POSTSCRIPT / March 26, 2015 / Thursday


Opinion Columnist

Share This

What we need is a Good Manager

MVP IN 2016?: We have said it more than once in Postscript that what this nation of 100 million Filipinos working a resource-rich country is a Good Manager. And in those discussions, the name of taipan Manuel V. Pangilinan invariably cropped up as one such manager.

MVP, as he is at times deferentially referred to, was again mentioned yesterday in the same leadership-management light by Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago.

After her speech for the Maynilad Leadership Talk at GT-Toyota Center at UP Diliman, she was asked if she was endorsing MVP when she said that we should think about MVP for president.

She said Yes, although she did not discount the possibility of herself also running for president in 2016 if she wins her bout with cancer and if other elements fall into place.

* * *

QUALIFICATIONS: What exactly did Santiago say? This was her reply:

“Yes it is. People who are like him should be in the position of leadership. It should not be people from highly publicized careers, because the careers where they are, the leading celebrities, might blind them to think that their qualifications are inspirations for the job. I’m particularly talking about people from mass media, films, and television.

“My qualifications are, number one, the person should be honest, but that is the most difficult qualification to determine, because there is no guaranteed test for honesty in public service. The second is professional excellence, and the third is academic excellence.

Before the 2016 elections, my hope is that we can amend the Constitution, among other things, and change the qualifications for public office and require at least a college degree. Right now, a person can run for president without graduating even from high school, but you cannot be a policeman unless you have a college degree. So, we have to reconcile these contrarieties in our society.”

* * *

SHE’S OPEN, TOO: Will her endorsing MVP mean Santiago is abandoning her own presidential plans?

Answer: “Well, just because it’s an option for me, doesn’t mean I have to close all options. I’m just saying, thinking aloud, to the young people what type of candidate I have in mind.

“Maybe we can run a survey on the Internet and find out what the educated young think about all this circus in politics.

Kaya nagiging corrupt kasi wala silang moral character, mahina ang moral character nila dahil sa kulang ang edukasyon. So, this all starts with voter education.”

* * *

FEDERALISM: A number of people have advocated a constitutional shift to federalism. The BBL itself speaks of a federal setup with a parliamentary government for the proposed Bangsamoro. Santiago’s opinion:

“No, it will create more problems. Number one, the Filipino people will have to realize that they will lose the right by their own single vote to choose the president of the Philippines or whoever will be called the head of state, maybe prime minister or premier.

“Imagine, you and I will not directly have the power to choose in our individual ballot who we want to be president of our country. Instead, first we elect our members of Parliament who are the equivalent of the congressmen. And then, once selected, they — that gang of politicians — will choose from among themselves.

“Now, how does that work in practice? You notice that we have always had a Speaker of the House and a Senate President, but they have never been popular, because people believe that they mostly devote their time to manipulating politically available resources for their own good.

“That will exactly be the situation if we change to federalism. The masses and the entire electorate will not choose who the president will be. We leave that choice to a group of politicians, and we know how those politicians act.

“Mostly, their actions are always attended by corruption. So it could be possible if we elect corrupt members of Parliament, it could be possible that if they put themselves on sale, the candidate with the highest bid or the highest bribe will become the next prime minister. That’s what I fear because of the present state of our masses.”

* * *

NOYNOY APOLOGY: On why President Noynoy Aquino refuses to apologize over the Mamasapano clash, Santiago said:

“That is a hindsight question. How should he have handled the situation? It should have started at the very beginning. The truth should have been revealed immediately. The moment that the crisis began brewing, immediately the President should have, by himself, told the truth to the Filipino public.

“Now, there is a question of, ‘Well if that is the truth, why are you not apologizing?’ The answer is because he wants to avoid any liability arising from a confession after his term finishes in 2016. Remember that when he is no longer President, he becomes liable to all manner of suits. He loses his immunity from suit, both civil and criminal.

“So he is afraid that if he apologizes, in effect, some court might consider that as a confession admissible in court. Therefore, he will be his own worst witness. That is why he does not want to apologize. He wants to evade any criminal or even civil liability after 2016.”

* * *

MILF REPORT: On the report of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front on the Mamasapano clash, Santiago said:

“It is of course expected that (the MILF) will justify (the actions of their men). We have the BoI and a Senate report on behalf of the government and we have an MILF report on behalf of the rebels. There are two perspectives on the incident.

“Generally, in a court of law, the decision will go in favor of whoever has the closest approximation of the truth. But since we are not in a court of justice, this issue has to be referred to the court of public opinion.

“But it is ironic — and maybe indicative of truth distortion — that they claim they had no knowledge of these two high-value targets the government was pursuing and yet those people were apparently just a couple of kilometers away from the MILF hideout at the time. That’s an incredible claim. If they cannot even conduct simple intelligence-gathering, they do not deserve to be treated as partners to a peace process.”

(First published in the Philippine STAR of March 26, 2015)

Share your thoughts.

Your email address will not be published.