How P-Noy's 'all-time high' presidential popularity will crash
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2010-12-21
There is a “Law of Gravity” that governs political fortunes – popularity ratings that are at an all-time high will tend to go down.

Notwithstanding the recent high marks that President Noynoy Aquino III (P-Noy) enjoyed in the latest SWS and Pulse Asia surveys, it’s a given that these ratings will go down.

When Jesus Christ entered Jerusalem, hailed and feted as The Messiah, there was no doubting that the Lord’s popularity ratings were at an all-time high. Days later, while being flogged as the crucifixion procession wove its way to Golgotha, the Lord’s ratings must have plummeted from its earlier all-time high. Once hailed a Messiah, the Lord was jeered like a common criminal. Many political fortunes had followed a similar pattern.

The administration will attempt to maintain the ratings of P-Noy on a net positive state. His approval ratings should outnumber his disapproval ratings. The Opposition will attempt to exacerbate every administration mistake, make it look bigger in the public eye, even go to the extent of inventing issues and manufacturing crises that are all designed to generate a net dissatisfaction rating for P-Noy.

A largely discredited Opposition will hardly pose a serious threat to P-Noy owing to the mismanagement of the government under Madame Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) during the last nine years. However, P-Noy must learn the lesson of the fall of the House of Ferdinand E. Marcos when the most important Marcos support base – the military – cracked with the defection of then Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile and AFP Vice Chief of Staff Fidel Ramos.

It’s imperative for the House of P-Noy that the administration support base remains intact. More than a GMA-led Opposition, the biggest setback will be when P-Noy supporters become disappointed and revert to an adversarial stance. Even President Cory Aquino lost many of her supporters and she exited Malacanang with a greatly reduced positive net rating. The biggest political threat for P-Noy will be the evolution of a new, bigger Opposition from his own ranks.

Historically, these factors contribute substantially to the erosion of a political base:

1. The lack of a clear roadmap where people know exactly where we are heading and how we will get there. It’s imperative that each boss (the people) of P-Noy knows where P-Noy is bringing the ship of State and how the life of each boss will improve with the P-Noy roadmap.

2. An administration’s major deviation from its roadmap, when people see a “betrayal of public trust” such as when “Walang Corrupt (No Corrupt)” is already perceived as dishonest.

3. Oppressive policies, abuse of authority, when soldiers and cops generate fearful reactions from the very citizens that they’re supposed to protect.

4. A continued economic downturn where people perceive the ruler as the biggest contributor to the misery index – whether owing to corruption or mismanagement.

5. Breakdown of peace and order. The series of coup attempts against President Cory Aquino were assaults against democracy and cannot be blamed on the late president. Despite that, President Cory’s popularity ratings went down significantly simply because people did not like the uncertainty of the times they lived in.

6. Administration intramurals – when people see government officials fighting turf wars, when people see the pursuit of power as the main preoccupation of government officials instead of delivering promised reforms.

7. Bad presidential appointments – when those who delivered the most for the victory are not duly consulted or allowed to recommend persons whom they feel will best deliver the desired reforms.

Fortunately for P-Noy, his administration has not yet scored bad marks in the said areas of making a major deviation from the roadmap, being willfully oppressive, exacerbating our economic deterioration and failing to maintain peace and order. Unfortunately for P-Noy, there are already the seeds of discord and disunity that have been planted in the said areas of failing to communicate a clear roadmap, failing to prevent administration intramurals and failing to prevent the appointment of largely perceived misfits and lightweights.

The political block called “Balay” is P-Noy’s single biggest problem. This assertion is not intended to disregard the value of some appointees associated with ““Balay” – if they’re assets, then they deserve to be regarded as assets. This assertion is intended to highlight the danger posed by people who can neither win a presidential election nor a vice presidential election but they still aspire to run the government like a de facto president.

After a columnist in another major daily savaged two “Balay” Secretaries while absolving a “Samar” Secretary of wrong doing, a “Balay” factotum sent the writer this text message: “Padre, as usual your insights – as reflected in your column today – are near spot on. In this case however, you are focusing on the wrong target!”

The intent is obvious – clear the “Balay” Secretaries and demolish the “Samar” Secretary. The “Balay” factotum that sent that text message was appointed by GMA to a lucrative Board seat and now also sits in the Board of a top government agency in the P-Noy administration, courtesy of a “Balay” sponsor.

Always fear more the threat from within.

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