“A man who does not know how to be President on his first day of office will never learn till the end of his term.”
– Secretary of State Henry Kissinger
Let me start with the current assumption that there will be presidential elections in May 2016. Why assumption? Because not the de facto President PNoy, not the Comelec, not the Supreme Court, not the political parties, not any group of politicians in this country, not all the powerful of mainstream media, not the American government, not the Malaysian government, not the Organization of Islamic Countries can say with certainty and finality that there will be presidential elections in this country next year.
Why? Because the desires of all these preceding elements could be nullified by the Filipino people since the Constitution provides that the “Philippines is a republican and democratic State. Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them.” As the Pharisee in Malacañang puts it in clear, unmistakable terms: “You are my boss,” meaning the boss can dismiss his servants anytime – no ifs, no buts, no dissenting opinions, no reconsideration.
It is that simple. If it is that simple — it could only mean that the decision to hold elections or not is in the hands of the people. But the people are amorphous, so how can they do it? Well, all they need to do is find a leader who like Cicero can make them listen and like Demosthenes can make them march.
It’s impossible you will say, intoning the lines of a song that it’s impossible to ask a baby not to cry. We are not talking here about babies. We are talking about politics and in politics everything is possible. As President John F. Kennedy used to say, “In politics there are no permanent friends or permanent enemies, there are only permanent interests.” And in JFK language, the permanents interests are the country and the people.
So finding that leader in a country of one hundred million may not be that easy, but it is not impossible.
In our search to find that leader, the next question should be: “Is anyone among the ambitious presidential contenders that kind of a leader?” Without meaning to insult or belittle them since some of them I know quite well, I am afraid that the answer is an absolute and irrevocable –NO!
Let us start with DILG Secretary Mar Roxas. I know him. I have watched him perform on stage and in the field. Senator Gerry Roxas, Mar’s father, was a colleague of mine in the Liberal Party. More than anybody else I still think he was more deserving to become President of the country than the other LP stars like Senators Jovito “Jovy” Salonga, Sergio “Serging” Osmena, Jr. and Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr. Mar’s grandfather, President Manuel Acuna Roxas, keeps reminding me of the oratorical brilliance of Demosthenes in the golden days of Greece.
Mar satisfies the three Cs of my friend, Nilo Tayag, with serious reservations – Competent up to a point; seemingly Clean; limited in his national Commitment. On Nilo’s three Bs, he receives a failing mark because he is not the Best, not the Brightest or the Bravest.
Besides, he has an identity problem: Is he Mar or PNoy? Is he his own man or somebody else’s? If some people were to be believed, he is under the thumb of his mother, Judy Araneta and Korina, his wife.
More than all these perceived negatives about him, he does not have charisma. He has more alisma than charisma. In periods of national crisis or at any other time, charisma is what makes people march behind you. You must be like Sukarno, Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Evita Peron, Lenin and Troztky, Fidel Castro and Che Guevarra, John and Robert Kennedy, Winston Churchill, Moammar Khadaffi, Gammal Abdel Nasser, David Ben Gurion or, in the local scene – Fernando Poe, Jr. (FPJ) and Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada.
Moreover, like the rest of the pack, he has not offered his vision of the country, his blue print, his road map. He has not demonstrated that kind of character and discipline that the country needs. In plain and simple language, he is nothing but a traditional politician (TP). And the country needs a traditional politician like a hole in the head. Translating a cliché into graphic language – he talks like a TP, walks like a TP, he is a TP. In the language of the street – Mar walks like a duck, he talks like a duck, and he is a duck.
This kind of blunt language will not make friends. For the country and our people, I don’t mind having enemies. This is me. As a classmate and roommate of mine at the University of the Philippines, Senator Edgardo Angara, told a columnist for a Manila daily when asked about me, he said I could have reached the heights if I do not wage a war against everybody. I don’t wage wars against anyone. I continue to wage a just war for our people and our country so equality, justice and freedom will prevail in our land.
And now Vice-President Jojo Binay! He was one of the acolytes of Senator Joker Arroyo in the humanist group of lawyers known as MABINI during the dark days of martial law. There is nothing spectacular or distinguished about him as there was nothing distinguished or spectacular about the group MABINI. Voluble later when Cory Aquino assumed power and swaggering like they were responsible in deposing President Ferdinand E. Marcos, none of them could be described as good trial lawyers or idealists. Most of them were interested to get government jobs as passports for making money. And make money, they did, almost without exception.
And VP Binay is no exception. As his friends are fond of relating, he started practicing law commuting on public transport with his barong tagalog inside his attaché case. His rise to economic prominence was when he was appointed OIC Mayor of Makati City. From the dust of Makati, he vaulted into the economic and political solar system parading around as one of its stars to the point, as somebody quoted him to have said, he is as rich as Bill Gates. Really? Bill Gates is noted for honest to goodness brilliance in making honest money within the capitalist system. VP Binay has become notorious of making mind-boggling money as a rapacious traditional Philippine politician.
Many call VP Binay the Robin Hood of Makati City because he shares his loot with a certain segment of the poor. But the initial reply of more knowledgeable people to this claim is that VP Binay is more Hood than Robin.
Similarly, when the revelations of VP Binay’s staggering wealth by his confederates and factotums like Vice-Mayor Mercado, I have been told by more than two persons that Jojo reminds them of that story in the Arabian nights of ALI BABA and the FORTY THIEVES. The members of the thieving band like Mercado, they say, are openly admitting in straight from the shoulder language that they are the members of the thieving band but until now, the leader, ALI BABA, could only come out with a sheepish denial that he is not the leader and he is not a thief.
VP Binay is a lawyer and a UP graduate at that yet he failed to remember three basic truisms in law – that denial is the weakest defense; that the guilty runs away but the innocent is as brave as a lion; and res ipsa loquitor – the thing speaks for itself.
Translated into ordinary lingo: denial is not a defense, it is normally the usual defense of the guilty; you run away from your accusers giving the impression that you cannot defend yourself despite your accusers’ assurance that you will be treated with respect; your wealth, your life style, the life style of your children, your swaggering pronouncements tell a million words just like damning pictures.
Now, you even have the effrontery of defending an antediluvian concept of dynasty, which is condemned by the Constitution. You are probably relying on your wealth that it can propel you to the presidency because, as some people claim, you vaulted to the vice-presidency because of the manipulators in Comelec and P1.5 BILLION. How true, I really don’t know.
Testing VP Binay on the same standards as Mar Roxas on the 3Bs, he miserably fails in all. On the three Cs, he sinks to rock bottom in one, equally fails in another but probably gets a 3 in UP standards in one. So Vice-President Binay can only hope to win if the people will be under anesthesia on the continuing belief orchestrated by the oligarchs, the rich and the privileged elites that people will vote for the candidate who shares the loot with them.
Of course, this doctrine is an insult to Filipinos but the Filipinos have been accepting the insult in every election and another one will not make any difference, until someone gives them a shock treatment or a surgical operation. And this is coming.