The doomsayers must be red in the face
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2010-11-18
Ever since the August 23, 2010 Manila Hostage Crisis happened, the doomsayers have been predicting that the popularity, trust and approval ratings of President Noynoy Aquino (P-Noy) will plunge dramatically. Some of them the bitter supporters of other losing 2010 presidential candidates, the doomsayers made you expect P-Noy’s ratings to drop from 88 percent to around 60 percent.

The October 20-29 Pulse Asia survey which was announced last Monday exposed the doomsayers as mere charlatans. Per the Pulse Asia survey, P-Noy registered a TRUST rating of 80 percent (only 2 percent negative) and an APPROVAL rating of 79 percent (only 3 percent negative). The post election euphoria rating of 88 percent will naturally dip but the 80 percent TRUST and 79 percent APPROVAL ratings are still high and indicative of wide scale public support.

The survey came at the heels of the following major developments:

1. The mixed assessment of P-Noy’s First 100 Days where too much was focused on his alleged lack of leadership during the Manila Hostage Crisis.

2. The release of the Malacanang Palace review of the IIRC (Incident Investigation and Review Committee) Report on the Manila Hostage Crisis which spawned a new round of controversy and bellyaching from Hong Kong.

3. The jueteng payola allegations of Retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz.

4. The clash between the Roman Catholic Church and P-Noy over the RH Bill.

5. The grant of presidential amnesty to Senator Antonio Trillanes IV and over 300 other military officers and personnel.
When veteran and highly respected broadcast journalist Luchi Cruz Valdes invited your Chair Wrecker to her October 19 edition ( of Journo, over ABC-TV5, it was to discuss my October 7 column (“Really, what’s the big deal about a President’s first 100 days”). Luchi needed a columnist whose assessment of P-Noy’s first 100 days challenged that of the doomsayers.

While explaining why the Manila Hostage Crisis and the unfounded jueteng accusations cannot significantly erode P-Noy — my Journo assessment focused on the positive developments in our country ever since P-Noy became president. Filipinos won’t regard the Manila Hostage Crisis and the unfounded jueteng accusations as more important than the new optimism that P-Noy brought to the country, the impressive influx of investments, the inspiring leadership by example and the visible attempt to stop corruption.

Among the doomsayers who must be red in the face is this risk assessment firm Pacific Strategies and Assessments (PSA). Based in Milwaukee, USA, with offices in Manila, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing and Bangkok, PSA warned that P-Noy could follow the path of US President Barack Obama who suffered a major setback during the recent November US Midterm Elections.

Among the reasons PSA cited to support their assertion were the following:

1. The handling of the Manila Hostage Crisis.

2. The oligarchy, a big obstacle to reform.

3. The “uncontrolled” infighting between the Balay and Samar factions in the administration.

My reaction to the PSA assessment was that they must have been talking only to the doomsayers. Now, they should know better after the release of the October Pulse Asia survey.

The PSA assessment had over highlighted the Manila Hostage Crisis and the Balay versus Samar intramurals. There is a Balay versus Samar friction in the P-Noy administration but it is nothing different from similar frictions between factions in previous administrations. In fact, many of those associated with the Balay faction have been sending peace signals to some of the key officials belonging to the Samar faction.

It’s true that the oligarchy is a major stumbling block to achieving meaningful reform. However, removing the oligarchy cannot be accomplished overnight unless it is done by revolution — an option that isn’t available to the P-Noy administration, at least for the moment. That does not mean though that other major reforms cannot be attained because of the oligarchy. The oligarchy may be able to prevent the more equitable distribution of wealth but the oligarchy cannot prevent good governance and equal application of the law by a determined president.

In comparing P-Noy to Obama’s Midterm Election debacle and popularity plunge — PSA overlooked very glaring differences, such as:

1. The US economy is stagnant. The Philippine economy has been impressively improving since P-Noy took over. Hey, PSA! It’s the economy, stupid.

2. There is a big difference between the temperament of the US citizens and the Filipinos. Americans living on welfare curse their predicament and are prone to seeking a regime change. Filipinos from the most impoverished lot of our society would rejoice to receive those welfare checks of jobless Americans.

3. Obama is up for reelection while P-Noy is scheduled to retire on 2016. It is pointless comparing their political charts.

Grossly overlooked by the doomsayers is P-Noy’s inherited talent for establishing rapport with his people and the media. P-Noy is his father’s son and he has this openness and rare ability to establish empathy which endeared his late father Ninoy to Filipinos.

P-Noy’s communication talent makes up for his speeches which lack the flourish of those Teddyboy Locsin-penned President Cory Aquino classics. What can you expect from a speechwriter who insults a state banquet host, such as the President of Vietnam, by tweeting that the wine served sucks?

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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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