“I die the King’s faithful servant, but God’s first.”
Rita Gaddi hosts a program in Radio Uno –DZME- from Monday to Friday every week named SENTIDO COMON. It is probably the best radio program in the national air lanes – intelligent, balanced, patriotic and incomparably analytical. On top of that she is indisputably the most brilliant and beautiful woman who has been gracing a radio program from the time of President Marcos until this time of national disgrace. She was a legend in national television during the Marcos years, both for beauty and scintillating brilliance. She is still brilliant and beautiful up to these years, untouched by the normal ravages of the passing of the years.
Psychiatrist for the presidential candidates
In an intelligent and responsible democratic society, a candidate for the presidency does not only satisfy the constitutional qualifications, he is also under obligation to present his vision of the country, his blue print and road map in achieving the vision – not to speak of his capacity to achieve his vision of the country.
His vision, blue print and road map must be defined in concrete appreciable terms – detailing the specifics to give the voters a chance to examine the probability or improbability of the proposals. Thus far, not one has presented the required vision and specifics except Congressman Roy Seneres.
One is tempted to suggest that the presidential candidate who has not presented a clear vision of what to do with the country and how he intends to achieve it should undergo a psychiatric examination. Why? In the telling words of one of the best Secretaries of State in the USA, Henry Kissinger, “He who does not know how to be president in his first day of Office will never learn till the end of his term.”
In this country, we have had inexperienced individuals who became president to the eternal regret of even those who supported them in the course of the campaign because they never knew how to become president and they never learned till the end of their terms. It had not only been a dismal experience for the country, it became devastating calamities and Noynoy Aquino is no exception.
Vision and program define character of a person
Why does vision and program define the character of a candidate? The reason is quite simple. When you run for the presidency with no vision of what to do with the country and you do not have the method to achieve it, you disqualify yourself as a candidate. It simply means that you have no character. And character is a major qualification for a president.
Character is a primary element in the decision-making process. If you have no vision, you are susceptible to being manipulated by elements which serve their own interests and betray the dreams of our people for a better life. Or if not manipulated, he will have to grope for answers to very simple questions. But the presidency is not a position for on the job training. It is a job designed for a very special talented person who knows the problems of the country and who has the expertise to be able to choose the correct solutions to our problems. It is as simple as that.
Each presidential candidate must have a governance program that will respond favorably to these questions:
ON EDUCATION: What is your specific program on the Philippine educational system? Are you for retaining the contents of the present curriculum from elementary schools to the university or not? If you are not in favor, what is your proposal to change the content of the present system of education in very specific terms? Are you in favor of expanding the years of the students to stay in school or not, like the K-12? If not, why and what is your proposal in concrete terms? Are you in favor of free education for the poor and the middle class from elementary to the university level? If in favor, why? If not, why not? Are you in favor of nationalizing schools within a defined time frame? If not, why not? If in favor, why?
Free education from elementary to the university is the most important solution to the problem of poverty. In a democracy, it is an imperative element in the leveling process. The answer to this specific question will clearly define the character of the presidential candidate.
ON HEALTH: What is your position on free medicine, medical assistance and hospitalization for the poor and the middle class in the public health system? Define your answer in very specific terms and explain your answer. Are you in favor of nationalizing the manufacturing of medicines? If in favor, why? If not, why not? Are you in favor of nationalizing hospitals and health activities, within a defined time frame? If in favor, why? If not, why not?
The answer to these questions will certainly define the character of the candidate. Human survival and a suitable life are dependent on available universal health services. Recent statistics could damn any government. Examples are two definite figures release by authoritative sources in this country. The first is that seven out of every ten poor persons die for reasons of poverty because the patients could not pay for consultation fees of doctors, could not secure needed medicines, and cannot be treated in hospitals because of poverty. The other statistical figure is that six thousand children under five years of age die for reasons of poverty every month.
The vital question: Why does a religious and democratic country like the Philippines allow this to happen? It is indisputably criminal and the culprit is the system personified by an ill-prepared, insensitive and incompetent President. These facts define the character of the man who holds the helm of the ship of state.
ON HOUSING: Millions of Filipinos live in very deplorable conditions in the cities and the countryside. What do you propose to do with people who live under subhuman houses and dwellings? Do you have any specific program? If you have, give the specific details of this program.
To live in comfortable living conditions is the fundamental requirement of a healthy and meaningful life. Any government that cannot provide this to its citizen has no business staying in power and deciding the destiny of more than hundred million Filipinos. Any presidential candidate who cannot provide a rational answer to this question and the other questions on education and health has no business running for the presidency. He is only fit to tend to a bakery in Makati City or an hacienda in Batangas; or have a beer garden or shooting range in Davao City; or a small poultry farm in Capiz or a piano bar at the Araneta Center; or a beauty parlor in Greenhills San Juan City.
On Thomas More and character
This column starts with a quotation from Thomas More, later proclaimed saint by the Catholic Church. This statement came from him before he was beheaded on orders of King Henry VIII of England for refusing to render an opinion that King Henry could divorce Queen Catherine so he could marry Anne Boleyn. He refused to render such an opinion even as he was the “intellectual courtier,” secretary and confidant to the King because rendering such an opinion would violate the law of the state, the law of God and his conscience.
More’s decision spoke highly of the character of the man – a man of the law, a man of God and a man of conscience. We need to find a man of that character in a national leader. Can we find him? Yes, we can. Four months are long enough to find such a man. If we cannot, he is likely to surface during that period, if he could put together the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle. My educated guess is – he probably can.