Go out and vote on May 10

In less than 30 days we will go out and vote. Will you vote?

Most of the people I know say yes but many others say maybe and some no. All of them have reasons.

Many of us are sick and tired of the vicious cycle of Philippine politics. We elect new officials because we want change. We want election because we want change; and the people we have just elected are not satisfactory. This will be repeated and seems never ends.

The Philippine elections have always been intense political exercise, journalist Sheila Coronel observes.

As the call for change was highly audible before the start of election 2010 period, many Filipinos expect some changes on the way we conduct our elections. I personally expect that we shall actively discuss on platforms rather than personal issues; that we will tackle more on real social issues rather than the usual mudslinging and personality assassination.

I am dismayed because the 2010 election is still the same as the 2004, and 2007 elections. These are the elections that I have closely observed. Just the same. In fact, this election is worse as more trash are thrown, more dirty tricks than before.

If this is the case, should we stop electing officials? Should we lose our faith to election?

We should not because in our democratic society, it is during election that we are given equal rights. Whether you are rich or poor, schooled or unschooled; you have only one vote.

A very good friend, Novell Tagailo has a striking line. He said:

We are the reason, why there is an election, they, the candidates are not the star. We are the principal characters here. Let’s take this privilege, use this right and exercise our duty.

He is right. The principal characters during elections are the voters. And the power are within the voters.

As voters, let us use this power to start the change that we are dreaming for.

Bring down Noynoy Aquino’s popularity rating

Who would get surprised if one day a guy comes out and tells us that he was or he is Noynoy’s lover? Or a katorse (14-year-old) cries in front of national television telling all of us that she was raped by Nonoy some days ago?

Just to spice up stories, let’s all get surprised. But in Philippine politics, stories are fabricated; false witness are born. So will Filipinos get surprised when all of those unlikely breaking news come out?

Sen. Nonoy Aquino is consistently dominating on surveys despite of issues thrown to him, not-as-brainy as others out there; nothing but just a son of late senator and president; Hacienda Luisita, Kamag-anak, Inc., not capable to hold the office of the President and so on and so forth.

Being the consistent survey frontrunner, all other presidential bets have a common agenda of bringing down the popularity of Sen. Noynoy Aquino, Sun Star Cebu columnist Anol Mongaya wrote.

In a Special December 2009 Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey, Sen. Manny Villar’s ratings increased by six points which narrowed the lead of Sen. Noynoy Aquino from 19 to only 11 percentage points in a span of three weeks, PhilStar.com reports.

Manny Villar

Photo from quierosaber.wordpress.com

This excites Manny’s followers. A little success as they see it! The six points success of Villar can be attributed to his massive ads. Even children sing his ad jingles. Gilbert Remulla believes Villar will be able to lead in the surveys in the coming months says the same PhilStar.com report.

When Noynoy was asked his reactions,  he told as quoted by Inquirer.net reportthere are credible surveys and there are surveys that can be bought in Quiapo. The SWS survey was reportedly commissioned by Sen. Manny Villar.

Both Noynoy and Manny pull down each others’ position on ratings. We have witnessed this on a recent presidential forum. Villar hits Noynoy and the latter talk back. This highlights the very nature of political campaign – exchanges of juicy and cheesy words.

I won’t be surprised later if someone suddenly appears swearing that Villar’s billions was not the fruit of his sipag at tiyaga but come from a golden buddha Villar himself have discovered on his construction site. Juicy eh?

More than the cheesy and juicy stories, let us all decide on May 2010. Every vote counts!

Gilbert Teodoro Jr. as next Philippine President?

Defense Secretary Gilbert C. Teodoro Jr. continues to gain strength and getting political momentum needed for 2010 Philippine Presidential election.

Political observers predicted earlier that the 2010 Philippine Presidential election will be tough, and unpredictable. In 2007, I started to look around for potential successor of President Gloria Arroyo. In the last two quarters of 2008, presidential bets are floating their name.

Sen. Manual Roxas had the most obvious plan to be the next man in Malacanang. Sen. Manny Villar had not been vocal but his actions already confirm intention. Then the name of Sen. Richard Gordon, Mayor Jejomar Binay, MMDA Chairman Bayani Fernando, Panfilo Lacson, then the self-proclaimed threat – former President Joseph Estrada. In December 2008, the names of  Sen. Chiz Escudero and Sen. Loren Legarda temporarily became a force.

When Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro announced his interest to run as president in 2010, I have no doubts that he indeed is a strong contender for the position.

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Loren Legarda versus Chiz Escudero in 2010

Yes, you read it right! In 2010, the most dramatic political battle will be Loren Legarda’s quest to get the NPC’s presidential nomination.

Earlier, NPC patriarch Danding Cojuangco announced that NPC will have Loren and Chiz. However, it was not clear if it will be Loren – Chiz tandem or Chiz – Loren tandem.

After the announcement, Loren Legarda’s body language seem tell everybody that she is the anointed one and she has the sure fire in 2010.

Will Loren gets NPC nomination?

That makes Loren so annoying. Yes, she is visible in surveys but her arrogance make her an annoying political material. Imagine, until this time, she still believes that she won in 2004! In her political ads, she spoke about corruption but she had been more visible as kidnapping negotiator rather than a figure in the battle against corruption.

When asked by reporters about her plan, she confidently revealed that she is ready to lead the Philippines. That raised the eyebrows of some. She even attempted to announce officially that she will run as president in 2010 during her birthday.

The best thing Loren must do now is to concede to Noli de Castro and control her smiles on TV. She will gain sympathy that way.

Will Chiz be the next President?

Here comes Chiz Escudero, a soft-spoken, close to the youth, humble and a fresh political material. Chiz is getting the attention of many. Many likes the way Chiz deals with his fate. He did not show arrogance. He never grow as proud as Loren. Filipino’s wisdom see that difference.

There are many chances that Chiz will be nominated as official presidential candidate of NPC. As reported, NPC will hold a national consultation. There are already indicators that most of NPC members will favor Chiz over Legarda.

A special consideration will also be the resistance of many to a woman president. In addition, Loren had shown her narrow view in joining a party. She just joined NPC becuase of personal reason.

Remember, Loren was vice president of Lakas but left the party becuase she run as vice president of Fernando Poe Jr.

Loren has just joined NPC. I think, NPC men will remember that. Besides, Loren appears to desperately want to get the highest position for political vindication.

Loren needs ‘to eat more rice and salt’ to get NPC nomination. Most likely she will be asked to run as Escudero’s vice president in 2010.

I doubt Loren will agree to run as vice president. Loren will have to either agree with party’s decision, or go back to the senate, or leave the party and run as president under other party.

Postscript: Chiz must also control his public appearances endorsing a product. He looks better as senator and future president rather than a product endorser.

Narco-politics, Narco-terrorism in the Philippines

The idea of narco-politics cannot be ignored. It is a major concern. Actually we have been receiving reports that political candidates are behind the operation of certain shabu laboratories to raise funds for the coming elections, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director Gen. Dionisio Santiago, Jr. told reporters.

The involvement of some politicians in drug trading is already a proof that narco-politics existed in the Philippines. There are even reports that some terrorist groups are also involved in drug syndication in the country to finance terroristic activities  – thus we have the term, narco-terrorism.

According to PDEA intelligence reports, secessionist groups and other terrorist cells are involved  in illegal-drug operations. Recent anti-drug operations strongly link these groups to the illegal drug trade.

Narco-polititics and narco-terrorism are the major challenge of PDEA. Recently, PDEA officials warned politicians seeking elective posts in the 2010 elections against sourcing campaign funds from supporters involved in illicit drug trade.

PDEA, according to reports, receive information that some politicians who have plans to run in 2010 are receiving campaign funding from drug lords.

This indicates the existence of narco-terrorism in the country. We have been on the alert for this. It is highly probable that these groups are behind large-scale illegal transactions nationwide, Director Santiago added.

Narco-politics also alarmed the Philippine National Police (PNP).

PNP chief Director General Jesus A. Verzosa yesterday said the organization shares the concern of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency when it comes to “narco-politics.’’ Journal Online reported. Verzosa added, narco-politics is not new. It has happened in the past and it can happen again if law enforcement and the community lower their guard on drug syndicates.

Let us all support PDEA and PNP’s all out war against narco-politics and narco-terrorism.

After 2010: Yes to Cha-Cha

Say YES to charter change (Cha-Cha) but after 2010 elections. Yes to Cha-Cha but it must not be through Constituent Assembly (Con-Ass) but through Constitutional Convention (Con-Con).

The desire to change the constitution is not new nor unique to the Arroyo administration.

During the Ramos administration, there was attempts to amend the constitution. It the movement was resurrected with different approach during the short-lived Estrada administration.

When President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo reign in Malacanang, there were several administration-sponsored attempts for Cha-Cha but none got popular support.

Several months ago, the opposition-led Philippine Senate initiated to change the 1987 Philippine Constitution, specifically to give way for federal system. But the plan was later shelved.

Recently, when pro-administration dominated House of Representatives renew the plan to change the constitution through constituent assembly (converting the congress into constituent assembly), people began to suspect.

The suspicion is reasonable. The initiative came after the controversial prayer of Press Secretary Jesus Dureza which suggest about extension of terms of President Arroyo.

Now, common conclusions say that the recent attempt to change the constitution is directed to extend the Arroyo presidency. This angered many sectors including the the 2010 presidential aspirants.

The so called big rally in Makati against Cha-Cha illustrated that the Filipino people are against with the move (because of the suspicion).

In today’s headline of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the Catholic Bishops urge the proponents of Cha-Cha to shelve the plan and do it after 2010.

I agree with the Bishops. Let us talk about amendments of the constitution after 2010.

Just for today, it better that we focus on how we face the challand effects of global financial crisis.

SWS: Most Pinoys against Cha-Cha

In a recent SWS survey, most Filipinos are not in favor of changing the constitution to extend terms  of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Who wants to see Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in Malacanang premises beyond 2010?

In a recent SWS survey, most Filipinos are not in favor of changing the constitution to extend term of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Obviously, the president’s men. No wonder, Press Secretary Jesus Dureza, prayed for it.

Obviously, the president’s son. No wonder, Rep. Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo personally initiated signature drive to amend the Constitution through a constituent assembly (Con-Ass).

But the Filipino nation has spoken in a recent SWS survey. According to the survey, 64% of the respondents are against GMA’s term extension while 15% are in favor and 21% are still undecided.

No to Cha-Cha

For Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile, the charter change this time is an “impossible dream”.

Although the palace denies reports on plans for extending terms, its allies are obviously working towards term extension.

There is a huge public distrust on the recent movement to change the constitution. This is an indication the people are just waiting for 2010 so that GMA will step down.

I agree with Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile. I am certain that the move for Constituent Assembly will not gain strenght nor prosper. Considering the JDV’s revealation, and the pending impeachment complaint, there is more likely a sudden dramatic political change.

Let’s stay awake and watch them play!