Saturday, May 16, 2009

Scratch One, Ten More To Go

The presidential campaign season is already upon us. This realization hit me when a couple of days ago I received this text joke:

Mar: O ilang taon ka na?
Boy: Siya po anim, ako trese.
Mar: Ano ang pangarap niyo?
Boy: Ako po seaman sana.
Girl: Ako po artista!
Boy: Pero di ko na iniisip.

Kanya kanyang kayod po dito. Walang maayos na trabaho.
Walang pambili ng gamot.
Mar: Anak itabi mo.
Boy: Bakit po?
Mar: Adik ka ba? Lagpas na tayo!!

It is very hard to ignore the number of "campaign-ads-disguised-as-commercials" these days especially because most are aired during primetime. Unless you decide purposely not to watch the daily news or forgo watching TV totally, there is no escaping these so-called "infomercials." It is also hard not to take notice of the theatrics and scene-stealing antics of the so-called "presidentiables." And slowly but surely, the focus of politicians are turning away from Cha Cha and towards the coming presidential elections. I expect that in the coming months, we the people will be further entertained by the political theatrics and the mudslinging between and among the perceived contenders.

Since we are on the topic of mudslinging, it seems that Senator Manny Villar is the first presidentiable to be hit with mud (and I can say it hit him right smack his handsome face). The Senate is currently investigating him for his role in the so-called "double insertion scandal." His camp's PR spin seems to be the typically dismissive "the charges against me are old news" line and that he is being persecuted because he is a strong frontrunner in the presidential race. But it remains to be seen if the public will buy this PR line. It is easy for the apathetic to believe his yarn but if people would just have the little patience to look more closely, they will find that there really is some merit to the charges against Villar (kindly read this Malaya column written by Lito Banayo entitled "The Road Through Elsewhere"). In it Banayo said that as if building a road (using public funds) across your property in order to increase its land value isn't bad enough, Senator Villar moreover used his political influence to double the budget for the construction of that road.

The thing is, this is not the first time Senator Manny Villar got accused of big-time corruption. Back when he was still Speaker of the House, Joker Arroyo (who is now his political ally and Wednesday Group buddy) accused him of land-grabbing and acquiring a behest loan from the BSP (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas). Again, Lito Banayo wrote about this in his column entitled "A Case of Plunder". I've always wondered how Villar was able to pay up his debts. Recall that during the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, Villar's housing companies were hit hard and the so-called "Brown Billionaire" became neck-deep in debt in the aftermath of that currency crisis which started in Thailand. Today, a little over ten years after the financial crisis, his SAL (Statement of Assets and Liabilities) shows that he has zero liabilities which makes him (and his wife Las Pinas Congresswoman Cynthia Villar) one of the richest legislators in the land.

This early I am scratching Manny Villar off my list of presidentiables. Even if he is proven innocent later on, the next president should not have even a mere whiff of scandal on him. If he becomes president, Villar would already be on the defensive on his first day in Malacanang much like GMA. At least, when GMA was still only a senator and vice president, I cannot recall her getting embroiled in a corruption scandal - well, at least not involving billions of pesos. And look at her now. I shudder to think what will happen if Villar, who is only a senator but already accused of masterminding several billion-peso scams - becomes president. It used to be that politicians with presidential ambitions would endeavor to keep their noses as clean as possible - until they get to Malacanang that is! But it seems some politicos cannot afford or do not have the patience to wait for their turn.

So now that I've made up my mind on Villar, I am only left with the following choices: Mar Roxas, Chiz Escudero, Ping Lacson, Noli de Castro, Gilbert Teodoro, Loren Legarda, Ed Panlilio, Erap Estrada, Bayani Fernando and Jojo Binay. Scratch one! Ten more to go!

1 comment:

Laya said...

This blogpost was quoted here:

Tatler spotlights three presidentiables