I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If the Philippines were to hold the Presidential Elections now, Senator Grace Poe will come out the winner. In fact, if we were to believe the result of the surveys that show Poe consistently leading the popularity polls, holding the election in 2016 would just be a waste of time. I mean, why bother with the expense and chaos that go with every Philippine election when we already know who is going to win? Besides, elections in the country have always been somewhat of an exercise in futility anyway. Aside from the candidates over-promising and under delivering, the majority of voters choose a candidate on the basis of his/her popularity and not on his/her platforms.
The only thing that can stop a Poe Presidency is if she loses the disqualification case filed against her citizenship status. The other candidates are hanging on to the decision of whether or not Poe meets the residency requirement to run for the Presidency under the 1987 Constitution. If she can’t run, then the race is back on between Vice President Jejomar Binay and current Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas who already faced off with each other in the 2010 elections for the Vice Presidency. That turned ugly in the end with Roxas filing a case against Binay for allegedly rigging the automated results. The case is still pending, but I digress…
Poe is very confident about winning the Presidential election. She is not even ashamed to use her late father’s name to get the votes. The names FPJ and Panday were all over her recent speech. She does get brownie points for bothering to come up with a 20-point wish list considering she didn’t have to on account of her popularity. Yes, at this point, it is simply a wish list and not a platform because she has not outlined how she is going to achieve them.
While listening to Poe’s speech when she announced her Presidential bid, I realized it would be a relief to have someone speak in front of the public who doesn’t cough uncontrollably and someone who doesn’t have a permanent smirk on her face like the incumbent President Benigno Simeon Aquino. Poe does come across as a pleasant enough person compared to the other candidates. But still, there is enough reason to doubt her character with the way she keeps referring to BS Aquino as “honest” and as someone who had done much to curb corruption.
I mean, what the heck is Poe talking about? What is her basis in saying this? Is this a guarantee that her government, once elected, will not pursue charges against the transgressions that happened under BS Aquino government? She did contradict herself particularly when she promised to provide a transparent government and the passing of the Freedom of Information Bill. If transparency is lacking in BS Aquino’s government, then it is not an honest government.
For his part, BS Aquino gave this advice to Presidential aspirant Poe: “Our promises should be based on truth. Let’s not promise the heavens, the stars, and the moon if we really can’t reach them. Let us respect the people from whom power emanates, the ones who provide the mandate, our bosses, and give them the truth.”
Poe should heed BS Aquino’s advice. After all, he once promised almost the same things but hardly delivered anything. He also promised to prioritize the passing of the FOI bill but later on decided it was not important enough. He obviously didn’t want the public to know what was really going on behind closed doors lest they discover that he has been bribing Congress into doing him favors.
Frankly, Poe comes across as too naïve in promising too much. As a senator, she should know that it’s not up to the President alone to make the decisions for the country. The President can come up with proposals but Congress still has to approve them. A classic example of a Presidential initiative that has been stalled is the Bangsamoro Basic Law. This so-called “peace” agreement BS Aquino government negotiated with one of Mindanao’s rebel groups, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, has been labeled unconstitutional and is in danger of being junked. Would Poe come up with another agreement similar to the BBL or will she continue pushing for it as is? That probably depends on how chummy she still is with BS Aquino by the time she is in power.
Poe will have to overcome many obstacles to put a check mark on all the items in her wish list. The national budget may not be enough to follow them through. She needs to focus on one thing at a time instead of everything all at once. She should also realize that BS Aquino managed to achieve some things like the passing of the RH law with the help of the pork barrel funds and disbursement acceleration program. Members of Congress became BS Aquino’s rubber stamp when they were guaranteed a portion of the budget for their “pet projects”. With both the pork barrel and DAP declared “unconstitutional”, Poe will have a hard time securing the cooperation of Congress to approve her initiatives. You can see evidence of this now with congressmen hardly attending sessions in congress.
Poe will have to rely on her “charms” to convince Congress including her former colleagues in the senate to give her wish list a chance to come true. If she maintains her popularity high enough, she can convince the public to help her convince their representatives in congress to achieve her plans. But that is a concept that would be too hard for many to understand. Until now, the public is not aware of the power they can wield over their public servants.
When Poe said that no one man or group holds a monopoly on “Tuwid na Daan”, she should understand that no President holds a monopoly on great ideas. Therefore, she should expect opposition from others who think they have better ideas than her.
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