POSTSCRIPT / December 14, 2014 / Sunday

By FEDERICO D. PASCUAL JR.

Opinion Columnist

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Do not use ‘karburo’ to force Poe to ripen

TIMING: Everything happens in time. And timing is a crucial element in the planning and execution of a campaign for the presidency.

Announcing one’s presidential aspirations too early could be risky as a badly mauled Vice President Jojo Binay is now learning. To ensure his grabbing the lead as the opposition contender, he pulled the trigger as soon as he saw what looked like a clear shot.

As a rule, declaring before Christmas an aspirant’s intention in this nation of carolers could be very expensive. So most would-be candidate will sit out the holidays and save millions that could be better spent in the coming campaign proper.

And at any time, it is wise for aspirants who think highly of themselves after seeing their good showing in the early surveys to first see how the field is shaping up.

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BINAY & ROXAS OUT: In the latest surveys, Binay the long-time leader has dropped precipitously and Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, the presumed Liberal Party standard bearer for 2016, almost vanished at the bottom of the short list of presidentiables.

With Binay and Roxas possibly being swept into the dust bin of has-beens, who are we left with to choose from in the 2016 elections?

From her quiet corner, Sen. Grace Poe is suddenly rating increasingly higher in the surveys, prompting many people to regard her as a potential candidate of the administration that has been casting around for a viable bet.

Pardon my giving my opinion, but Poe – like her late father the movie idol FPJ — does not sound and look prepared for the awesome responsibilities of the presidency.

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DON’T USE ‘KARBURO’: It would be unfair both to Poe and the people, I think, for her handlers to force her to ripen rapidly into the big role.

Kung baga sa manga, hilaw pa po si Grace Poe. Huwag nating gamitan ng karburo at piliting mahinog. Lalabas din ang asim ng bubot na manga and by then it would be too late. (Let’s not use calcium carbide to force-ripen Poe like we would a green mango.)

Some of Poe’s followers riposte: “But even Noynoy Aquino was not prepared when he was thrust into the presidency. For that matter, her mother the iconic Cory was not that prepared.”

I concede the point. But Noynoy was at least a congressman for nine years and later senator for three years, while Poe was mainly a chairman of the movie censors board before she became senator in 2013.

As for Cory, we just forced the tough role on her. We used her to remove Ferdinand Marcos. She never pretended to be the compleat president, but restoring democracy was achievement enough.

* * *

LP BENCH: Actually the Liberal Party need not look outside itself in search for a viable candidate in 2016.

There are, for example, Senate President Franklin Drilon and Speaker Sonny Belmonte, the next numbers in the constitutional line of succession after Vice President Binay, who seems to be on his way to fading away from the scene – if not ending up behind bars.

From where I sit, however, Drilon is himself splattered like Binay. If corruption is carried over as the core issue in 2016, the senator could have a hard time.

With all those allegations of graft and plunder in connection with his Iloilo convention center having used funds from the unconstitutional Disbursement Acceleration Program as well other controversial pork barrel projects, he is vulnerable.

* * *

MANAGER NEEDED: The country needs a seasoned manager, not an on-the-job trainee. Before joining the government service, Belmonte made his mark as a skillful executive who successfully managed Philippine Airlines and the Government Service Insurance System.

When he became mayor of Quezon City, he steered it to become the top LGU revenue earner, eclipsing Makati and Manila, and made the city a model for the wise utilization of infrastructure funds.

As Speaker, Belmonte has been an effective consensus builder, gifted with the ability to ensure the working together of congressmen of diverse parties and political persuasions.

Under his leadership, the House opted to hold dialogues with sectors affected by major measures rather than conduct the kind of hearings and investigations that had given the Senate a bad image. Only in his time was the Congress able to pass the national budget on time.

* * *

‘DUKIT’ FEST: Betis in Guagua, Pampanga, is staging Dec. 23-28 its first open national competition for wood furniture makers and carvers as part of its annual “Dukit” Festival in a bid to become a major tourism destination.

Guagua Mayor Dante G. Torres said the competition, to be held at the landmark Betis church, will showcase the creations of top wood furniture makers and carvers from Betis, Paete, Ifugao, Isabela and other known centers for top-notch artisans.

Former Central Bank Gov. Jaime C. Laya, National Artist Ben Cabrera and Ilocos Gov. Imee R. Marcos will topbill the panel of judges. The awarding of winners will be on Dec. 28 with Pampanga Gov. Lilia Pineda and tourism regional director Ronnie Tiotuico as guests.

Wilfredo “Willy” Layug, the master in ecclesiastical art, is active in inviting artisans from all over the country, Torres said in last Friday’s weekly media forum at the Bale Balita (House of News), Clark Freeport, hosted by the Capampangan in Media Inc. (CAMI) in partnership with the Clark Development Corp. and the Social Security System.

(First published in the Philippine STAR of December 14, 2014)

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