People are starting to talk.
Two weeks ago Armando Doronila, a respected columnist, took P-Noy to task for his failure to define a vision for the country and for immature and insensitive acts (the Porsche for one) unbecoming of a Chief Executive.
Last week Archbishop Cruz called for the resignation of P-Noy on grounds of incompetence.
Elsewhere there is a consensus the President’s inner circle is weak and fractioned, that while his Cabinet is by and large honest and competent, his close-in advisers are lightweights whose only credentials are shared passions and past intimacies with their master.
While these voices are nascent and still bellows in the wind, they are healthy reminders to a Government often in a stupor.
The messengers may not be altogether altruistic, but their message of the President’s lackadaisical approach to governance, his measured inclination for work, his sometimes frivolous life-style and questionable people judgment; is gaining traction even among supporters of the man.
The President views his position differently than what he promised on the campaign trail. The Presidency is to Noy a job, not a passion. Presidential time is divisible between the public and the private, between work and play. He is accountable for the former, not for the latter.
Some say P-Noy has neither the capability nor the intellect for the task.
The man is intelligent, caring, maybe even courageous. What he has, arguably, is the condition not uncommon among those born into aristocracy, a love of adult playthings, a reaction to criticism, a stubbornness, an absence of endeavor and ambition.
Mindfulness is a Buddhist concept meaning to watch yourself. Noy is, periodically, mindless.
He is a good person unwilling to go beyond himself. He is seemingly (and frustratingly) unaware of the significance of his stature, of the responsibilities of leadership, of his place in history. Being President is not just a matter of showing up.
There are many who wish the President ill. These include GMA & Co., exposed military generals, indicted mass murderers and those with an eye to 2016 (or earlier). This cast of characters would be reason enough to accept the foibles of the President.
However, we should not define the quality of our leader by the quality of his opponents. The President should be measured on his own right. As citizens we would be derelict to accept a debased standard because he is the lesser of the evils.
In the President’s defense, he remains very popular with the people. The economy is growing at a good clip. How can he be faring badly if he enjoys a trust rating other world leaders would kill for?
How does one claim the President has no clothes when he continues, in the public’s eyes, to walk on water?
His poll numbers may turn out to be the curse of the want, of being careful of what you wish for. They seduce him into a sense of accomplishment, belying the underlying realities.
Polls are what economists call a lagging indicator. They measure the past, not the present or the future.
Secondly, trust ratings are an assessment of the person not necessarily of his body of work. Filipinos trust the President. I am not certain, however, they are as approving of his unfulfilled promises, of his failure to deliver justice and redemption to the nation, of his ability to handle a crisis.
Lastly, there are truths, there are lies and there are statistics. GDP is a measure of economic output. It does not measure its quality nor its distribution. Are the rich just getting richer?
Despite all the hooting and hollering, the more well-meaning of the President’s critics would-as I would- still vote for him if the elections were held today. He is unquestionably still the best game in town.
However, should he fail over time to deliver to his promise and potential, he sets the stage for the argument that perhaps what this country needs is not an honest man but a competent one.
Already we hear rumblings of this nature, that better a dishonest doer than an honest non-doer (This notwithstanding that our two most “competent” Presidents have been our worst).
That is the road to perdition. If, because of the default in P-Noy’s leadership, this nation should succumb to this false imperative, that would be tragic.
What it also would be is unforgivable.