Why is Ricky Carandang still around?
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2011-08-02
Former Makati Representative and legendary presidential speechwriter of President Cory Aquino, Teddyboy Locsin, lashed at the Presidential Communications Team last July 25th for failing to project the best image for President Noynoy Aquino (PNoy). Teddyboy’s tirade necessarily calls to task the Messaging Team headed by Communications Secretary Ricky Carandang.

Sitting as a resource person of the ANC Channel’s SONA (State of the Nation Address) TV coverage, along with De La Salle University Associate Professor Julio Teehankee and our friend Adel Tamano, Teddyboy said: “The Communications Team should step aside and let the better PNoy shine.” At some point during the discussions, Teddyboy even referred to the PNoy speechwriters as “Yung mga bobong speechwriters (Those dumb speechwriters).”

During their SONA discussions, Teehankee made the observation that his past experience in dealing with PNoy showed the president to be a studious reader of briefing papers and complete staff work who likes to analyze and study policies. Teehankee and Teddyboy had concluded that there are some very highly laudable qualities of PNoy that his substandard Messaging Team has failed to communicate.

Teddyboy was all praises for the message of PNoy during the SONA but he deplored the way it was written — suggesting that here was a good president with a good heart and mind which substandard communicators failed to project properly to the public. Teddyboy’s comments on speechwriting and messaging have to be taken seriously. As a presidential speechwriter, few will ever match the brilliant prose and sharp wit of Teddyboy Locsin.

PNoy is a classic case of a good president that’s being handled by a substandard communications team. In the past, there were very bad presidents — Ferdinand E. Marcos the most notable — who were able to get away with bloody murder for so long because they were supported by an excellent communications team.

Highly reliable Palace sources say that Ricky Carandang had long lost the confidence of the president — that only PNoy’s kindness has allowed Carandang to remain in his job. I can imagine PNoy’s dilemma — in relocating an underperforming executive, he must ensure that the lackluster performer does not inflict a worse disservice to the country.

The damage that Ricky Carandang and his team had inflicted on PNoy extended beyond their failure to project him properly. It’s bad enough that they cannot do their jobs — they even created serious problems for PNoy with media. Other TV networks and newspapers are up in arms because of the very noticeable favoring of ABS-CBN, a network that almost always gets the Palace scoops and exclusive stories. Both Carandang and his Undersecretary, Manolo Quezon, came from ABS-CBN.

Have you noticed during the July 25th SONA — how Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma was all over media guaranteeing that there’ll be no advance copies of the SONA that will be given to any media entity? That was not the case during the first PNoy SONA and it became a big media issue. Sonny Coloma had to reassure media this time that all would receive their copies at the same time as their other media colleagues.

Dangerous Balay factor
Many administration insiders have expressed to your Chair Wrecker their concerns about how the Messaging Team of PNoy seems to be playing a dual agenda. They specifically refer to the many times when the Messaging Team pandered to the agenda of the so-called Balay faction.

A number of these concerns came from supporters of Vice President Jejomar Binay who claimed that the Messaging Team was always quick to make 2010 Election vice presidential race loser Mar Roxas look good but would be very reluctant to support the activities of Vice President Binay, a Cabinet member.

Early on during the PNoy administration, your Chair Wrecker had raised the alarm over the corrosive and dangerous factor that this Balay agenda posed to the president. Nothing would destabilize the PNoy administration more than a rift with his Vice President. Luckily, the Aquino-Binay relationship runs deep and the Balay faction was unable to drive that wedge between the top two executives of the land.

Those Cabinet Secretaries allied with the Balay faction better get this into their heads — there can be only one Captain of the Ship of State and that is Admiral PNoy. These two-bit amateurs of Balay — how Mar Roxas lost what looked like a won vice presidency confirms the substandard quality of the people around him — should wake up to the reality that PNoy will not allow his administration to be derailed by them.

During an exchange of views I had with PNoy, when he was still a presidential candidate, he mentioned something to me that made a deep impression. He said: “The problem is many people think that they are better than me or know more than me, but the reality is that there can be only one captain of the ship.” I immediately responded to him “Aye, aye Admiral” and he thanked me.

PNoy may be self-effacing and unaffected by the fringe benefits of power — but don’t make the mistake of ever assuming that he is about to cede or share any power and authority that have been entrusted to him by the Filipino people.

Are you still wondering why Mar Roxas never became Chief of Staff?

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Election lawyer: PCOS critics should put up or shut up

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A great disservice to P-Noy

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