Upclose: Chairman Bayani Fernando

I have decided to run, declared Chairman Bayani Fernando when asked if he consider to run as president in 2010. Fernando recently visited Cebu and spent a fraction of his time meeting some Cebu bloggers, and student writers and leaders. I got the opportunity to see him upclose.

If his party, Lakas-Kampi CMD will endorse an outsider (Noli de Castro) or a newcomer (Sec. Gilbert Teodoro), will he still pursue his plan? Bayani expressed with confidence his faith that he will get his party’s support. His answer was straightforward. There was no implication that he will leave Lakas-Kampi CMD and form another party like what former President Ramos did.

Ironically, on the same day he shared to us his faith on his party’s support, Malacanang announced that the President expressed her confidence that Noli de Castro would become a good president. President Arroyo is the chairperson of Lakas-Kampi CMD. Her statement was taken as strong sign that Lakas Kampi will soon adopt and endorse Noli de Castro.

Bayani Fernando is serious on his plan to become the next president. His close supporters are now working hard to prepare for that. In fact, he was introduced to us as the next president of the Republic of the Philippines. And why not? Bayani Fernando has proven track record as former mayor of Marikina and as MMDA Chairman. To sum it all, Bayani has proven track record, credentials, competence and integrity – the traits we need for a president.

However, Bayani performs poorly in surveys – too far from Noli de Castro and a little better than Sec. Gilbert Teodoro.

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Dream Match: Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago vs. MMDA chairman Bayani Fernando

This is the dream match I waited for – Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago versus MMDA chairman Bayani Fernando.

Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago is asking the Senate to slash 13 million from MMDA’s proposed 2009 budget. Sen. Santiago is suspecting that giving too much budget to MMDA will give way for Bayani Fernando to possibly use taxpayers money for his 2010 presidential bid.

I cannot help but suspect that some MMDA funds are going to the support of Mr. Fernando’s announced presidential campaign, Sen. Santiago  wrote to Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile (December 8, 2008) as quoted by GMANews.TV news report.

Sen. Santiago also observed that Bayani Fernando is engaging a pre-mature presidential campaign as illustrated by the giant posters of Fernando that can be seen not only in Metro Manila but almost all places in the Philippines.

I suspect that Banayi Fernando is using the budget of MMDA for these posters. If he does, then he is using taxpayer’s money to advance his personal ambition. Well, Bayani should made it public who finance his posters so that we will not suspect.

Sen. Santiago is doing right. It is the responsibility of the legislators to look carefully in the proposed budget so that taxpayer’s money will not be wasted.

I am glad that Sen. Santiago is challenging Bayani Fernando and the MMDA. After all, the poster of Fernando is more visible than easing the traffic in Metro Manila.  As Sen. Santiago observed, MMDA is not easing the traffic in Metro Manila and instead merely transferring chokepoints from one place to another.

I hope other Senators will see what Miriam is pointing – that the 13 million additional budget approved by the House of Representatives for MMDA is not necessary.