Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Presidential POElitics: Real or Reel?

Now that Grace Poe decided to run for President of the Philippines, she is now what my barber calls, “fair game”, meaning – open for scrutiny. After all, she is seeking the office with awesome powers and correspondingly, with awesome and tremendous responsibilities.

In William Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar Act III Scene 2”, I remember reading and hearing two quotes from two excellently delivered oratorical pieces by two famous political animals during the Empirical Rome Era.

First was that of Marcus Brutus as he justified killing Julius Caesar,
“As Caesar loved me, I weep for him;
as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it; as he was
valiant, I honour him: but, as he was ambitious, I
slew him.”

Second was that of Mark Anthony as he defended Julius Caesar,
“When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept:
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff

These words remind me of Grace Poe’s situation as she announced her decision to run for President. Coincidentally, the two quotes apply to her.

As her critics would say, “for she was too ambitious, we now have to ‘slay’ her. Ambition should be made of sterner stuff – meaning, ambition itself does not get a job done. It must be combined with the necessary experience, qualifications, determination, perseverance, and a passion to get the job done well.

Three times she was offered to run for Vice President with ample support and an almost guaranteed Presidency in 2022. Three times she refused. Five to six years of Vice Presidency and running a Cabinet department like DSWD to win the “war against poverty” or DILG to localize and distribute resources and power would have been an effective preparation.

But she thinks that because of her ratings, she deserves the Presidency more than anybody else. Why? Chiz Escudero who wants to be Vice President says so.

My barber watched Grace Poe’s announcement. He tells me that she looked like she was campaigning for President of the UP Student Council. He felt sad. I told him about my slogan when I ran for President of the San Beda College Student Council – “MAyNIGONG BAGONG PAG-ASA.” That of Poe is “MAY BAGONG UMAGA”.

At this point in our history, the Philippines deserves to be more discriminating especially in the choice of Presidency. During PNoy’s tenure we have witnessed unprecedented economic progress recognized by the international community, and an undeniable success in our on-going battle against corruption.

There are things left undone. For the sake of continuity and stability, the people deserve to have someone who shares PNoy’s “Daang Matuwid” Program of Government. They deserve a successor who is the most prepared to continue the programs and one who, like PNoy, would provide the Filipino people Hope, Honor, Honesty, and Humility in government.

The candidates should be scrutinized to the minutest details how their academic preparation and work experiences match with the tremendous duties of being President.

Did her political science degree earned in the U.S. prepare her for the Philippine presidency? Was her three-year experience as a pre-school teacher at Montessori School or employment at the US Geological Survey Company helpful in preparing her to exercise the awesome Executive Powers? Was managing the FPJ Productions and the MTRCB sufficient experience to run a government bureaucracy of about 1.5 million employees?

One must have sufficient knowledge and exposure to the Executive Powers that include: Power of Appointment; Power of Removal: Power of Control; Military Powers; Pardoning Power; Borrowing Power; Diplomatic Power; Budgetary Power; Informing Power; and many other powers granted to the President under the Constitution and by statutes. Does Grace Poe have these?

She has admittedly renounced first, her Philippine citizenship, then, her American citizenship. Does she know that as President she would have Power over Aliens? In fact, the chief executive may have an alien in the Philippines deported from the country after due process. The President may also change the status of a foreigner, as prescribed by law, from a non-immigrant status to a permanent resident status without necessity of visa. Will her husband and children remain as American citizens?

There are six issuances that the President may issue. They are the following as defined in the Administrative Code of 1987: Executive Orders; Administrative Orders; Proclamations; Memorandum Orders; Memorandum Circulars; and General or Special Orders. While style could be provided by experienced civil servants, providing its contents, and knowing when to issue them would be useful.

The lines have been drawn. Binay and Poe chose to be on one side while “Daang Matuwid” is on the right side. The issues will be more defined as the campaign progresses and as the candidates are scrutinized. The people will examine the candidate’s vision: enlightened reality or cinematographic and reel.

We hope to see Pope Francis next week. As we all know he prayed to God Almighty “PNoy and the Filipino people be given plentiful blessings of peace, prosperity, discernment, and wisdom.”

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