The Presidency as Trophy

Since Philippine politics has no ideological or philosophical moorings, changing parties or allegiances is like changing clothes to suit the occasion or event. Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero had decided to quit the Nationalist Peoples’ Coalition (NPC) after hanging around for so long waiting for the founder, Chairman Emeritus, Amb. Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco, to come out of his seclusion to announce the party’s battle plans and standard bearers which do not seem to be forthcoming. Nonetheless, the plot gets thicker in view of the fact that the NPC, as of today, is still formally in coalition with the administration’s Lakas-CMD-Kampi Party whose Presidential nominee, Defense Sec. Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro, who was once the favorite nephew of Amb. Cojuangco and now embroiled in intra-family feud allegedly between their women folks and not over national interest, has been selected as the Lakas standard bearer looking for a popular and worthy Vice-Presidential mate.

On the other hand, Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino, III, who is running on the platform of “honesty” as if he had the sole monopoly of this virtue, which by the way, Sen. Chiz Escudero can easily match plus principled philosophy, perspicacity, competence and academic excellence, is asking the Filipino people to vote for a “memory” and not on merits.

There is former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada who is also asking the Filipino people to allow him to perform the finale, or last performance, of his colorful and dramatic life not only to vindicate himself but also to exorcise all the evils said and heaped upon him.

Waiting patiently in the wings and working tirelessly is the unflappable Sen. Manny Villar, whose chances of capturing the Presidency seem to improve over time, especially as the others cancel each other out, or get cast to the side, such as, Vice President Noli de Castro, Sen. Panfilo Lacson, Sen. Mar Roxas, and Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero. And Manny Villar finally has his own Vice-Presidential tandem in person of Loren Legarda a member of NPC. Legarda was known as critic of Villar was decided to make an alliance with him.

It is just plausible that the only man left standing could be Sec. Gilbert Teodoro if the Arroyo advisers do not double-cross him, and President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will go all-out campaigning for “Gibo” as if she herself was running by mobilizing all the resources at her command.

Having said the above, it is sad and tragic to realize that we do not look upon the presidency as the God-ordained mission of the highest nationalist priority, but as a mere trophy to be fought over and won. A cursory scan of the qualifications of the candidates, their ulterior motives, their agenda, their pronouncements and their intentions will reveal that service to the 90 million Filipinos is second priority to winning the trophy, and crossing the bridge when we get there, so to speak, syndrome which our politicians have been practicing all these years. That is why we are where we are. When all is said and done, hope springs eternal. Somewhere in the crowd, there is a Bro. Eddie Villanueva, a Jojo Binay, a Chiz Escudero, a Satur Ocampo, and many others who do not look at the Presidency as a sports trophy but as a sacred mission. That’s the man. You be the judge.

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