POSTSCRIPT / October 26, 2003 / Sunday


Philippine STAR Columnist

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FPJ is a good man, but is he ready for it?

TO RUN OR NOT TO RUN: “Cherish things while you still have them, not when they are gone. One of the hardest things to deal with is regret. So, enjoy life habang hindi pa presidente si FPJ o si Noli!

This is one of many inspired txt messages being bounced around in the celfon community because of the seeming inevitability of another actor, Fernando Poe Jr., becoming president of our suffering nation.

In coffeehouse banter of newsmen, some editors disclose — we hope more in jest than in resignation — that when (not if) FPJ becomes president in 2004, they would assign to Malacanang not senior writers but movie reporters.

But, seriously, how do we know Da King of Philippine Movies is really planning to run? Someone from the distaff side offers the clearest indication ever: FPJ’s wife Susan Roces is busy melting away her fatty bulges in preparation for becoming First Lady.

And so forth, and so on… the FPJ talk goes on, fueling more interest in the man threatening to break the stranglehold of traditional politicians on the presidency.

* * *

OPEN LETTER TO FPJ: Others have taken to the Internet, such as in this letter to FPJ quoted below and being circulated by email. As electronic and hard copies go around, they gather signatures along the way.

Addressed to Mr. Fernando Poe Jr., 7 Narcissus Drive, Beverly Hills, Antipolo City, the letter says:

“We are ordinary citizens with no political affiliation. We do not support any particular candidate. Therefore, we have no other agenda except our deep and unfailing allegiance to our country and the Filipino people. It is from this loyalty that we draw the courage to write you this letter.

“It is in the news that you are considering running for president. If you love your country, we urge you, please deliberate on this with utmost care. We all know you will win because of your tremendous popularity as a movie hero. You have earned the esteem and admiration of the Filipino people such that to many, you have come to represent a promise of hope.

“However, this is not enough. The task of governing our country that is beset with problems is much more complex today than it was many years ago. At this moment in our history we need a leader who can gain the confidence, respect and trust also of the international community.

“This is paramount. An increase in foreign investments is necessary. It is imperative that we stimulate our capital market with a platform of government that is as specific as it is credible not only to our people but to the world as a whole.

“While we are certain that the masses are your primary concern, you cannot ignore the class of people whose abilities are critical in order to propel us forward.

“Our OFW’s are true heroes and while their skills serve us well when they work abroad, we also need to retain at home the talents that will give us the comparative advantage we so badly need. It is this group who are highly marketable and, on their own, can take their capabilities elsewhere to the benefit of other countries instead of ours.

“Expert leadership is the only way we can extricate our people from poverty. It is the very masses who worship you and will vote you into office who will suffer the most, if the ship of state is not maneuvered masterfully.

“We can no longer afford to think in a parochial manner. We need a leader who will make the Philippines a competitive player in the global market.

“Our economy is at its breaking point. Our country can no longer afford to be dismissed or, worse, written off as The Sick Man of Asia.

“You have secured an untarnished reputation as an artist and we acknowledge that your contribution to Philippine cinema has been significant. We believe, however, that the presidency of this country will best be served by one who has the proper background and experience to enable our beloved Philippines to be part of the global community — not as an aid recipient but as contributor to the enhancement of this world we live in.

“Winning will be effortless. Governing, on the other hand, will not be an easy task. We are, historically, a fractious nation. Consider the toll it will take on your family and the privacy you guard so tightly. We believe that you will be able to contribute much more towards uniting our nation and helping our economy as a private individual — one who wields enormous influence over our less fortunate brothers. We know of the praiseworthy projects you and your wife have undertaken so quietly; your humility is admirable.

“It is not too late. Please, look back and learn from the Erap episode of our history. Do not let individuals with their own agenda gain undue influence over you. Should your administration fail, it is you, not they, who will pay the price.

“Let the Filipino people remember you as the man who could have been president but chose not to… because he truly loved his country. We are certain history will judge you not only as a reel hero but as a real hero.

“Mabuhay ka, FPJ!”

(PS from Postscript: Speak up if you share the conviction that while FPJ is a good man, he may not be prepared for the presidency at this time. If you have Internet connection, you can email the letter to everybody in your address book. Or make copies to snail-mail or hand out. Or you can even write your own letter to FPJ.)

* * *

IMPEACHMENT TRIVIALIZED: We are afraid that the boys of businessman Danding Cojuangco in the House of Representatives have trivialized the impeachment process reserved for serious offenses of high officials that cry to heaven for vengeance.

We do not unsheathe the ultimate weapon of impeachment against constitutional officials, including the Chief Justice, with every rustle in the bushes, with every hint of wrongdoing in high places.

The Constitution reserves impeachment as a remedial process only for “culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes, or betrayal of public trust” by the President, the Vice President, the members of the Supreme Court, the members of the Constitutional Commissions, and the Ombudsman. (Article XI, Section 2)

We do not see red and scream impeachment over the reported purchase of expensive curtains and luxury cars or the building of comfortable cottages for justices of the Supreme Court, which, btw, is clothed with fiscal independence in the first place.

To further shield the process from abuse, the Constitution provides in Article XI that “no impeachment proceedings shall be initiated against the same official more than once within a period of one year.” (Section 5)

The current follow-up impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. was put together after an earlier complaint was filed last June, or just four months ago, against him in the same House.

Why cannot Danding’s boys wait for at least eight more months before applying pressure on the high court? Is their timetable on the cases of the San Miguel Corp. chairman that tight?

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(First published in the Philippine STAR of October 26, 2003)

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