Three Years Later

I re-publish a piece I wrote 3 years ago, a week before the Presidential election. Has any of it come to pass?

May 6 2010

Reasons To Vote (Or Not) For Noynoy

It is not sure that the Philippines can survive another 6 years of plunder by our leadership. In this sense the coming Presidential elections could be an inflection  point in our history. They will be a test of whether the Filipino is truly deserving of his right to enfranchisement.

This country is in dire straits. Filipinos are worse off today than they were 10 years ago. We have a record budget deficit, a record national debt. Our education, environment and health care are in disrepair. The corruption in government is encompassing. This cancer has seeped into the fiber of our society, into the values and mores of our nation.

On May 10, the Filipino has the chance to reverse this decay but for that he must choose wisely. The choices before him are A) an arguably unexciting but honest man  with the DNA and record to prove it; B) a wisened businessman with a checkered history and loads of (whose?) cash to burn; C) an ageing, deposed ex-president;  D) an ambitious young buck, heir to GMA’s baggage and E) a motley of unwinnable politicos in denial.

On the face of it the result should be a slam dunk for (A); but you would be surprised. Thus, even among those who should know better, there are objections to Noynoy which I list by order of seriousness:

1.    Noy is not competent- Competence is an overrated virtue. For this I present Exhibit A, our current President.  Based on academics, career path and political lineage, Gloria had the best qualifications to run our government. Yet where has this gotten us? Competence is a double-edged sword that can equally be applied to good as it can to evil. There are “able”candidates out there that if given half a chance would competently take this nation to the cleaners. This election is not about competence, it is about character and integrity.
2.    Noy is not a leader- Leadership is the ability to inspire others to go beyond themselves. Just like competence, leadership on its own is an overworked notion. Mandela and Gandhi had it but so did Hitler and Jim Jones, the cult leader. Singapore does well enough without charismatic leaders. This country does not need someone to bring it to the promised land. We Filipinos can find our own way there. What we do not need is for our elected representatives to rip us off during our journey.
3.    Noy’s DNA is no assurance of success- As we now know, a good tree can produce bad apples. Having said that, one’s genetic code is not unimportant. Would you vote for Satan’s son? Would you vote for Jesus Christ, son of God? Admittedly, Noynoy was not immaculately conceived, but from what we know about his provenance, his family’s values, Cory, this guy is honest and that, in my book, is 80% of the solution.
4.    What about Luisita?- I profess to know little about the affair Luisita .  To be fair Noynoy is a minority voice in what is an extended family matter but at some point he needs to come clean on where he stands on the issue (if indeed there is an issue). This should allay any fears that the Cojuangco clan will have a sway on him as it is sometimes said it had over Cory during her administration.
5.    Kris will be uncontrollable in Malacanang- You would be surprised how often this criticism surfaces particularly among women with little discernment. Listen, ladies, we are trying to deal with the future of 90 million Filipinos and you are worried about Kris? Sure, she might be more emotionally demonstrative than some mortals can bear but she has never been accused of criminal activity. I will gladly accept her ranting in the halls of the Palace about the behavior of her partner(s) in exchange for a balanced budget.

So there you are, these are the reasons given to not vote for Noynoy. If you agree with them, then cast your vote among the alternatives. If the majority of Filipinos chooses to do likewise, then God bless this nation or whatever will be left of it.

If you do not agree with them and you believe Noynoy is our best hope for salvation then vote for him (as well as Mar and their supporters in Congress). Noy may be quiet and unexciting but he is honest, thoughtful and of good will. Conferred with the mantle of power he could well surprise us as a President.

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About Leo Alejandrino

The blog is principally a commentary on Philippine politics and economics.
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6 Responses to Three Years Later

  1. Joe America says:

    I’d say you thankfully missed by a long ways on 1, 2, 3 and 5 and 4 was neutral to begin with. I do admire your frankness in putting this out for a mid-term check.

    1. He has displayed remarkable leadership, choosing people well, giving good direction, being calm under fire, and taking strong steps toward prosperity.

    2. See number 1. Also he has been steady and honest, forthright and constructive.

    3. He carries his mother’s good will and his father’s determination. He has not caved under fire nor generated great disharmony, other than among the corrupt.

    4. The decision to divide large farms into uneconomic small farms was a mistake to begin with and is a part of the reason so many Filipinos go hungry.

    5. Kris has been the respectable “First Lady” on a number of social occasions, and kept her personal travails apart from the Palace.

  2. Patricia Ilagan says:

    i campaigned and voted for Gilbert Teodoro because of his track record academically, professionally, and as a man with a good head on his shoulders who offered a positive, non-maligning, unifying posture and program of government. i didn’t vote for noynoy aquino precisely because he had no track record of any kind, even if only as a hard working student, individual, let alone professional.

    i still have the same impression/opinion, and perhaps even worse now, of noynoy aquino, so, please, if you still hold by what you wrote in that column three years ago, you should perhaps remove me from your mailing list.

    thank you.

    • Patricia, You can unsubscribe directly in the same way you subscribed.Technically I do not know how to do that for you.Thanks anyway for hanging in there however long.

    • Joe America says:

      You are not happy with the Philippine economic improvement or crackdown on corruption? Mr. Teodoro would have done it better? I look at President Aquino’s cabinet and I see predominantly dedicated, intelligent, honest people working hard for the nation’s well-being

      I am constantly amazed that Filipinos seem to prefer to dwell in their misery and bitter rivalries rather than find appreciation for the good things that are happening. Like, where is the uplift in that?

  3. I rather like the effort at analyzing, laying the cards on the table, then revisiting how things turn out. It’s healthy and we need more such sober-eyed exchanges so we can have a vibrant democracy. But let’s be less obsessed about personalities, as if we really need a superman for a leader. Let’s not reinforce the attitude and behavior that confuses democracy with oligarchy. Having chosen the top man, there remains the job of whipping the rest of the totem pole into line, from our local officials in the barangay to the intermediate officials in towns/cities/provinces. And its our job to do it. But everyone prefers to hold the spotlight on the president at the top while the guys at intermediate levels (mayors and governors and our putative representatives) who importune him to do crooked deals and things and appointments escape notice. We really have a long way to go to achieve good governance through the principle of subsidiarity operative!

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