Monday, February 01, 2010

Initial Analyses of the Candidates for the 2010 Presidential Election

Hit the proper age.  Check.  Register as a voter.  Check.  Pick the presidential candidate.  Check.  All ready.  I’m now all set to send Francis “Chiz” Escudero to the Malacañang Palace.  Uh, what?  Escudero’s out of the race? Bummer.
So with my man Escudero not running this election, I have to pick a new bet on this first national election that I’ll be able to exercise my right of suffrage.   Let’s get this straight, I am a patriot.  I do love my country, though I make fun of it sometimes.  I might joke of getting excited of finally being able to vote to get rich from all those candidates’ bribe money, but in truth, I would never allow anybody to buy my vote (“Owwws”).  My pride is not worth it (“Owwws”).  I am not going to do something that would make me in the same league with these power-addicted politicians that have no set of morals! (“Owwws.  Mega hypocrite.”)
Anyway, I do research on this people running for president.  I watch the TV specials/forums/debates of the presidentiables (finding out these guys are nearly as interesting and funny as those outrageous and crazy nuisance candidates when they file their candidacies).  I surf their sites.  Look at their achievements and platforms.  Not as if I care what they achieved or what they claim to do if elected president.  It’s just a way on trying to figure out these candidates.  There’s no way we could really know these people. They all wear masks.  But in an initial way, I could make an initial analysis on these candidates to help me pick my candidate.
So in no particular order, here are my analyses…

Joseph Ejercito Estrada (“Erap”) – Partido ng Masang Pilipino
Let’s start with the “People’s President.”   He’s soooooooo popular with the people.  People love him.  Are Filipinos really suckers for movie stars turned politicians?  He won in the 1998 elections even though it was claimed the government was rigging the election for Jose De Venecia to win (The late FPJ was not able to do so against PGMA and Garci’s rigging in the 2004 elections).      And even if he was kicked out of his stint as president back in 2001, he’s still mighty popular.  The name Estrada ensured the victory of his wife Loi and son Jinggoy in the Senate.
Sure, he talks and acts like an idiot most of the time, but he has a good track record as mayor.  And during his short run as president, the Philippine economy was turned from a negative growth (inherited from Ramos) to a 6% growth by 2000 (Yeah.  Yeah.  I still think the momentum was set by Ramos for that growth, but it was, take note, two years after Ramos left.).   Another thing I liked about when Erap was president was he went on all out war against the Islamic terrorists (I refuse to call them freedom-fighters, they are definitely not!) and crushing the MILF (when he was kicked out and PGMA took over, the MILF regain their strength).   I never liked People Power 2 (the first PP was justifiable because it was against a dictatorship, but in Erap’s case, there is no “secret police” or martial law that can hinder a proper process).  If a president has to be removed, it should undergo due process.  That’s what an impeachment trial is all about.  (Erap’s lawyers kick the butts of Joker Arroyo and his colleagues.)
Erap’s “Erap Para Sa Mahirap” slogan gives the illusion that he was once poor.  Give the fact that he never graduated in college and the illusion is complete, as if he did not complete college because of poverty.  But actually in reality, Erap was from a rich family.
All things considered, I will not vote for Erap in this election.  He’s better off returning to the movies.  By his insistence of running himself in this election, instead of supporting a candidate (like Chiz, maybe), what I see is not someone that has the burden on wanting to continue serving the country after being “interrupted.”  What I can see is someone addicted to power.
Another point against him is he’s old! He’s, I think, 73 years old.  Would you want a president that talks and walks like that?  And someone, though not convicted “without reasonable doubt” (yeah, I also think the trial for plunder was rigged), has a tarnish of scandal?  Hell, no.  Never.

Eduardo Villanueva (“Bro. Eddie”) – Bangon Pilipinas Movement
Let’s get it straight.  I am a Christian.  What you call Born-Again.  So, you can say I am in the same religious wavelength with Bro. Eddie.  Some Christians would blindly vote for him because they say that he is righteous and that what we need is a righteous leader that would change the corrupt political system.  I am not one of them.  I believe I am not alone among the evangelical community that would not vote for him.  We are forgetting one thing:  he is a preacher of the Gospel and it would destroy his testimony if he seeks office.
As my father pointed out, Jesus Christ himself did not at all seek political power to correct the corruption and injustice in the political system back then (that was not his mission, he was here for something more important).  He actually ran away when some wants to make him a political leader.  He was only interested in what really matters: the Good News.  So when you are a Christian preacher or teacher, you teach about what really matters, you teach about Jesus whom you know and love.  Nothing else matters.  What is happening right now is Bro. Eddie is now, instead, “preaching” about himself.  I find it uncomfortable when he is being claimed as the “Pag-asa ng Bayan.”  (As Christians, Jesus is our only hope).  Moreover, I find it uncomfortable that the resources and machinations of the “Jesus Is Lord” denomination are being used to promote, not Christ anymore, but Eddie Villanueva.  Their Sunday shows on Sunday mornings in GMA-7 are now used for Bro. Eddie promotions and propaganda. The gospel is lost.  It really shatters Christian testimony.  It seems they force the message of “Gospel=The Rise of the Philippines as an Economical and Power=God’s chosen one is Bro. Eddie Villanueva.”   For my fellow Christians, please, we should all go back to the basics.  Sure, it is not wrong to love your country.  It is not wrong to pray for our country.  But we should remember that we are Christians-first and Filipinos-second.  Our Christian purpose is paramount.  The Kingdom we belong in is not of this world.
And that’s just another thing what I think is wrong with Bro. Eddie.  He acts as a “Filipino-first and Christian-second.”  His love for his country is more than his love for his God.  We can see that on his answers on the TV forums.  He is afraid to proclaim his faith would be his guiding force when he makes national decisions.  A good Christian national leader should not be afraid or ashamed to admit that he will be on his knees praying to his God when tackling difficult national matters even if he will be ridiculed or be accused of being biased of his faith and morality when deciding national issues (The guy I am talking about is, guess what, George W. Bush.  Surprised he’s a Christian?).  Another thing is when Bro. Eddie went to the wake of Iglesia Ni Cristo’s patriarch Eraño Manalo.  What is he thinking?  He’s acting like a politician, playing the game like on the world’s terms.  He’s courting for INC’s support.  To add more damage he talked of Manalo as a great spiritual leader.  What the - ?   Hello?!  The God you are preaching about is different from the God they believe in (Don’t give me that “we all have the same God with different names”-crap.  Totally naïve.)  The God that became man to die for your sins is not God to them but a mere human.  Come on.  Isn’t that an insult to the God you love?  Just for the sake of getting their nods, you’ll kiss their… whatever.  It’s a job for politicians.  You’re a Christian leader, not a politician.
Being an activist before he became a Christian, I think being a radical Filipino patriot is really integrated in him.  His heart probably sincerely aches of immorality, corruption, poverty, and injustices in our country.  He really wanted to make a change.  I do respect him.  But I wish he realizes that he is doing a more effective way in combating these evils in a heavenly perspective as Christian evangelist.  Promoting God as the only answer.  It is a more blessed calling.
We can never really judge him. What if God really did call him?  If, indeed, God calls him to be a president, well, surely he’ll win.  If God is with him, who can be against him?  But if he just decided to run because of his burden as a patriotic Filipino that wants the Philippines to prosper… well, he’ll lose.  Maybe by losing, he’ll realize what really matters most in his life: God, and not the prosperity of his country.
For now, my stand is I will not vote for him.  My mind would change if these things would happen: 

a.)  He will start acting as a “Christian-first, Filipino-second.” I am not against a Christian going into politics, I am against a Christian, who thinks that changing the country and the political system for its economic and moral revival is the gospel, going into politics.   
b.)  He’ll leave as the leader of JIL and would separate himself from the denomination in identity.  
c.)  His campaigning would not be run by JIL funds and machinations and TV time (Sundays are for preaching the gospel and not campaign ads).  
d.) And the most important part, if God calls me to vote for him, I would.

John Carlos de los Reyes (“JC”) – Ang Kapatiran
Excuse me, who?  A national nobody.  This guy actually thinks he’ll win?
Well, when I first heard his name I did pay attention to him to know this nobody.  Could he also be a charismatic youngblood (like Chiz)?  He seems to claim he is the representative of the “youth.”  But I found out he’s not at all charismatic.  Not at all articulate and cannot construct his thoughts well.  He’s so nervous in those TV specials for the presidentiables and seems so close to crying.  Like, startle him with a “Boo!” and he’ll break down crying.
Did he ever think that the youth votes would go to him when Escudero decided not to run?  I don’t think so (Those youths that are mesmerized by Chiz’s fluency and youthful intelligence would find it in Gibo among the remaining candidates, thus it is probable that the votes will go his way, and never de los Reyes’).
JC’ll never win.  I promise to eat this laptop I am writing this essay on if he ever won.
Maria Ana Consuelo Madrigal-Valade (“Jamby”) – Independent
If I hadn’t researched, I wouldn’t have discovered her complete name.  I am actually amused she decided to run as independent for the presidency.  Makes us wonder what is going on her mind.  Is she crazier than Miriam Defensor-Santiago, or she just has the Messiah Complex to save the Philippines from the evil known as Manny Villar?

She is part of an elite family, but is more known having a "palangkera"-attitude (very Miriam).  She is almost like Miriam  (but Miriam is still more entertaining) who have some short bursts of insane and sharp-tongued comments or attacks but, nonetheless, being a fearless, smart and knowledgeable legislator.
I won’t really vote for her, though I joke I would and hope she would win.  Is insanity a ground for impeachment?  If she won, and Mar Roxas won as VP, she would be impeached and someone decent would be president.
Enough about her.  I never really bothered taking her seriously.  (Though I would had voted for her if she had run for the Senate instead... like I would vote for Miriam.  The Senate is fun with them in it.)

Manuel B. Villar (“Manny”) – Nacionalista Party
The greatest advantage of Villar is his “rags-to-riches” story.  Someone who was poor once, but through “sipag at tiyaga” (hard-work and diligence) became a multi-millionaire who can burn lots of money for TV ads jingles that get stuck at children’s heads (if you are an elementary pupil and you don’t memorize the song, you’re not in).  Yeah, his catchy TV ad is the reason he is closing the gap between him and top-survey Noynoy.  But, remember, catchy as Villar’s TV ad is, just the same as the regular catchy TV ads for products, they are designed to hypnotize you to buy the product and when you finally do, you’ll realize it was all hyperbole and lots of bull.
Villar might be accused of corruption (the c-5 extension scandal) but he does have an admirable record.  Starting out as a fish vendor, he financed his education, became a CPA and then became a successful entrepreneur and founding a vast property conglomerate.  He became a congressman and Speaker, and during his stint created two major cities, Las Piñas and Muntinlupa, which are now strong business hubs.  He was also a Senate President when he became senator.  He has promoted entrepreneurship programs and built housing projects.  With his success in business and politics, he does have the capability.  Give Villar his dues, not all of his boastings in his ads are empty.
But will I vote for him?  Ah.  He’s still not my candidate.  His life story really appealed to me, as well as his political warmth and charm and his managerial skills to get where he is now.  But the C-5 scandal keeps nagging at me (watched the Villar segment in “Failon Ngayon” in ABS-CBN).  Why wouldn’t he face it in the Senate if he is indeed innocent?  Instead, he does not go to work anymore just to avoid the issue?  Villar could have been a nice guy at some time, but I think he is among the ones who are already corrupted by power and was tempted to use a position for personal gain.  It’s hard to trust someone who has the potential to steal money when he is on top.  There might be a slight chance I would still vote for him, but for now, no, I would not vote for Villar.  Maybe I would consider voting for him if he do some silly dance in a campaign ad like what he did in 2007 Senate elections (really, Villar dancing with that smile of his was so funny).

Gilberto Teodoro, Jr. (“Gibo”) – Lakas-Kampi-CMD
 “Galing at talino” is Gibo’s slogan.  It’s not at all empty words.  He’s smart and competent.  It shows.  When he’s on those TV forums, he gives clear answers on the issues and questions thrown at him.  Among the candidates, he is the one, I can observe, which have a focused vision if elected.  As I’ve said, he’s intelligence and fluency might get those youth votes that were meant for Escudero.     
He was a bar topnotcher.  He has some solid education from Harvard.  He has deep experience from being a corporate lawyer, a congressman, and as the youngest defense secretary in Philippine history.  According to the profile I read about him, he brings to his job “youthful dynamism, a civilian perspective, and blue-chip pedigree.”  He’s fresh and tough.
I was actually considering voting for him.  He impressed me with his intelligence, articulation, and focus.  But I am not still sure.  Though he has the integrity (that’s why the Administration pick him as their bet), he will always be PGMA’s lackey.  It’s a scary thought.  PGMA as Prime Minister (if her diabolical plan of being elected as congressman and then spearheading a cha-cha to make her PM) having a hold on a President Gibo.   Scary.  Gibo might not be corrupt but he’s surrounded with people who are, especially his boss.  If he wins, the same people behind the current administration that runs this government will remain in power.  Thus, all this factors considered, I am wary of voting for him.  

Nicanor Jesus Pineda Perlas III (“Nicky”) – Partido ng Bansang Marangal
He actually has an impressive bio-data.  But he’s too ambitious if he ever thinks he has a chance of winning.  He’s a known environmentalist that wants to legalize divorce in the Philippines – that alone put his chances of winning the presidency from to 0.00000001% to full oblivion.

He was already dismissed as a nuisance at first, but because of the Court, he was returned back to the race.  It was better off if he stayed disqualified, saving him a painful loss as - possibly - the last placer in the election.
He's intelligent but a non-factor.

Richard Juico Gordon (“Dick”) – Bagumbayan Movement  
Among all the candidates he has the best, tested and proven, administrative skills.  He did not really do anything special as senator, but his true talent is not in the legislative branch but in the executive branch.  His optimistic spirit and quick-action mentality are big pluses.  He did wonders with Subic, and he is an effective Red Cross chairman.  With what he did and his experience with Subic and the Philippine Red Cross might just make him a good president.
I could vote for him.  Having him as president – someone that could deal with crises immediately and effectively, that could improve economic status of a city, and act in a disciplined and focused manner – could make dramatic changes for a country.  But I am not committing anything.  He’s really not that popular and we are not really assured if he will be an effective national government leader as much as he is as a local government leader.

Benigno S. Aquino III (“Noynoy”) – Liberal Party  
I really can’t find anything special in him, or any special thing he did in the government.  He’s just the son of the legend in the 500 peso bill, the son of a former president that was also a symbol of democracy, and the brother of the Philippine’s greatest product endorser (only rivaled by Manny Pacquiao).  That’s it.
I admire his father, Ninoy Aquino Jr.; he was intelligent, articulate, charismatic, and a noble patriot.  If Noynoy inherited his father’s strengths, in a blink of an eye, I would vote for him.  Unfortunately, he did not have his father’s strengths.  Though I think of his mother, Cory, as an incompetent and overrated president, I would give it to her that she was a symbol of democracy and an inspiration to nationalism.  Noynoy is also a symbol… but only a symbol of being an Aquino.  People just see him as the son of Filipino legends, not as a person, an illusionary symbol on what his parents stood for.
He is also accused of being lazy and not taking his job seriously, often being late on his appointments and work.  I don’t know if it’s true, but it’s minus points for him.
His platform of government is cannibalized from Mar Roxas, whom is actually equipped and understands most, if not all, of the issues of the land (Mar is my second choice, but unfortunately, he also decided not to run for president to give way for, ugh, Noynoy) .  At the forums in TV, he delivers unsatisfactory answers, makes me question if he really knows what he’s doing or what he’s going to do if elected.   

“Hindi ako magnanakaw” he promises… Mmm.  Maybe he wouldn’t for the sake of the honors of the name Aquino.  But it doesn’t make him invulnerable to temptation.
He’s actually the frontrunner in the surveys, so it is very probable he would win.  Hmmm.  If he wins and, mmm, somehow, something happens to him, that would make Mar president!  A good scenario.  Morbid thoughts.  Just kidding.  Anyway, if he wins, I hope he surrounds himself with smart and honorable men to advise him.  Give Mar an important designation.  Maybe even asking those guys that run for President and Vice-President to help him.  He could steal Gibo from PGMA’s clutches, put Bayani Fernando as DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways) head, Gordon or Jojo Binay in DILG (Department of Interior and Local Government), Perlas as DENR secretary, etc.  That may go well.

*     *     *
So who would I ultimately vote for then?  I got no candidate to support yet.  But there’s still a few months left till Election Day, enough time for me to think who would deserve to be president.  Who knows, maybe one of them would pay me a hundred K to vote for him.

1 comment:

Ramon Guico said...

This is an interesting article. Wish I had read this sooner. Thanks for sharing.