When a president loses the respect and acceptability of the people, the availability of the second person in the Constitutional line of succession makes ouster plots easier to promote. The US, a perennial political player here, especially during presidential upheavals, has a track record for preferring adherence to the Constitutional line of succession.

Some members of the Liberal Party and the Mar Roxas camp have been undertaking a demolition job on V-Nay. It is as if we are still on election campaign mode. Trying to drive the deepest possible wedge between the incoming president and his vice president is sheer folly and if they succeed, they can only expect a pyrrhic victory.

It is one thing to give or not to give V-Nay the DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government) portfolio. It is political suicide to vilify V-Nay and transform him into an opposition rallying point.

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  Previous Columns:

It had to happen on The Ides of March and Holy Week

Suggested guidelines for liability- free Internet posts

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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