POSTSCRIPT / June 27, 1999 / Sunday


Philippine STAR Columnist

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Erap has to mend fences with upper-middle class

IF Postscript readers had their way, President Estrada should step down immediately. This is clear from the updated tally of responses to the ongoing Postscript opinion survey on the first year of the Estrada administration.

The latest tally showed that 99 percent, or almost all, of the respondents consider President Estrada a big failure, with them not seeing any way he could rise to the heightened demands of the presidency.

The tally of the second wave of respondents to the Postscript survey did not change the massive rejection registered with the first batch of responses.

* * *

WE will continue to receive and tabulate responses, but our last report on the current poll will be that one to be published on Tuesday. We will just gather the responses for our own analysis.

The twin questions we had posed to readers were

  1. What was President Estrada’s greatest achievement in his first year in office?
  2. What was your biggest disappointment with him as President?

We prefer one-liners for responses. No need to elaborate. Also, while there’s no need to give your full name, we would appreciate your indicating your age and sex. Send responses to

* * *

THIS survey is not a scientific process, as we have pointed out earlier. The respondents do not represent a cross-section of the national population.

The medium used, which is the email facility of the Internet, immediately sets the respondents apart. They are upscale in the educational and economic ladder and have computers and Internet capability.

We assume that they, or most of them, do not belong to the adulating masa that break out like movie fans whenever President Estrada (Erap to them) comes into view.

This may explain the apparent discrepancy between his almost total rejection by the respondents and his reported still high, although diminished, rating with the masa.

But our survey, we think, offers some insights that the advisers of Mr. Estrada should look into if they want to win middle-upper class — and if they care at all, we hasten to add. It could happen that Erap’s boys don’t care about the slim segment of the middle-upper class so long as they think their boss still enjoys the approval of fanatical fans.

* * *

MALE readers continue to dominate the survey, comprising 78 percent of the respondents. By age, those from age 31 to 50 bulge out as the most vocal, broken down into 31-35 years old (15.3 percent of respondents), 36-40 (13 percent), 41-45 (14.6 percent), and 46-50 (15.4 percent.

Some 14 percent of respondents are Filipinos living abroad, reading the STAR online edition in the Internet. We have not checked if their responses had been conditioned by what they read in the STAR, but a number have expressed agreement with observations of STAR columnists.

In the second wave of respondents, we finally have some teenagers (3 percent) who are all students. The youngest is a 14-year-old La Salle student from Lipa City.

Eight foreigners are among the respondents, three of them expatriates working in Metro Manila. All of them have expressed disappointment with the Estrada administration.

* * *

KALILAH H. Iriarte, 14, of De La Salle Lipa-Unified School, Lipa City said among other things:

“(President Estrada’s) remarks/statements are unbecoming of a President. He should stop uttering his slogan Erap Para sa Mahirap and change it to Erap Para Lalo Tayong Maghirap.”

Jonathan Leopando, 15, of the Philippine Science High School said:

“The only (achievement) I can think of was restoring the Marcoses. (My biggest disappointment) is allowing his subordinates to fight among themselves (i.e., Angara vs. Dar, Puno vs. Santiago, etc.)

* * *

SHERMAN G. Senin: “Whatever (little?) achievements earned by Erap have been negated by all of his failures to deliver what he has promised. You don’t need to see statistics — just ask the regular man on the street. (Mr. Estrada) does not act, talk and think like a real president. I believe that Erap has good intentions. It’s just that he does not make his own decisions — he depends on his numerous advisers.”

Charlie Favis, formerly senior executive of a multinational firm and now a small businessman: “What achievement? We’re still waiting. and looks like we will wait for another five years. The President used to do a lot of ‘acting,’ now, he does a lot of ‘reacting.’”

* * *

DR. Mike Vergara, 40:

“1. President. Estrada’s greatest achievement in his first year in office: He was able to improve on his health.

“2. My biggest disappointment with him as President: He maintained his improved health.”

Danlyn of Skyinet: “Walang nagawang maganda si Joseph kundi ibalik lahat ang magpahirap sa atin noong panahon ng martial law. May balik din ito kaya dapat mag-isip-isip na siya. Sana ay makonsyensya naman siya.”

Joey M. Estrera, 44, business executive: “I’m not at all satisfied (actually very, very dissatisfied) with how our government is being managed by our current crop of leaders. (President Estrada) does not know what’s going on. He is very defensive about issues concerning his family (official and/or otherwise) and cronies. Usually blames the ‘messengers’ of bad news.

* * *

BOBBY Silver:

“1. His greatest achievement is the enrichment of the people close to him, especially his other families, including the new one.

“2. The biggest disappointment? Masyado tayong binobola. It’s either he thinks we are all children or morons. We have no direction. As my friends say ‘to the dogs na tayo, pre’ and I envy them because most of them have migrated.”

Mcdiaz15: “His greatest achievement is the appointment of his chief of police who was connected with the drug industry. His second greatest achievement is the appointment of another notorious police whose subordinate admitted to the wire tapping activities of their department.

“In other words, the greatest achievement of the Erap administration is the fact that the Philippines now is governed by criminal elements in uniform.”

* * *

CESAR Maligalig: “Wala po akong maisip na greatest achievement ng ating Pangulo. Ang pagbibigay niya ng maling pag-asa (false hope) sa ating mga mahihirap na kababayan. Lalo pa pong dumarami ang mga mahihirap at naghihirap.

“Ako po ay naaawa sa ating bansa dahil ang ating Presidente ay mahina ang pag-iisip. Kahit na po anong talino ng nakapaligid sa kanya ay malamang sa higit ay kapos ang kanyang mga desisyon.”

* * *

LOPE Guamea Villa, 53, consultant ng jeepney drivers’association:

“Like many jitney drivers, President Estrada is very skillful and flexible. Like many reckless drivers, he changes lanes at will, changes gears with reckless abandon from stop (stationary) to first gear (buelo kunti) to fifth gear (biglang sugod) to second gear (slowing down, biglang hihirit na muli); to fourth to first again then to fifth to fourth without letup, rhyme, sanity.

“Ang galing talaga ni Erap: Very flexible. Kung anong maisip, bira kaagad. Hala! Sugod! Bahala na masagasa o makasagasa… eh, di change gear, ganoon lang. Sorry, sinong tamaan ngayon; easy to change lane after, di ba? Or easy to speed up or down, right? Wrong.”

* * *

RUBEN D. Abellon, an OCW in the Netherlands: “Erap’s greatest achievement was that he gave the Pinoy what he/she deserved – six-year soap opera, spiced up with glamour, lots of nonsense and irresponsible sex! They chose him to be their President after all.

“That too is his worst achievement; he preferred not to rise to the occasion and prove we were all wrong. A president doesn’t have to be an intellectual (Tita Cory was a disappointment, too, remember?), but sub-zero brain energy is unbearable.

“That’s what we would all become if we sleep during the day and ‘work’ during the night. He’ll never bump into somebody awake who would make sense, except some ladies in waiting, of course.”

* * *

JAIME S. Ong: “My biggest disappointment with Erap — his effect on Jerry Barican, whose intelligence should be put to better use.”

Christine Domingo, 25, IT personnel: “Biggest disappointment — that he hasn’t managed to get himself impeached after one year in office.”

From a 19-year-old coed in an exclusive school who did not want to be identified: “I’m more disappointed with the people who elected him to the presidency. I don’t think that the people know how to exercise their right to vote.”

Pete Maitem, 29: “His greatest achievements are putting Danding, his boss, back in power; trying to introduce his son Jinggoy to the voting public for a seat at the Senate; protecting the Marcoses; harassing his political opponents (to name a few Gov. Lito Lapid of Pampanga and Mayor Rey Malonzo of Caloocan); always saying ‘walang kamaganak, walang kaibigan’ which is the kabaligtaran of what he is doing.

* * *

MARIA Elena. 74, “His greatest achievement was showing the young that morality has no place in the leadership of this country — that the government is a government of the thieves by the thieves and for the thieves. He will go down in our history as the President with nothing on his brain except wine, women and song.”

Robert T. Arciaga: “Erap’s greatest achievement to date is letting Mr. Gabriel Singson of the Bangko Sentral to do his job without interference.”

Mario Vasler: “Somehow a good achievement — Cancellation of World Expo for 2004.”

* * *

SAMUEL B. Lim asked: “Why conduct this survey when what is happening now was predicted long time ago that if ever Mr. Estrada becomes our President, these are the consequences?

“There are so many poor people and it is very sad, because they are the gullible ones easily swayed by false promises. It’s always the formula used by mediocre politicians or supposed leaders, and it always works.

“The Para sa Masa slogan was purely to get their votes. In the end, it is the poor who will suffer most.”

Lapitan Jesus: “His greatest achievement is the appointment of kamaganak, kumpare and kaibigan and the kamaganak, kumpare and kaibigan of his kamaganak, kumpare and kaibigan to government positions; the increase in the number of mahihirap (to bolster his popularity in surveys).

Jose M. Katigbak Jr., 78, of Lipa City, said he could not write down his biggest disappointment with President Estrada because he might be sued for libel.

* * *

(First published in the Philippine STAR of June 27, 1999)

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