• Running for President is neither a human right nor a duty


    OPENING the morning papers yesterday and drowned again by a tsunami of stories on Grace Poe’s candidacy for President, I was moved to exclaim:

    WHAT!!!!! Will this argument over Sen. Grace Poe’s candidacy stretch out to the crack of doom? Are we fated to go on reading the press statements, pro and contra, of lawyers and politicians, until we are so sick of the lady, that we will wish she was never found?

    Is this contention the kind where no one, per an old saying, must ever be allowed the last word – because it started from a deception and a lie?

    When obstinacy is immaturity
    Is the right of a Filipino citizen to run for public office, a human right that is as fundamental as, say, freedom of speech and religion, that even government may not interfere or regulate it?

    If it is such, why is it not named in our Constitution’s bill of rights?

    It is clear that Senator Poe, her lawyers, spokesman, her financial backers and her supporters – in their naivete, ignorance or lust for power – construe this civil right in absolute terms, so much so that they threaten to mount demonstrations, disrupt the elections, in order to enforce Ms. Poe’s right to run for President.

    It does not trouble them at all that Ms. Poe, whose citizenship and identity are heavily in doubt, is imposing serious demands on the government and the public treasury, in a way that bona fide natural-born citizens would not do.

    What is so sterling about Ms. Poe’s executive credentials, her personal attributes, or her proposed program of government, that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) should reserve a place for her in the ballot (despite nullification of her certificate of candidacy by two divisions of the election body), and that every Filipino voter must absolutely be given the chance to choose her for president?

    Why should the authorities give credence to the new ploy of Ms. Poe’s camp that another lead to the identity of her biological parents is being tested for a DNA match for a period of four weeks?

    Who, except Ms. Poe’s campaign managers, lawyers and publicists, really believes that the legal argument on Ms. Poe’s citizenship can still be won after the decision of two Comelec divisions, and the unequivocal opinions of three SC justices in the SET case?

    When does this obstinacy to stay on as a candidate, become plain and simple political immaturity and silliness?

    What precludes the possibility that behind the herculean effort to delay the resolution of this case, some unseen brokers are working on the Comelec commissioners and SC justices to secure a manipulated verdict for Ms. Poe?

    Christmas ceasefire    
    Ironically, I had resolved over the weekend that in the spirit of the season and as a gesture of good will toward Senator Poe and her family, I will desist from writing for a spell on her legal and political predicament, until the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the Supreme Court have each rendered their verdicts and together write finis to this endless disputation.

    While reviewing my columns during the last half of the year, I was startled to find that I had devoted some five or six columns to the subject of Senator Poe and her case. It troubled me that this had taken me away from other topics and issues that on balance are of far greater import and deserve preferential attention. I was concerned in particular about other aspects of the 2016 elections that were not being discussed enough in the public arena and to which I might contribute more productively.

    I resolved to set aside a fresh piece of research on the legal aspects of Ms. Poe’s case, until such a time when our election commissioners and learned justices will require reinforcements.

    I thought it would be unChristmassy to say that what Ms. Poe and her camp is doing with the vox populi argument is “democratic heresy,” to cite the term used by lady Margaret Thatcher on an analogous question in England. I thought it would not be fair to berate them for rousing former President Fidel V. Ramos from bed to make him serve as amicus curiae on her behalf.

    Rising to insult and old age    
    Also in the spirit of the season, I thought of laying off from Mayor Duterte and his mock-heroic dustup with Mar Roxas.

    I resolved to stay away from the Roxas-Duterte controversy, even though I have a plausible reason for wading in.

    I actually was the first to raise a query on Mar’s Wharton credentials in the media, and I wrote about what I had learned in this column.

    In December 2013, in dismay over Mar Roxas’s boorish handling of the Haiyan/Yolanda disaster in my home province of Leyte, and in anticipation of his anointment as BS Aquino’s presidential candidate in the 2016 election, I placed a request with a cousin, who resides in the US and is a genuine Wharton MBA graduate, for a check on Mar’s background in the prestigious business school.

    I got a report in short order. In a column published on Dec. 12,2013 (“A Crisis of Competence: Lead, follow, or get out of the way”), I put in this brief note:

    “Roxas – no training as manager

    “One Filipino living in the US – a native Leyteno and a Wharton MBA alumnus – has reported to me that contrary to the official and popular impression here, Mar Roxas is not an MBA alumnus of Wharton, like, say, Manuel Pangilinan of PLDT and Jose Cuisia in our embassy in Washington, D.C.

    “A Wharton professor remembers Roxas as an undergraduate in the school. Roxas got an undergraduate degree in economics. He did not return to Wharton to get an MBA degree.

    “This shows that Roxas does not have the professional training for professional management and executive leadership.

    “Like his boss BS Aquino, he has only a bachelor’s degree in economics.”

    Mar and his staff evidently never saw my column. He made no effort to dispel any misimpression that he had a Wharton MBA, unless we credit non-performance in top Cabinet posts as such.

    Given what I know, I could have attested to Mar’s Wharton credentials (albeit undergraduate), but I was too late to join the fray. In a flash, the slapfest turned into a challenge to fisticuffs, and then to a gun duel.

    To Mar’s credit, he rose to the insult. Duterte rose to his old age.

    They have agreed to a debate instead.

    Return to reason and sobriety
    As a final note, I believe we can enforce reason and sobriety in the 2016 presidential race, if we ask each candidate to present a screed on why it is vital for our country and our people to have their services as President of the republic.

    We should demand that they sit at least for one interview by experts to explain their obsessive courtship of our highest office, and the dowry that they offer in return.

    And we should tell them unequivocally that election as President will not entitle them to unlimited access to the public treasury, their appointment of just anyone to plum posts in government, and the enthronement of their relatives and friends.


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    1. This lady Dis Grace Llamarez is really a lady does not understand a simple English. It’s clearly on the Constitution once you re-acquire your citizenship you are no longer a Natural Born Citizen but you are consider a Naturalized Citizen. She always insist about foundling the issue her citizen not as ampon.Dis Grace is a USA but a simple English she can’t understand. We know your parents are Pilipino ask Susan Roces who really her parents. She looking for her relative she can ask Susan to have DNA with her. Calling Susan Roces tell your adapted daughter who is her parents and the issue will be close. Shame on you Dis Grace you are to ambitious and you to disgrace our Constitution.I hope somebody also and a complaint for telling on her application.

      • Ronito Ines Amigable on

        Ka Ernie, puwede ho ba, pakiusap lang; Pilipino o Ilocano o Bisaya na lang po kayo magkomento; huwag na po English. Salamat po. Merry Christmas everyone. GOD BLESS.

    2. This fellow , what the heck, is so bitter. Bitter gourd ( what the heck) is, I’d bet you,an underachieving Yellow who only over- rates himself and Mar Roxas. Har har har.

    3. the government tactic is to eliminate the potential threat, and I think Ms. llamanzares is one of the threat, because all of the candidates are threat, whether Mr roxas like it or not. we need good governance and a good leader and we have to find that in 5 months time or else it is another waste of time.
      this government are loeaded of hungry wolves that each department and agency swallowed every bit of food they see. this election is our only hope , our silver bullet.

    4. In Philippine politics there is not just one elephant in the room but a whole herd.

      When Lou Gerstner became CEO of IBM he had less than 1 year to save it from bankruptcy. It really was that bad.

      He later wrote about the turnaround and transformation process in a book entitled, ‘Teaching the Elephant to Dance’

      “It’s about communication. It’s about honesty.
      It’s about treating people in the organization as deserving to know the facts.
      You don’t try to give them half the story. You don’t try to hide
      the story. You treat them as true equals, and you communicate, and you communicate, and communicate.”
      Louis V. Gerstner, Jr.

      Mar Roxas et al should step up or give up. Their constant playground antics only underline how far removed they are from being leaders.

      Mar of the same Roxas.

      The only constant in life is change itself, so the risk-averse, fence-sitting, do nothing, anti-intellectual Mar Roxas would be like putting the deckchair attendant in charge of the Titanic. It doesn’t end well.

      The Philippines needs someone who can see ahead, change course, and avoid the iceberg, rather than simply sailing into it, and then blaming some-one else for putting it there!

      Happy New Year, and bon voyage to all those who buy a ticket on the good ship SS Philippines.
      Keep your lifevests close. 2016 will see choppy waters ahead, and plenty of icebergs. It will demand more than just a deck boy to steer clear of trouble.
      Calling Captain Phasma!

      In Davy Jones locker no-one can hear you complain.
      In Philippine politics, no-one can tell the truth.

      So act wisely in 2016, or R.I.P ( remain in poverty).

      “This is the captain of your ship, your heart speaking
      We’ve run into a little storm, the boat’s leaking
      And if you haven’t guessed, this is an S.O.S.
      If you hear me, answer Yes!

      This is the captain of your ship, your soul calling
      You’d better turn yourself around, there’s no stalling
      You’re running off your course
      You’ve got your signals crossed
      And now the compass points to Help!”
      Reparata & The Delrons

    5. You said he has only a bachelors degree in economics. Your statement is very demeaning. Studying in Wharton and getting an economic degree is an act of great achievement. Why do you say only. Question, how about your credentials ? Do you have a MBA degree? Are you qualified to be a columnist in Manila Times? Do you need an MBA degree to be a president of this country? You have to watch what you write because thousand read Manila Times.

      • from my view the word ‘only’ is not demeaning, condescending, etc. in the this context.
        the writer wants to point out that contrary to the general concept or impression that most wharton graduates have mba degrees, mar only has bachelor’s because he finished only the undergraduate course… nothing offensive to that.

      • What’d heck you should watch your own mouth. How Mar handled the Yolanda does not need a Wharton MBA or undergraduate degree. The point is, Mar had no training as a manager and has proven his incompetence as a manager in various posts in government. That being the case, why should he even run for President? Only an inept President like PNoy would endorse a lousy candidate like Mar.

      • The author said: “A Wharton professor remembers Roxas as an undergraduate in the school. Roxas got an undergraduate degree in economics. He did not return to Wharton to get an MBA degree.” is it hard to comprehend. ISIP-ISIP muna pag may time.

      • What d’heck, you miss the point, Mar “boy anino” Roxas is always bragging of his MBA at Wharton, his caliber of managing every department assigned to him is as worse as undergraduate of high school, as he lost his way in real world he thinks the entire Philippines is as progressive as the Makati business district, Boy anino Roxas is like a tree without a shadow, he just nod with Boy Sisi Aquino without any power to suggest nor proposed new measure..he is lack of achievement as to say!!

    6. The presidency of our native land is a position that is bequeathed to the wishes of America. Except for one or two, our presidents were “chosen” by Uncle Sam. It is a sad fact but we, the voters, have no control on this. We have to acquire real independence to manage our own affairs and to abolish interference by America.

      • If we continue to live under mom and dad’s roof, we are obligated to heed their counsel. America is an imperial power. We have never totally severed our umbilicus from her. Therefore, it is expected that she will always impose her will on us.

    7. Deterte chickened out of all his/the challenges. Hanggang bunganga si Duterte sa kayabangan niya. He keeps on telling everybody about his alleged accomplishments in Davao. If this is true, then it took him to do this for 30 to 40 years. He cannot then transform the Philippines with all his lies in six years.
      As far as Llamanzares is concerned, her ambition to become president should be blamed on herself, Ramos (who did nothing during his term), Escudero, Sotto (the copypaste (plagiarist) king), and stupid legal advisers.
      A balikbayan informed me that in a recent survey done among registered Fil-Am voters, they have the following results:
      1. Roxas
      2. Santiago
      3. Llamanzares
      4. Binay
      5. Duterte

      • Daniel B. Laurente on

        Duterte was not lying. Hndi kasi naniniwala ang mga tao sa isang POBRE lang.
        Pag may pera ang isang tao, maraming naniniwala. Sa POBRE? KWIDAW.
        Ang iba dyan hindi naman POBRE gumaganap na maging POBRE para maiboto lang ng mga POBRE.

      • So what if Roxas is leading on FilAm surveys?!it doesn’t mean the entire Philippine should follow the america trend!!We have a unique problem in the Philippines to which a unique approach is needed and a unique personality should execute!!American sentiment is not always right!!

    8. Huwag naman masyadong feeling na kayo lang ang tama!at magaling! Puro kayo batas,dapat sundin!!
      Hindi ba batas,na sinongmang tao na gustong iapela ang kaso niya ay may karapatan na ipaabot sa SC? Anong iniiyak ninyo kung ito ang ginagawa nila!!
      Dapat sisihin ninyo ang SC dahil ayaw nila agad desisyonan ito!
      Naging pangulo si Cory kahit wala sa batas,pero sinasamba pa rin ng tao! Minsan ang batas ay nababago sa panyayari na hindi normal!
      Sawang-sawa na ang tao sa gobyernong yellow,kaya nangyayari ang mga ganito,wag ninyong pigilin! Mas maraming masamang tao,na nagsasalita ng mabuti!

    9. With much respect sir, Senator Poe’s legal defense will hold because they ar telling the truth. Comelec made their own doctrines when they declared senator poe as a non-natural born when in fact it is not in their jurisdiction.

      They also counted her residency from the moment she took her allegiance in the Ph when it should be when she came back on May 2005. So, I believe she has a huge chance of winning in the SC.

      • Daniel B. Laurente on

        You assumed that the lawyers of COMELEC doesn’t understand the Philippines. Constitution and cannot interpret well while G. Poe lawyers choose to be ignorant of the law.

        What are the other underlying reasons that no one knows particularly the class D & E voters that G. Poe is so insistent on running even without sufficient required experience in running a government? Are we satisfied being run by her inexperience satellites and her being informed of the results? Philippines have suffered a lot in this kind set up. Philippines need a leader who can grasp all the intricacy of governance.

    10. While obstinacy may be a virtue on the part of Sen. Poe, too ambitious with “fallacious” qualifications is tantamount to “hubris”. Interpreting the Philippine Constitution other than its legal connotations just to ‘qualify’ Ms. Poe as senator and run for president, is “ridiculous”. It’s plain ‘mockery’ of the Philippine Constitution.

      After all these publicity on Ms. Poe, what a waste of time to be dealing with it. No wonder the country is lagging behind, Supposed to be ‘trivial’ things are ‘magnified’ because of such celebrity status Filipinos tend to ‘idolize’ that even supposed to be learned or erudite members of the society are caught in it.

      Questions: Did she win as senator because of what she had done or because of her qualifications and service track record? What are her qualifications to govern the country? Why is she using “Poe” when she is already married to a Llamanzares?Conclusion: She thinks she can fool the Filipinos again!

    11. Yen,

      You are doing a great job in reporting the truth about PInas, More power to you and may you be blessed with honesty and integrity in your reporting. Mabuhay ang PINAS!.