Gloria's not-so secret weapon

Mon, 09/05/2005 - 00:00
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As far as is known, De Castro's current political ambition is a negative one. He does not want President Arroyo to step down. A news report claims that this July, when Mrs. Arroyo was supposedly thinking of packing it in, De Castro and executive Eduardo Ermita prevailed upon her to stay put. The vice president, according to the story, vehemently said he wasn't ready to be president.

How can Mrs. Arroyo not help but feel fondness for such a man, the best  investment she ever made in the parade of political lightweights and nonentities she's brought to government service? No doubt she's congratulated herself on the decision to take him on as her running mate. She should also be grateful her vice president hasn't proved as enterprising as she herself was in similar circumstances (five years ago, when she was vice president, Mrs. Arroyo denounced then President Estrada even before his impeachment trial started and called on him to resign for the sake of the country and the economy).

Even more important for the administration, De Castro has been silent and docile about the Garci scandal. Perhaps he's waiting for someone to hand him a script. After all, it's what he does best, and what he owes his meteoric political rise to: reading a teleprompter and saying "magandang gabi bayan" in a deep, pompous voice.

The fact is, De Castro's swift transformation from news reader to senator and then vice president owes nothing to any skills in governance, management or politics. He simply followed the route taken by basketball players, toilet comedians and bad actors, parlaying media visibility and popularity into votes. The vice president has never run a company, managed a business, nor (unlike Mrs. Arroyo) headed a government agency. It is unlikely that his madcap gallop from senator to vice president (he didn't even bother to finish his term in the senate) has given him any experience or preparation for national politics and statecraft.

Given these deficits, it's understandable why Vice President De Castro would feel incapable of taking Mrs. Arroyo's place. His candor is admirable, but all the same, the question is, why did this man ever run for office to begin with? The depressing answer seems to be, because he knew he'd win.

What De Castro's career illustrates is not a failure of the presidential system, but a degradation of Philippine political culture. It's why there will be no happy endings to this crisis, no matter what the outcome.

For months, the prevailing view has been that junking Mrs. Arroyo and replacing her with De Castro would be a short hop from the wok to the flames. Now it's just a matter of time before the public, alarmed by the way the president is draining the treasury and deforming political institutions in her bid to stay on, will grasp the knife blade.

There is a lot of talk about a caretaker government but given this country's obsession with legalism, chances are fair to good that the vice president will wind up the chief executive. Filipinos are staring at the bottom of the political barrel. Staring back up at them is the face of Noli de Castro.

 

Comments

Submitted by Glenn D (not verified) on
Your article was written September 2005 I am reading it now March 2nd 2008 almost 3 years after. Just a few months ago, Gloria had been embroiled in the National Broadband Network Scandal where allegations of the First Gentleman, the COMELEC (Commission on Elections) Chairman and Several other close government officials had been involved in kickbacks amounting to Billions of pesos. The whistle-blower, Joey de Venecia III, son of the Senate President who testified before a Senate investigation detailed the complicity of Gloria's family and associates in the scandal as de Vencia's firm, bidding for the same project was intimidated and told to &quot;back-off&quot; and eventually lost out to the Chinese firm, ZTE. Made to testify as well was COMELEC chairman, Benjamin Abalos who allegedly was the broker for the deal. Also in the investigateion Romulo Neri, at the time of the deai, the then NEDA (National Economic Development Authority) Secretary testified that Abalos had implied a kickback for Neri to approve the review of the NBN contract. Then Jun Lozada came to the scene. His would be executors were forced to turn custody of Lozada over to a school and a cordon sanitaire of nuns and priests. Lozada testified before the Senate and revealed details of the complex web of corruption and kickbaks. Loxada also corroborated earlier testimony by Neri. Lozada also detailed of his experieence of his near-miss at being executed to silence him for his knowledge about the kickbacks.. Almost a week ago, Feb 26, 2008 Dante Madriaga, a former consultant to ZTE testified at the Senate linking the first couple to a $41-million advance payment by China's ZTE Corp. for the $329.48-million national broadband network deal. Just 2 days ago, Feb 29, there was a mass protest on Ayala Avenue choking the main artery of the country's business district with thousands of protesters. There were protest rallies held elsewhere as well in the city and in Cebu. The throng of people on Makati would have been much, much larger had the protesters headed for Ayala not been stopped by Gloria's minions in uniform for flimsy reasons. What's all this for? Your article was dead-on right! Unless Noli gets a different script, Gloria will remain. Hoy Pinoy! we ought to be concentrating on Noli instead.... My dos sentimos (which has devalued to such an extent that PhP 0.02 is not worth the trouble to pick up should it fall) Glenn D [email protected]

Submitted by Glenn D (not verified) on
errata: Joey de Venecia III is the son of the _Speaker_of_the_House_of_Representatives_<br />not Senate President.<br />Glenn D<br />[email protected]

Submitted by kareef (not verified) on
halakhak ulit ako, Alan, ha? sapol mo na naman. my sentiments, exactly.<br />bakit ba naging VP itong news-reader na 'to?<br />siya kasama na ang mag-amang Bong at Ramon Revilla, Tito Sotto, Lito Lapid, at Jinggoy Estrada. . . sila ang dahilan kung bakit gusto kong iuntog ang ulo ng lahat ng walang mga ngipin sa pader.<br />salamat sa artikulo. sana mabasa ng mga fans ng Eat Bulaga at Kap's Amazing Stories.

Submitted by vander anievas (not verified) on
&quot;It's difficult seeing any fire, passion, depth or perceptiveness in this man.&quot;<br />meron din naman. ang bumatikos ngayon kay Pnoy. <br />may mukha pang tumawag sa mga pilipino ng &quot;kabayan&quot; wala namang bayag...

Submitted by Rody Lam Ko (not verified) on
It is so uncanny how this article written in September 2005 can find its way back to FB just a day after our Philippine President Noynoy Aquino castigated this creature for his relentless snide remarks on the President in front of tv viewers around the globe. Noli de Castro deserved to be told off by the President right in his own turf for maximum impact. I love the way PNoy delivered the killing stab... direct to the empty skull of the inutile former VIce President of Gloria Arroyo... Touche'!!!

Submitted by Rody Lam Ko (not verified) on
It is so uncanny how this article written in September 2005 can find its way back to FB just a day after our Philippine President Noynoy Aquino castigated this creature for his relentless snide remarks on the President in front of tv viewers around the globe. Noli de Castro deserved to be told off by the President right in his own turf for maximum impact. I love the way PNoy delivered the killing stab... direct to the empty skull of the inutile former VIce President of Gloria Arroyo... Touche'!!!

Submitted by jhodomingo (not verified) on
the fact is that &quot;Kabayan&quot; is just a fall guy as the Arroyo’s wants him to be so that she can rude the law..the stem is very much fanatic that Kabayan’s winnable momentum at that time is at the extreme…the fall guy will never agitate to have the chance of governance since he’s inability to hold the state...poor &quot;kabayan&quot; if he only knows that insanity...

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