Earlier, the Philippines was tagged as having the worst traffic worldwide. Commuting time in Metro Manila was labelled as the seventh worst. It was also said to be “the worst place to die in.”
Now, we have to bear an indictment of the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention as a government that violates international laws and human rights.
This is regarding the case of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who has been, for over three years now, detained at a hospital. She is ailing; she has a debilitating bone disease. She has been deprived of her right to bail, while almost all her co-accused have been granted it. This is all because of BS Aquino III’s policy of vindictiveness.
Technically and legally speaking, the UN working group’s finding in the case of the former President is “just an opinion.” But isn’t the country a member of the United Nations? If the Philippines wants the UN to step into the controversy with China over the West Philippine Sea, why does the Aquino administration simply shrug off the UN findings in the case on Arroyo?
This brings me to the question, right after that incident at the international airport when the former President was prevented by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima from leaving to seek medical treatment abroad. What did the former President do to Mr. Aquino that he’s so resolute in going after her?
The only answer to this question I can give is that BS Aquino III wants to show the world that he can arrest and jail anyone in pursuit of his mantra for reform.
This is the legacy he will leave behind. Hypocrisy and self-righteousness, not to mention incompetence, insensitivity and lack of empathy.
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The Standard Poll shows that Senator Grace Poe Llamanzares is still holding onto her popularity as the next President in 2016 with Vice President Jojo Binay and administration candidate Mar Roxas statistically tied.
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has 13 percent in the survey that included him among the options.
With 41 percent nationwide depending on popularity and perception, Poe should not be too complacent; Binay or Mar can overtake her as Election Day approaches. The equation can still change.
Recall that in all surveys in 2004, when former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo ran against movie icon Fernando Poe Jr., the latter was ahead. But, in the final count, FPJ lost by over a million votes.
Elections for the presidency are not won by popularity and perception alone. You also need well-fueled political machinery in the grassroots, which both administration candidate Mar Roxas and Vice President have.
Likewise, we have to recall that Binay won over Mar Roxas for the vice presidency in 2010 not only because of the image problem of Mar, but because Binay had the advantage of a grassroots machinery which he had built for years.
My gulay, I have never seen a national candidate so hardworking. Makati has so many sister-cities and sister-municipalities. Binay also visits small islands throughout the archipelago. The fact that Binay is also national president of the Philippine Boy Scouts makes his awareness almost 100 percent. His photo in the BSP calendar is almost in every home.
I’m not saying that Grace cannot win against Mar and Binay, who both have distinct advantages. All I’m saying is that she should not bank on her popularity. Yes, she is perceived as honest. Her fresh face is welcome in our kind of politics. But these are not enough.
Funding is the bottom line.
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With no less than nine Senate reelectionists and former senators running, there are only three slots left for newcomers.
The nine includes seven reelectionists from the Liberal Party—Senate President Frank Drilon and Senators Ralph Recto and TG Guingona. Francis Pangilinan and Panfilo Lacson are returning senators.
The other reelectionists are Senator Tito Sotto and Senator Serge Osmeña. Just what party they will affiliate with is a matter of speculation. Sotto will probably be with the Poe-Escudero team since Poe is allied with the movie industry. Serge could run as an independent. My gulay, if Dick Gordon and Migs Zubiri also run, that makes nine of them having the advantage of name recall.
Just who among the newcomers can possibly make it to the Magic 12 ticket is anybody’s guess. Records have shown that name recall is most important in running for the Senate since the average voters most of the time can only place seven or less names in the ballot. That’s the reason why it’s best for Senate aspirants to run under a political party so that they will be included in the party lineup.
In my over 65 years as a journalist, having covered presidential campaigns since the time of President Elpidio Quirino running against Jose P. Laurel, campaigns have always been some kind of a break for bored provincianos. They are a form of entertainment.
That’s the reason local and national candidates spend millions of pesos to build stages and hire bands, a speaker system, singers and girls in skimpy outfits before the campaign speeches, which are boring.
Most of the time, there are the “hakot” crowds that can cost hundreds of thousands. They have to be fed and transported, as well.
I have been told by politicians that out-of-pocket expenses can go as high as P1 million to P5 million per visit to a city or municipality.
In propaganda alone in television, radio and newspapers, presidential candidates have to spend at least a billion pesos to achieve public awareness. I understand that Mar Roxas has already spent over P300 million for his infomercials. In posters and tarpaulins, a national candidate needs to spend about P500 million.
I am also told that for a candidate to win the presidency, he has to spend at least P3 billion. A candidate for vice president also has to spend at least P500 million if he is carried by a “presidentiable.” A “senatoriable” also has to spend as much as P500 million to P800 million.
Santa Banana, with the high cost of living, even a candidate for governor has to spend as much as P700 million, a mayor no less than P500 million.
No wonder there’s so much corruption in government. My gulay, how do you think politicians get their money back?