Countless Filipinos are dismayed that PNoy continues to give mixed signals on his plans for 2016.
Although PNoy claimed during the Bombo Radyo interview last week that he’s looking forward to regaining his freedom when he steps down from office, he also said in the same interview that he’ll consult his “bosses” on charter change (cha-cha) proposals for term extension especially after some folks supposedly expressed apprehension at how the reforms he instituted could be continued beyond 2016.
That PNoy even entertained the thought of staying in office a minute longer is an insult to the legacy of his mother, former President Corazon Aquino – a revered icon of Philippine democracy.
Apparently, PNoy believes that he has truly transformed the country and radically improved the lot of Filipinos that we are clamoring for more of the same bullshit for another six years.
Truth is, many of our countrymen are clueless as to what reforms PNoy has been talking about.
Massive corruption still persists throughout the bureaucracy, from the barangay all the way to the national level notwithstanding PNoy’s purported anti-corruption policies and programs.
The number of Filipinos living below the poverty line has remained almost unchanged since PNoy took over, with a majority of our population still deprived of basic human supplies like food, water, sanitation, clothing, shelter, health care and education.
A recent Social Weather Station (SWS) survey also shows that, during the second quarter of 2014, the number of unemployed Filipinos increased by 300,000 individuals to 25.9 percent or 11.8 million people – equivalent to the entire population of Metro Manila (based on a 2010 census)! That’s one in every four adult Filipino without a job.
SWS noted that for almost a decade now, joblessness has consistently been above 20 percent, belying PNoy’s claims that he has fulfilled his ambition of providing jobs to Filipinos.
Business news outfit Bloomberg also reported last week that the country’s inflation has doubled in less than a year to 4.9 percent while food prices surged 8.2 percent in the same period – the fastest pace since 2009.
Worse, wealth inequality between the rich and poor in the Philippines is now the second highest in Asia after China – a situation confirmed by the recent Forbes magazine article which concluded that the combined wealth of the country’s 50 richest increased by 12 percent from $65.8 billion to a whopping $74.2 billion in 2013.
PNoy’s exaggerated sense of achievement has led some folks in the medical community to ask whether the self-proclaimed “father of our nation” has developed the so-called “hubris syndrome” (HS).
Lord David Owen, a former British foreign secretary and now a member of the UK’s House of Lords, coined the term “hubris syndrome” – a form of acquired personality disorder usually afflicting people holding positions of significant power – to describe how such power can bring about a change in personality; as if power, almost literally, “goes to the head.”
“The key concept,” Owen writes in the neurology journal Brain, “is that hubris syndrome is a disorder of the possession of power, particularly power which has been associated with overwhelming success, held for a period of years and with minimal constraint on the leader.”
Hubris, according to researchers, is commonly associated with a loss of contact with reality and an overestimation of one’s own competence, accomplishments or capabilities.
It is characterized by a pattern of excessive confidence in the individual’s own judgment and contempt for the advice or criticism of others, recklessness and impulsiveness often leading to rash, ill thought-out decisions, and hubristic incompetence, where things go wrong because too much self-confidence has led the leader not to worry about the nuts and bolts of policy.
Not a few observers say this may have led to some of PNoy’s ill-fated moves like butting heads with the Supreme Court, toying with a term extension, obsessing with the reversal of the unconstitutional DAP, which caused the Aquino administration’s net approval rating to plunge to a historic low of 29 percent.
Media reports say the Palace’s political and PR strategists are now mounting a massive media campaign to “recreate” the public image of PNoy, with Interior Secretary Mar Roxas bringing in Paul Bograd, a renowned foreign pollster and political strategist.
But some analysts argue that PNoy ought not waste money on spinmeisters. They say all he needs to do is follow the advice of medical researchers on how leaders like him can protect themselves against HS.
“Qualities protective against disproportionate hubris, like humor and cynicism are worth mentioning…but nothing can replace the need for self-control, the preservation of modesty while in power, the ability to be laughed at, and the ability to listen to those who are in a position to advise,” the researchers said.
Other scientists suggest that leaders should avoid inculcating a “yes, boss” environment and should stay in regular contact with contrarians and get external input from independent people.
Amen to that!