POSTSCRIPT / August 9, 2015 / Sunday


Opinion Columnist

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Five veeps waited, became president

IT HAS been shown in contemporary times that walking the dim valley of the vice presidency could lead those who persevere to the sun-lit peak of the presidency.

Waiting one’s turn can be rewarding. Without meaning to sound ghoulish, two vice presidents in living memory (Elpidio R. Quirino and Carlos P. Garcia) suddenly found themselves being administered the presidential oath of office after the incumbent died.

Sen. Grace Poe Llamanzares, who is teetering on a “huge wave of fate”, whether to run for president or vice president in May 2016, might want to factor in the actuarial data in her political calculations.

The neophyte senator who will only be 47 this September 3 still has many summers to fully ripen as a national leader. Having been in the Senate for only two years, she has no impressive executive record to use as springboard to meet the demanding requirements of the presidency.

She would be doing herself, and the country, a favor if she put on hold her presidential ambitions and run in May as vice president muna, maybe with Liberal Party standard bearer Mar Roxas.

If the senadora really has what it takes, after a six-year master’s course in the Executive branch as hands-on vice president, she would be, at 53, perfect finally for the presidency in 2022.

For the curious, these were the five vice presidents who ascended to the presidency by waiting and allowing the wings of destiny to carry them to their political fate:

• VP Elpidio R. Quirino became president (1948-1953) when President Manuel L. Roxas (1946-1948) died after a heart attack on April 15, 1948, in Clark Field, Pampanga. Quirino served the rest of Roxas’ term and was reelected.

• VP Carlos P. Garcia became president (1957-1961) when President Ramon F. Magsaysay (1953-1957) died in an airplane crash on March 16, 1957, on Mt. Manunggal in Cebu. Garcia assumed the rest of Magsaysay’s term and was reelected.

• VP Diosdado P. Macapagal spent much of his four years as vice president of President Garcia going around the country (much like VP Jejomar Binay today) shaking hands and campaigning — and was elected president in 1961.

• VP Joseph Ejercito Estrada was elected president (1998-2001) after serving as vice president of President Fidel V. Ramos (1992-1998).

• VP Gloria Macapagal Arroyo became president (2001-2010) after President Estrada vacated the presidency in 2001. She assumed the unserved balance of Estrada’s term and was reelected for her own six-year term.

We need Poe’s timeline for transparency

FANS of Senator Poe, meantime, should not resent it that questions are being raised about the citizenship and legal residency of the would-be candidate for either president or vice president.

Being scrutinized and bombarded with questions is par for the course. In fact, the filing of a disqualification case against her with the Senate Electoral Tribunal should be welcomed as an opportunity to clear up matters publicly and with finality.

Poe insists she is a Filipino. Of course, she is NOW a Filipino!

She is not being asked about her present citizenship but her status and citizenship at such crucial points as when she accepted a government position as chair of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board and when she ran for senator in 2013.

There are diverse circumstances under which one loses and regains his citizenship. With the senator, admittedly a former American who once renounced her Philippine citizenship, the details would be interesting not only to the lawyers cashing in big on the high-profile case but also to the electorate.

One thing the senator must do for transparency is to publish soonest a correct and complete timeline made under oath showing, among other details:

The dates and circumstances of her founding, her adoption, her migration to the United States, her education, her marriage, her stateside employment, her naturalization as an American, her renunciation of her US citizenship, her current legal residence, all passports used in her departures and arrivals in the Philippines and in the US, et cetera.

If she has nothing to hide, she should not hesitate disclosing the information cited. If her records will show no violation of the law, people will see it and will mass to carry her to Malacañang.

Many people have been heard to say they do not mind if Poe is or was an American. The more desperate among us are already moaning that they would prefer a government run like heaven by a half-American than a government run like hell by a full-blooded Filipino.

Foreign monitors poke noses into BBL

LOOK what Malacañang’s having internationalized the domestic issue of creating an autonomous Bangsamoro in Muslim Mindanao has brought us.

Days ago, Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, chairman of the Senate committee on local government, had to give a Third Party Monitoring Team a preview of his substitute Bangsamoro Basic Law bill that he would soon report out.

Foreigners have no business poking their noses into local political problems, but Malacañang has opened the door to them.

The five-man third party monitoring team was created in 2013 to evaluate and monitor the implementation of the peace agreements signed between Malacañang (not yet the government) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

They probably were shocked to know that Marcos’s version is about 80 percent different from the original BBL, raising the question of whether the MILF would accept it.

(First published in the Philippine STAR of August 9, 2015)

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