As we usher in the New Year, we list the most unexpected events of the one gone by and ponder on their significance:
1. Mar loses the Vice-Presidency- This must rank as the most unexpected event of the year. Mar will come back although he faces growing competition from Binay for the heart and mind of the President. Mar will be relying on his personal bond with P-Noy but he will have to considerably sharpen his claws and his mindset if he is to win the battle over the long haul.
Binay has the title of Number Two and the patience, skill, charm and doggedness to go with it; which, in the absence of some faux pas, makes him the star to watch in the political firmament.
The contest between Mar and Binay will be played over territory especially within the inner circle of the President; so that is the space to watch going forward.
2. The Luneta incident- This was the second most unexpected event of 2010. It revealed the inadequacies of a young Presidency in dealing with crisis. It also exposed the diplomatic immaturity and surprising willingness of the Administration to so readily surrender the country’s dignity to Mainland China.
The Government’s boycott of the Nobel Peace ceremony further confirmed our acceptance of our inferiority in relation to this nation. This does not augur well for any ambitions we might have had regarding, say, our claims on the Spratleys.
In 2011 we expect the Administration to be faced with another unexpected misadventure of equal if not greater consequence. The Government has vowed it will be better prepared this time around. Unfortunately we are not as confident. This Government does well enough in calm waters but is unprepared for stormy weather.
3. Failure to prosecute erring officials- With the trumpeting that heralded the new Administration and its promise to avenge corruption, the failure of the Government to do just that is the third most unexpected event of the last year.
In retrospect we should not have been so naïve as to believe that we would actually achieve redemption. The Administration early on displayed a lack of focus, competence and conviction despite its continuing rhetoric. There were vows at the SONA to punish the offenders, pledges to bring to task one tax evader a week, one smuggler every two weeks; but these have vanished in the currency of events.
Malacanang and its team of spin masters seem more concerned with messaging than with action. This has worked well with the ratings if not with the delivery of justice and equity to the people.
4. The dismantling of the Truth Commission- The Supreme Court decision to untrack the Commission is the fourth unexpected event of 2010. Hailed as the chariot that would bring down GMA, the Commission was dismantled by an overtly political agenda, inadequate thought and a Chief justice and a Court that were not prepared to play ball.
Coming as it did with other denials of Executive privilege, the Court’s decision means the Palace now needs to get tough with the Ombudsman if it hopes to nail any big fish of the GMA Government. We do not believe P-Noy has either the street smarts or the energy for this. Therefore, barring an act of God on Ms. Gutierrez, it appears, once again, the criminals will go unpunished.
On a more fundamental level, the continuing battle of wills between the Executive and Judicial branch does not augur well for the nation. P-Noy and Corona need to talk but neither is big or humble enough to initiate the conversation. We could be in for some gridlock in governance.
5. The Azkals’ soccer triumph- The 2-0 victory of our national team against Vietnam in the Asean Cup is the fifth unexpected event of the year. Vietnam was the defending champion, the Philippines ranked 151 in the world.
While the impact on our well being is inconsequential, the win reminds us sometimes conviction, hard work, and character are all that is needed to succeed whether on the soccer pitch or as a community.
If these virtues could be transposed to our leadership and national subconscious, we could well become the Republic that I know we can be, strong, progressive and proud.
If that should occur, then it would undeniably be the unexpected event of the New Year.