President Aquino is not a happy camper.
Despite all his accomplishments- $2.4 billion in investments from the U.S., $5 billion from Japan, an upgrade in credit rating, millions saved in public works and a spectrometer, no more wangwangs- the media will have none of it.
The President laments the fact the press just wants to stress the negatives- the incompetence of and alleged corruption among his close-in advisers, the Luneta incident, the failure to prosecute erring officials, the absence of meaningful reforms, a legislative agenda and judicial initiatives.
The President is, understandably, particularly annoyed that the media is only interested in his personal life.
This might tell us two things. Either Philippine media is shallow, irresponsible and incapable of appreciating the important issues in governance or the fourth estate does not take the President seriously as a leader.
I am not sure which is worse.
Pulse Asia just released the latest poll ratings. While there has been a drop in the President’s personal approval from 88% to 79%, the latter is still remarkable and ranks, among world leaders, only below that of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il’s 100% rating. The nation still trusts and likes the President as a person.
The Administration’s ratings as a body, however, are not as impressive. The public rates the Government only 57% for corruption, 51% for the environment and 47% for poverty alleviation.
There is clearly a disconnect between the nation’s assessment of P-Noy as an individual and his ability as a President. (Obama, incidentally, shares the same disconnect.)
The President needs to seriously assess why his Government’s ratings are far below his, and falling. He needs wise counsel.
P-Noy said he is taking cognizance albeit only for his personal styling: ”I am hoping that I don’t have the inability to learn so I can learn from all of them. Not only from Liz (Uy), but also from Paul Cabral and JC Buendia and, of course, my harshest critic, my sister Kris”. For those not in the loop, Cabral and Buendia are celebrity designers. Buendia did Noy’s Inaugural barong.
The President said he is also taking advise from VP Binay on his love life, rendering them quite close. Jojo has the experience.
If P-Noy is so prepared to learn and take guidance on matters of fashion and the heart, might he not, on the weightier issues of governance, also learn and take heed from well meaning and established voices in the community that are anxious to help?
The good news is that, finally, the President is apparently considering making some key personnel changes. There is talk Exec.Sec. Ochoa may be retired or shunted. We see and hear less and less from Spokesperson Lacierda and more and more from his deputy Abigail Valte (who hopefully is not the substitute of choice).
The bad news is, in the reshuffle, unbeknownst to the nation or to him, P-Noy could be set up as a figurehead by dark forces in the Palace out to take over the day-to-day reins of government. These elements will leverage the President’s personal popularity for their questionable deeds.
P-Noy is not a hands-on manager nor will he ever be one. There is concern he will be persuaded to delegate his vast powers to this faction whose agenda is not only the next 5 ½ years but beyond.
Alternatively, this band of shadowy figures will simply run rings around him, pursuing their nefarious activities under his very nose.
The above scenario could unfold, invisible to the naked eye. It is said the protagonists are already in motion.
If that should be the case then we as a nation are in trouble.
The Presidency is at a crucial point in its life, possibly at its tipping point. Four months has given it time to set its pace and direction. Before the ground starts to permanently settle, those jockeying for power in the Palace have started to stake their claims for the long haul.
As the power plays unfold, we hope the President will have the discernment to know where the good rest and where the evil lie. For this he needs help, for this he needs to reach out.
The President needs help but unless he recognizes it, unless he discards the bunker mentality that sometimes seems to overcome him, unless he stops shooting the messengers and the media that bear him unpleasant tidings; then we as a people can only sit and observe as the country we so love is taken over by elements of doubtful intent.