GENERAL SANTOS CITY, July 20, 2015 – After a six-hour dinner meeting — 7 p.m. last June 16 to about an hour past midnight — among President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III, Senators Grace Poe and Francis Escudero, DILG Secretary Manuel A. Roxas III and some leaders of the Liberal Party in Malacañang, the President could not choose who between Roxas and Poe would be the standard bearer of the administration coalition led by the Liberal Party. (The Philippine Star, July 17, 2015: No consensus reached on common admin bet)
The report cited the two senators saying that there was no discussion regarding the coalition standard bearer. The President did not break the ice although he said he was closer to a decision. He will host soon another meeting after more consultations with the LP allies.
However, the President singled out one significant result of the meeting: “What came out in our discussion: number one, all parties present, all those who were in the meeting, they agree that there has been a big change in our society in the last five years.” He was happy feeling assured that “there are really a lot (of people) who can continue what we are doing”.
Poe in seconding the President revealed her insight on national leadership: “All of us share the belief that a good leadership is a key to the country’s achieving progress. That’s why we agreed on the importance of listening to and seeking guidance from the people to ensure that good governance is not wasted but rather strengthened in the next six years.” She acknowledged that change achieved by the Aquino III administration must not be doubted.
The President expressed humility but emphasized the imperative of choosing his right successor: “I’ve always been saying from the beginning that I am just the face of the various sectors of the majority of the people who want what is happening now and it is good that in our leadership, even if I am out of the picture now, tomorrow, there will be a lot of those who will replace me and we will not go back to the old system wherein we move forward then step back.”
This points out to one imperative whoever Aquino anoints as his successor by the end of this month after his last State of the Nation Address. The LP-led administration coalition must stake as the main election issue the change achieved under the policy, programs and projects of “Daang Matuwid”. These must not just be stated generally citing surveys and statistics but be itemized in concrete.
Briefly: How has the acclaimed robust economy changed the life of the people as shown in their daily living? Has there been a change of morality in public service – integrity, honesty, sincerity in the implementation of social services and of infrastructure programs and projects? The people are the witnesses — whether they have benefited from or have been deprived of the benefits of the touted robust economy and good government. Let their ballots express their testimony.
Let this be the issue – the reason for asking the electorate to elect the coalition ticket to continue the Aquino III era under the aura of “Daang Matuwid”. If the people see it, live it and enjoy it they will give the LP-led coalition a landslide victory.
It has been said in a media report that Aquino III must have his anointed win or he will suffer the same fate as President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. He will be charged with unbailable crime and detained. But if his “Daang Matuwid” governance is real, he has nothing to fear. Even if his anointed loses, the good will always triumph in the end. If his anointed wins on the issue of his achievements, he becomes a living hero.
Hence, to repeat, it is imperative that the LP-led coalition ticket runs on the issue of the much-touted “big change in our society in the last five years”.
From media reports in the next three days, it has become clear the choice will not be easy – muddled by conflicting statements of the two senators and coalition leaders, mostly of the Liberal Party. Poe and Escudero both won as Independent adopted into the “Team Pinoy” coalition ticket in the 2013 election. They made it clear to the media they still have to decide to run, implying that should they run, it would be a Poe-Escudero team.
Philippine Daily Inquirer, in a story datelined Koronadal City, South Cotabato (July 19. 2015: ‘Aquino not key to running’), reported Poe and Escudero as saying that while the President’s endorsement would be welcome, it would not be the main factor in their decision whether to run in next year’s elections since running is a personal decision.
In a later radio interview in Manila, the two senators corrected what they claimed as a “misinterpretation” of their answer to a question. Whatever, the report indicates the uncertainty of Poe’s anointment. But that should not deter the LP-led administration coalition from running on the issue of President Aquino III’s achievements.
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