“If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting.
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise…”
— From “If” by Rudyard Kipling
“IF” is one of my best-remembered poems! It does not only pack a wallop in human knowledge; it is a big bang on the level of wisdom. Every stanza breathes with knowledge and wisdom; that is why it is worth remembering. Why the distinction between knowledge and wisdom? Because in the very telling words of Dr. Ben Carson, one of the presidential hopefuls of the Republican Party in the United States of America, in the coming November 2016 presidential elections, he knows many who have Ph. Ds, with knowledge but no wisdom. Knowledge means fact and theories; but wisdom is the ability to sift from knowledge the gems that are instruments to becoming human – having fruitful guides to day to day living that last a lifetime and beyond.
It is imperative for aspiring national leaders to read books – admire them and integrate the worthwhile lessons and the drops of wisdom into their system. An aspiring national leader who does not read books is worse than fowl and bird tailings. Why? Tailings have their admirable uses – fertilizing the soil so vegetables, flowers and fruits can grow and blossom for humans to appreciate or consume. A non-reading aspiring national leader is good for the trash can – unfit even to be recycled.
It is in this light that we continue to examine the preparedness or fitness of ambitioning individuals who want to become national leaders of this country – specifically those who aspire to be the national President or Vice-President.
In our last column, we briefly examined Vice-President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay and DILG Secretary Mar Roxas and tested them by Nilo Tayag’s 3Bs and 3Cs – Best, Brightest and Bravest; Competent, Clean and Committed. We cannot help but be brief because they have been on the scene for as long as we can remember. Moreover, we do not have the time to write a lengthy article on them as they have been wearing bikinis for a long time and we have seen everything there is to see and what is covered by them are revealed by their poses, pauses, body language and their on-guard and off-guard statements that there is really nothing left to imagine.
Why the 3Bs and 3Cs as imperatives for a President or a Vice-President since the latter can become President either by accident or design, honest or criminal? The reason is quite simple because in theory the President or national leader should be the best among our people. Best in his vision of the country and of our people; best in his academic and non-academic qualifications; best on his plans, road map and blue print for the country; best in character and values; best in discipline; best in dogged and courageous determination to realize his vision, dreams, blue print and road map for the country and our people; best because he is the first among equals in all designed levels; best among the cleanest and committed.
If he is Best in all these, then he is the Bravest, Brightest, Cleanest, Most Committed and Most Competent. These are the elemental requirements for the national leader – President, Prime Minister, Chancellor or Dictator. You may think no Filipino can survive the test of these requirements. Of course, if you think that way, we are telling you – you are absolutely wrong! In our previous columns, we have witnessed that the Filipino has demonstrated these characteristics with various foreign audiences. If foreigners could judge them on the spot, at one graphic moment in time, we see no reason why Filipinos could not spot him – if they try hard enough. The many with these qualities walk with them everyday of their lives and it is time to pause and look around. And in so doing, finally discover him and throw him into the fray with the challenge that he should lead and respond positively.
With these in mind, let us examine and analyze the other possible presidential contenders – Senator Grace Poe LLamanzares because she is at the top of the totem pole in the two pretentious survey groups in this country which brag about their so-called scientific methods and accuracy.
No academic, non-academic resumes shown
She has not shown her academic and non-academic resume. We do not know where she graduated in college –under what environment and whether she was at the top of her class with academic and non-academic distinctions. She is a Filipino citizen who became an American citizen and decided to re-acquire Filipino citizenship.
Her known distinctions are as follows: She vaulted from out of nowhere to top the last senatorial elections; she looks clean and prim and gives the aura of being the most morally upright among the lady senators; she is the adopted daughter of Fernando Poe, Jr. (FPJ) – the man who was really elected President of the Philippines in 2004, a man of courage and character who could have improved this country and the life of the Filipino if he sat as President of the Philippines; she is rumored to be the biological daughter of President Ferdinand E. Marcos; she admitted at the beginning that she is not prepared to aspire for higher office; she gave the impression that she would be independent-minded as chairperson of the Senate committee that heard resource persons and witnesses to determine the validity and viability of the BBL, including the MAMAPASANO INCIDENT; she gives the impression that she is an enemy of graft and corruption.
Somersault on Mamasapano to please PNoy
So far so good! But with the drift of events, she has converted some of these assets into liabilities which damn her as an ambitioning national leader. She said she made an initial committee report that the blame on the MAMASAPANO INCIDENT ultimately lies with PNoy but she hedged later when it was bruited about that PNoy was considering her either as presidential or vice-presidential candidate in the May 2016 elections. As a matter of fact, she did not submit to the Senate a report that places the blame on PNoy as the ultimate culprit in the Mamasapano Massacre. Her somersault could only be explained by a desire not to displease PNoy so she can be the presidential candidate PNoy would endorse.
But PNoy, as expected, finally gave Mar Roxas his endorsement. She grossly miscalculated and now she is in serious trouble. She is toying between running with the LP machine as the running mate of Mar and allowing herself to be conscripted by the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) of the aging kingmaker and boss Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco.
As standard bearer of the NPC, she hopes to get the subterranean support of the Americans which, according to popular wisdom, is what makes the difference between victory or defeat. This is old hat analysis which defies a jolting precedent in this country.
The heirs of the ebullient and well-remembered President Ramon Magsaysay organized a political party immediately after his death – the Progressive Party of the Philippines (PPP). Some of the most brilliant and ablest politicians in this country were its incandescent stars – Senators Emmanuel “Maning” Pelaez, Raul Manglapuz, Manuel Manahan; and Hunters’ ROTC guerrilla fighter, Eleuterio “Terry” Adevoso – manned the newly organized machine of the party. They packed hundreds of thousands in their rallies but when the election results came, they found themselves in the kangkong farms, badly beaten.
But still Senator Poe seems to rely on her probable running mate, Senator Chiz Escudero. Her curious and mysterious relationship with Senator Chiz is a source of wonder.
Escudero is a lot of babble and bubble. He delights in salivary festival preferably in Tagalog which Manila crowds seem to appreciate with gusto. But Senator Chiz is as deep as the water in a plastic basin in the kitchen sink. Maybe Senator Grace in her limited and superficial knowledge of Chiz must think that he is as “deep as the ocean and as high as the sky,” as the line of the popular song goes. Maybe high in ambition as the sky and deep as the ocean in his motives, after all Senator Chiz’ favorites, as some of his friends and enemies almost chorus in agreement, are liquor; being separated from his former wife; making an ass of himself sometimes, as his parents-in-law used to publicly declare with a lot of obfuscating emotion before he married Heart Evangelista; and of course, Heart Evangelista. But Heart cannot be a secret weapon in the campaign because she is no Imelda Romualdez Marcos. She is probably a Korina Roxas or a Kris Aquino. But she is just that in many levels though she is definitely more beautiful than the other two, if we have to limit our standard of beauty in reference to Korina and Kris. Simply, beyond Kris and Korina, Heart is really beautiful, with or without Senator Chiz.
And on the issue of her citizenship, PNoy is correct that she is a Filipino. But when she became an American citizen and thereafter she got back her Filipino citizenship, she ceased to be a natural born Filipino citizen. But, of course, the Supreme Court can reverse me on this though its decision cannot be final because it’s infallible it as an American Supreme Court justice once said.
So if Senator Grace wants to run for higher office, her intelligent option is to run for vice-president with Mar. That way, she is assured that the citizenship question will be settled in her favor and considering that she is not ready for the presidency, as vice-president she can undergo a six-year seminar in preparation for the presidency. Forget Senator Chiz because he is the road to perdition for you.