The post-SONA political realities
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2010-07-27

The State of the Nation (SONA) Address of President Noynoy Aquino (P-Noy) yesterday was everything that Presidential Communications Group Secretary Sonny Coloma announced that it would be over ANC. In his SONA, P-Noy painted a true picture of the State of the Nation as predecessor Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) left it and he also described the guideposts for the road map to the Promised Land.

P-Noy started on the right foot by telling the truth. Only when we know the truth can we really effectively manage our most serious problems. P-Noy cannot hope to unite the nation behind his offered solutions and reform agenda if Filipinos are not fully informed of the nature and the extent of the problems they have.

When Sonny Coloma was being interviewed together with Manolo Quezon on the ANC morning portion of the SONA coverage, some feedback from Twitter and Facebook expressed opinions that P-Noy should not delve anymore in his SONA on the problems that GMA created and just focus on what P-Noy proposed to do to set things right. That is of course simply idiotic — the kind of idiocy that makes a benighted Filipino nation a sucker for exploitation generation after generation.

P-Noy’s campaign theme of KUNG WALANG CORRUPT, WALANG MAHIRAP (There is no poverty where there is no corruption) was the underlying philosophy of his stated strategy to get us to the Promised Land. Hastening bureaucratic processes, lessening paperwork, budget streamlining, legislative updating of laws and so forth are measures that are all part and parcel of removing opportunities for corruption.

The underlying theme of the speeches yesterday of P-Noy, Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile (JPE) and House Speaker Sonny Belmonte was a call for national unity. That was most encouraging to a nation that was transformed from deep cynicism to renewed hope for a better country under the new administration.

The reelection of JPE as Senate President reinforces the point that your Chair Wrecker had discussed in past columns — that the P-Noy administration must carefully assess the political realities if it is to survive and succeed. Your Chair Wrecker expressed alarm over the way the amateurs in the Mar Roxas camp almost succeeded in setting a dangerous divide between the President and Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay.

In the Constitutional line of succession — the President, Vice President, Senate President, Speaker of the House and the Supreme Court Chief Justice — the Vice President, Senate President and Supreme Court Chief Justice cannot be considered political allies of the President. Jojo Binay and JPE are allies in the Pwersa ng Masa-PDP-Laban coalition while Chief Justice Rene Corona was a GMA appointee. In fact, Sonny Belmonte was not a member of Liberal Party (LP) 12 months ago.

Despite his big mandate, P-Noy does not really have a complete control of the key levers of power. In such a situation, the last problem P-Noy can afford to have is a problem with his Vice President — as what the Mar Roxas camp almost succeeded in fomenting.

Sonny Belmonte may have been elected House Speaker by an overwhelming 227 congressional votes, with only 29 votes going for his rival, Representative Edcel Lagman, but the reality is many of those 227 votes came from non-Liberal Party congressmen. In the event that the P-Noy administration encounters a major crisis, there is the probability that these political turncoats could just as easily abandon the administration.

Picture a GMA instigated impeachment case against P-Noy getting the required endorsement from a third of the House of Representatives. Seeing how the LP failed to get the Senate Presidency — just how do you assess P-Noy’s chances of escaping impeachment if the case goes to a Senate impeachment trial?

It is imperative for P-Noy to retain his present allies, win more allies and avoid making unnecessary political enemies. President Cory Aquino was luckier in that she had an overwhelming control of the Senate and the House of Representatives during her administration. P-Noy does not have those superior numbers of President Cory in the then Senate and the able stewardship of Tarlac Representative Peping Cojuangco of the then House of Representatives.

It is in this area where Mar Roxas and his supporters are starting to become the biggest danger to P-Noy. They have the rare “talent” of losing a won vice presidential election and subsequently making unnecessary enemies for themselves and for P-Noy.

In the Art of War, the wise combatant will assess if someone is indeed a real enemy. It is utter stupidity to make an enemy of one who is not your real enemy or does not have to be one. If one is unavoidably an enemy, the wise combatant will avoid a battle if a battle does not have to be fought yet.

Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin were unavoidable enemies but they avoided hostile engagement during the early part of World War II and signed a non-aggression pact. Hitler failed to learn the lesson of his success in making the peace pact with Stalin. Hitler attacked Russia and that ended Hitler’s dream of a Thousand Year Reich.

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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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