Binay or Poe?

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Who will make a better president, Vice-President Jejomar Binay or Senator Grace Poe?

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Which is the more crucial qualification for the presidency—experience or honesty?

The problem with these questions is the false options they present. Surely, both honesty and experience in leadership are crucial, along with a host of other must-have qualities, and the nation should not have to forgo certain indispensable traits in electing leaders.

In mishandling the Mamasapano mission and the massacre of Philippine National Police Special Action Force commandos, President Benigno Aquino 3rd showed a clear lack of experience and competence.

That’s what the nation gets for electing Aquino based on his presumed honesty, despite his clear lack of executive and governance ability as seen in his unremarkable record in public and private life.

What’s worse, Aquino may not deliver on honesty either. His obfuscation on Mamasapano shows that he isn’t always keen to tell the whole truth.

Clearly, an honest reputation does not an honest leader make, for once the spotless candidate assumes the highest position in the land, then Lord Acton’s dictum could well apply: Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely.

So 100 million Filipinos should demand that our leader be honest, competent and experienced, not to mention inspiring, compassionate, learned, accomplished, lawful, courageous, patriotic, bright, circumspect, persevering, patient, and discerning.

And with tens of millions of citizens aged 40 or older to choose from, there should be more than a decent chance of finding a good number with such qualities.

But there is one big obstacle: our electoral system, with its name recognition, media conditioning, and patronage politics, limits the electorate’s choice to a handful of individuals who get on voters’ short lists not because of proven capability, but by sheer celebrity.

Thus, among the countless citizens eligible and qualified to become president, we’re down to two or three, with the eventual winner pipping the others not by any impressive traits and record which persuade the populace, but due to political machinery, media manipulation, personal charisma, plus guns, goons, gold, and lately Hocus-PCOS.

We can try to improve the system, but really, we should know from leader after leader through the decades, that the governed must needs exert even more effort in dealing with the elected than we did in choosing them.

So yes, we must educate voters, safeguard ballots, counter fraud, stand up to violence, and monitor counting and canvassing. But after all that, even more indispensable are vigilance against corruption, abuse and misrule; outspoken insistence on the national interest, the rule of law, and competent, honest governance; and the democratic sovereignty of the people over personal, family and partisan wishes.

On Wednesday night, a priest-friend raised great concern over Aquino’s reported courting of Poe to become the administration candidate. The priest feared that Poe would be tainted or corrupted if she runs under Aquino’s ticket and guidance.

Things are actually worse than he fears.

First, the administration presidential candidate must commit to protect Liberal Party and other allied leaders from investigation and prosecution after Aquino steps down. The LP-backed standard bearer must keep anomalous pork barrel papers of its leaders and allies under lock and key in the Department of Budget and Management.

Will Poe agree to that? She would have to in order to get the backing of all those administration legislators, top officials, and other political bigwigs who have illicitly benefited from Aquino’s rule and are now hell-bent to keep their camp in power and free from accountability.

So must Binay win to get those hoods facing justice? Hang on. Last time we checked, seasoned politicians hedge their bets, striking deals with presidentiables likely to win.

So it would be no surprise if a good number of LP and other administration members of Congress have quietly assured the VP that they would not support any move to impeach him, as long as they are spared from a pork barrel reckoning.

That’s why even Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., for all his kowtowing to Malacañang, has said that there would be no impeachment mounted against Binay. The House chief knows that most of his fellow representatives may have pledged to oppose a VP ouster.

Now this kind of impending wholesale switch to the winning side is again nothing new. It happened under past presidents, including Aquino. His LP suddenly swelled with former members of his predecessor’s Lakas-CMD and Kampi parties.

Presidential candidates, for their part, have to make deals with unsavory political kingpins to win support in the regions, cities and provinces where the latter hold sway.

So much as the priest is worried about Aquino’s influence on Poe, in fact, the entire political establishment would be pressuring, inducing, and otherwise influencing all presidential hopefuls, with the unchanging aim of survival, power and largesse.

What to do? An upright civil society stalwart also called on Tuesday, partly to applaud the column for that day, and also to lament the electioneering that keeps bringing corrupt, abusive and self-serving leaders into the halls of national and local power.

Unfortunately, his own experience in fielding candidates showed how difficult it is for upright servant leaders to win public office.

Plainly, every democracy merely reflects the level of development — economic, intellectual, media, and moral — of its people.

So it is with the Philippines: the widespread poverty, lack of education, and impaired civic spirit makes our electorate easy prey to candidates with the power, funds, and political machinery and connections to turn out the votes for themselves.

So what to do? Well, we can just keep pointing out the failings of the leaders we elect, even as our people somehow strive for affluence, learning and awareness. At some point, perhaps in another generation, Filipinos would be rich, educated, and motivated enough to assert our interests against the venal ruling class.

Until then, we may vote the right choice, but the wrong ones may well get elected.

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22 Comments

  1. kidbuffalo17 on

    Ok si Sen. Grace Poe kung tatakbo siyang independent.Kahit na medyo kulang siya sa experience, in the long run habang nakaupo siya matutunan din nya ang pagpapatakbo sa gobyerno. Ang importante honest siya at guided siya ng nga honest din na mga magiging secretaries at mga advisers.Joining LP is not good for because said party is tainted with massive anomalies.

  2. Poe is ok she is honest for that I like her but too early to run for prexy for an inexperienced administrator. We need a battle scarred incorruptible manager, a fighter and disciplinarian lawyer for a president.

  3. Even if we will have a leader like Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Lee Kuan Yew or Mother Teresa. And the filipino people are still doing their old ways undiscipline in driving, throwing rubbish every where, kabaklaan sa TV at tsimissisan, di marunong pumila sa train or sa bus stop, kahit saan umiihi ‘di aasenso pilipinas.

    Or lets do what Lee Kuan Yew did in singapore mahigpit nga lang sya like walang rally, mahigpit sa media but look what singapore now one on 10 households are millionaire, before LKY in the 40’s maraming singaporean sa squatter naka tira.

    • and to add Lee Kuan Yew is not a christian but he govern his country in a very christian way. Here in the Philippines 80% catholic, our leaders are catholic but they follow the evil deeds.

    • Aquino regime is a pure evil and scourge of the Filipino nation. My hearts bleeds to the millions of fellow Filipino victims of Typhoon Yolanda, Zamboanga siege, SAF44 massace, Bohol earthquake and many other victims of the evil Aquino regime.

  4. Dominador D. Canastra on

    It’s a pity that most of those who have made comments missed your opening and most important point: the leader we choose must have both the virtues of HONESTY and EXPERIENCE /KNOWLEDGE OF HOW TO GOVERN.

  5. No matter how much people hate pnoy what he has done is started actions against corrupt officials. Now some say but only against the opposition. Im not sure if thats correct or what, but its a start. If you dont start somewhere you will never finish. If there are people in his side of government who he is protecting well time is against them. Once out of power others can then go after them. There is no hiding place as documents will prove guilt or innocence. But its like what always happens when someone is accused of crimes they say its a witch hunt, they dont want me to run for president. People need to answer allegations then if they are innocent look to see if it was just a political strategy & if so then actions against those involved in that should be taken.
    But the main ingredient for a leader is honesty. If he doesnt have that what chance will this country have, zero, nil, none at all.
    Pnoy has started the cleansing, i hope others continue it with vigor & determination.

    • Following your line of reasoning, then in the next election, it should be the opposition to win so that they can run after the LP people who also plundered our nation but are being protected by this present administration. Do you agree?

    • what a convenient way to start the battle against corruption! starting with the opposition is clearly politically motivated to silence and/or decimate the opposition so the administration can do their evil deeds (in secret or in plain sight). they garnished all available monies in the treasury to fund the pet projects of the allies, KKK & friends on the pretense of PPP, rigged biddings and/or negotiated awarding of contracts… there are so many of these rigged biddings or negotiated contracts happening to favor the allies, KKKs and business friends.

  6. P.Akialamiro on

    Sa dami ng mga matatalino at magigiting na Filipino, wala na bang iba? Candidates or are experienced, but ‘corrupt’ and inexperienced, but ‘honest’ will be doing a “disservice” to the country. By the same token, the experienced, honest, intelligent with a good working track record, is doing a disservice by not running for office/president.

    Experienced, but ‘corrupt’ leader is not good for the country’s governance and reputation; inexperienced, but ‘honest’ may yet have a lot to prove to govern and lead effectively. There’s more to honesty and experience that’s needed in a counntry like the Philippines, with all the problems, internal and external, plaguing it.

    • Rosalina Rojas on

      Budat n pero gutom n gutom pa rin.. Gusto silang pamilya lng ang mag may ari ng Makati at Pinas kaya karma tuloy inabot..

  7. Advice ko Kay Sen. Grace Poe:
    Tanggapin ang alok na tulong ng LP at Kung manalo ay sundin niya ang kanyang tunay na kalooban. Kung sa botante, tanggapin ang pera Pero huwag iboto.

    • that’s not honesty. that is deception which is far worse if she can get away with it! nobody will ever deal with her for fear of being double-crossed -and she becomes a lame duck right from the 1st year of her administration (if she ever wins).

  8. Excellently written article. Aside from what you mentioned qualities of a good president, allow me to add if I may, POLITICAL WILL like a LEE Kuan Yew of Singapore. Likewise, our system of government mostly patterned from the U.S., has not been effective and full of flaws due to a totally different demographics ( vis-a-vis the U.S. And other highly developed countries) that arguably compromise the choice of highly qualified and honest leaders. With rampant vote buying, goons and guns, lack of education, cheating and corrupt COMELEC officials, our electoral system is in dire need of general overhaul. In a true democracy, the power is vested in the people who rule either directly or indirectly thru their FREELY elected representatives. We are either ignorant or in in complete denial, to hold on something that is just an illusion.

  9. Bakit parang namamalikmata ang marami sa dalawang ito!si binay at Poe!!maraming puedi at mas karapat-dapat sa dalawang ito!
    Bakit parang ang media ang pumipigil upang ang iba ay mabigyan ng pagkakataon mas lalong makilala! Kung ganito ang lagi kalakaran! Walang dapat sisihin kung hindi ang media at t,v station!marami pang katulad ni Aquino ang maghasik ng lagim! Dahil ang media ang nagtatanim at nagpapalago ng mga ganito pinuno!

  10. In the Philippines… BOBOTANTE RULES…iyun at yun nayun….

    REPLY
    Are you sure? Baka naman PCOS rules.

    • nung una bobotante rules pero ng mauso ang hocos pcos machines, naging tama yung sinabi mo hocos PCOS rules. whoever controls the machines rules. me thinks na kaya kinakausap ni boy sisi si little ms. poe-pet ay mad madaling gamitin ang magic ng hocos pcos kasi mataas ang rating ni little ms.poe-pet kesa kay boy pickup. laking gulo pag si boy pickup ang lumabas na panalo sa magic ng hocos pcos.

  11. Nancy Bulok Cake on

    There are a lot of Filipinos who are honest and experienced would be candidates but don’t have the machinery or money like Binay to field themselves as candidate to be president of our country. The only problem with some priests and bishops like pabillo and cruz is that, when they are not given a pajero they tend to insinuate and make all the negative criticisms against the lesser evil. These priests and bishops NEVER commented against the AMLC’s tracing of money manipulation of the Binays in the amount of P16billion. The LIES and EXCUSES of the Binays can only be heard by the devil. How can Binay explain his P16 billion dollars or pesos when during the pre-martial law (early 70s) days, he was just an ordinary teacher at a college who cannot even afford a car. How can the Binay family make P16 billion from the early 70s to the present? Questionnable right? Now is the time for the LEFTISTS, NPAs to take back the money stolen by the Binays and give it back to the masa. Now is the time for you NPAs to fight against Binay who is worst than Marcos. To the priests and bishops (who were not given any pajero by the present administration and under the payroll of the Binays), just shut your mouths and pray to the LORD to save the Philippines from the Binays. I will vote anybody as president except Binay.

  12. Your slant is showing, Mr. Saludo. Do not make it sound like it is an analysis, when it is an subtle endorsement. You will lose your credibility.

  13. G. L. Tanglao on

    I like Poe, but it’s too early for her to run for President. When she does, and under LP, she may lose her credibility and that is paramount for middle class voters. The basic masses might not support her fully as well because she will be viewed as unfaithful to the memory of her Dad, the opposition.