AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2011-10-25
We’re dedicating our entire column today to clarifications. First and foremost is the clarification that my friend Supreme Court Chief Justice (CJ) Rene Corona made right after he read my October 18 column (“When a cool CJ Rene Corona barks and threatens to bite”).

CJ Corona stated: “Thanks for your piece in today’s Philippine STAR. But to set the record straight, we have been fighting the impounding of our budgets for months. The FASAP issue only came about last week so it was not correct to say that the FASAP case was the reason for my October 13 PJA (Philippine Judges Association) speech.”

He added: “By the way, (1) That speech was finished as early as three weeks before so I could not have been thinking of the FASAP resolution that has not yet been issued yet. (2) I inhibited from the FASAP case as early as 2008 and thus could not have been affected by it; and (3) I was in GMA’s (former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo) cabinet for only a year, from January 2001 to April 2002, and there was nothing illegal I saw that I had to expose. Best regards.”

On another subject, Raissa Robles — correspondent of The South China Morning Post and well-followed blogger — set the record straight why she asked President Noynoy Aquino (P-Noy) during the October 12th FOCAP (Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines) event whether he played video games during the Luneta Hostage Crisis.

In her October 13 blog post, Raissa narrated what she and her husband Alan thought. “Alan and I both believe that the video game question is part of a systematic campaign against P-Noy. Alan said it best when he told me this morning: The question goes into the heart of a systematic campaign that’s being waged against the president, to deprecate his image, to systematically belittle him. These stories are being invented. This video game meme has been with him since the start of his campaign. It’s not as if it popped up from nowhere. People are always calling it up, digging it up.”

Raissa added: “If somebody were to pass a rumor that the president was an alien and has three tentacles at the back, I wouldn’t probably use that. But this story (of P-Noy playing video games while Hong Kong tourists cowered in a bus) is very specific and there is a very specific overall, overarching concept behind it. The concept is to try to diminish the presidency by showing he is childish, incompetent and immature.”

Raissa was confident that the story was a fabrication. She must have felt that, if ever P-Noy played video games, it was definitely not during the Luneta Hostage Crisis.

“As for playing video games per se, he avoided answering that. Not because he had something to hide but because, I think, he had learned not to answer certain questions that would give life to further rumors and innuendoes,” she added.
In her blog, which is well worth a regular visit, she had taken to task Jojo Robles and Bobi Tiglao over issues that they were raising against the president.

Still on the subject of clarifications, it makes me wonder why P-Noy had to still explain at the FOCAP event that the lowered growth figures for the year were not caused by government incompetence and under spending. Easily three or four months before the FOCAP event, administration critics have been going to town with this “under spending” spin.

Economic Planning Secretary Cayetano Paderanga was quoted in media that the causes for the year’s smaller growth were: “The economy was constrained by surges in world oil prices, triple disasters in Japan, slow recovery of the US and European economies, the social and political unrest in the Middle East and North Africa, and adverse weather conditions.” All these factors are beyond the government’s control.

Those are all valid reasons and P-Noy summarized these same reasons when asked during the FOCAP meeting. He mentioned that the Japan tsunami alone took as much as 60 percent of our electronic exports. The point is this — if Secretary Ricky Carandang did his job properly, P-Noy would not have to explain this clarification during the FOCAP face off.

If you follow the messages that come from the Messaging Group, these are very lean in explaining the reasons for certain actions and decisions. They also hardly support their explanations with data, if needed. One gets the impression that the Messaging Group operates under the belief that a one-liner from them will be taken by all Filipinos as Gospel truth. When you’re speaking for the government — any government for that matter — it’s best to keep at the back of your mind that people normally do not believe government pronouncements and tend to assume explanations to big issues as attempts to cover up the truth.

Luckily, there are very few real issues against P-Noy and the “evil eyes” have resorted to the cheapest tactic in the dirty political demolition game — fabricating lies. These fabrications gain traction if not addressed immediately with credible clarifications or refutations. Working well for P-Noy is that he has become quite an effective communicator, like his father Ninoy. He is his best salesman but that does not excuse the incompetence of his Messaging Group.

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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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