Why Mar Roxas won’t win the election


Presidential candidate Mar Roxas interviewed by news presenter Mel Tiangco (credits: GMA News TV).

Honestly, Mar Roxas is one of the most qualified person to become the president of our country for the next six years. He has been in electoral politics for more than two decades since the death of his younger brother, Dinggoy and has been a national figure since former Joseph Estrada appointed him as secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry and stayed with the post even after Erap’s resignation during EDSA II. He has made several achievements that we are benefiting right now like the flourishing Business Process Outsourcing or BPO (though all credits should not go to him) and cheaper generic medicine. He became senator in 2004 and in fact, elected with highest number of votes during that time because of his posturing as “Mr. Palengke” to connect himself to the masses. He used his senatorial term as a springboard for his ultimate ambition, to become the president of the Republic of the Philippines and since then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo became unpopular due to electoral fraud and corruption allegations, he distanced himself from her and after 2007 midterm elections, he was already considered as one of the presidential contenders for 2010 along with then Senate president Manny Villar and then Makati mayor Jejomar Binay, his eventual opponent this election. The scenario had changed unfortunately to him when former president Cory Aquino died in August 2009 after suffering with colon cancer and her death immediately changed the landscape of the presidential race that time, 9 months away, by the way. The clamor to let then fellow senator Noynoy Aquino to run for president was increasing and thus, dooming the presidential ambition of Mar Roxas because Noynoy and Mar came from the same party, the Liberal Party, and it would be a destructive to the opposition that time to have both run as president under separate tickets and to prevent factionalism in LP, Mar Roxas eventually gave up his presidential ambition and slid down to as vice presidential candidate for Noynoy Aquino. The election went other ways to them; Noynoy won the presidency while Mar lost the vice presidency to Binay. His defeat didn’t stop him his aspiration to become president as a year later after the election, he was appointed as secretary of Department of Transportation and Communications and another year later due to unfortunate death of Jesse Robredo due to plane crash in Masbate, he was appointed as secretary of Department of Interior and Local Government and used the position as the vehicle to his recent presidential candidacy.

Despite of his experiences and qualifications, there are so many hurdles of Mar Roxas’ ambition to become president of our country. Those hurdles have been used repeatedly for many years, by the way. One of the hurdle of his candidacy is his upper-class origin, being a son of former senator Gerry Roxas and grandson of former president Manuel Roxas. Being a member of political upper-class echelon in our society makes him so aloof to the public who mainly come from lower-middle class and lower class echelons as he has a difficultly understanding the plight of those people because of the single fact that he grew up with silver spoon and the general public would obviously cringe his upbringing and this same people would rather rally for allegedly corrupt Jejomar Binay over unblemished Mar Roxas because the former grew up like them while the latter didn’t. Another hurdle to his ambition is his snobbish personality behind the scenes brought by his upbringing as he had inability to deal with several local officials like Tacloban mayor Alfred Romualdez during the aftermath of typhoon Yolanda as Mar said to Tacloban Mayor that “You’re a Romualdez and the president is Aquino” and those statements made Mar unlikable to become president as being president, you have to be a conciliator and seemed that he cannot do that because it would contradict his grown-up personality. The hurdles I have mentioned are the reasons on why Mar Roxas will not become our president to succeed Benigno Aquino III and I think his presidency would be as mediocre as the current one because of his lack of concrete vision for our country that the electorates have been searching for years. Mar, if you want to save your candidacy, it would be better to support ideas that would alleviate the poverty like removing the foreign equity ownership restrictions from our constitution as you had supported when you were the secretary of DTI during Erap’s presidency.

President Noynoy Aquino’s 4th SONA: No transformative changes

President Benigno Aquino III addresses before the Congress, 22 July 2013.

President Benigno Aquino III addresses before the Congress, 22 July 2013. (Courtesy of Rappler)

President Benigno Aquino III delivered his State of the Nation address for the fourth time in his presidency. His SONA was significant in the first place as his administration is passing the midway of its term that is scheduled to end on 30 June 2016 and also, it was the opening of the new 16th Congress.

Since it is in the midpoint of his 6-year term, the people or boss in his own words, have been expecting a lot of transformative changes in our country for the past three years under his watch. Ordinary people may have different opinions in his policies, but there’s a common thing which is whether he delivered or not.

As I watched his State of the Nation Address at the Law Building of the University of San Carlos amidst of my asthmatic condition right now, there might be phrases that the president uttered that really made sense like saying that he cannot transform the country within his six-year term, which is impossible as far as our economic and political climate are concerned, but just like in his three previous SONAs, I cannot avoid to criticize his manner of blaming some of his shortcomings in his administration to his predecessor, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. I think for the past three years of his term, any shortcomings of his administration are now the fault of him and his team, not the predecessor one.

As I expected, he never mentioned any drastic and yet, long-term transformative changes for our country like revising our 1987 constitution to cure our economic and political systems shortfalls that are no longer compatible to our fast-evolving globalized world as he has to pander the interests of few business and political elites who brought his mother and him to the presidency. Though he mentioned some initiatives to be tacked in his administration like crafting a Basic Law for the proposed Bangamoro, amending the SSS pension scheme system, passing the Cabotage Law, Fiscal Incentives Rationalization Bill, Land Administration Reform Bill, P2.268-trillion National Budget for 2014, addressing chronic power shortage in Mindanao, dividing his family-owned Hacienda Luisita to beneficiaries by September, and many more, but those initiatives that the administration want to address are insufficient at its best to achieve of what he want, transformative changes.

What I would like to advise to our president is that he should capitalize his political advantage at this point of time to initiate structural changes to our economic and political system that would have positive impact to the lives of our future Filipinos and have him to stop listening leftist and oligarch lobbies of preserving the current status-quo that has not uplift the lives of our people from poverty while this people kept complaining whosoever in power and profiting the semi-monopolistic economic system thanks to the 1987 constitution. I hope the president will read and listen to my advice and if not, history will judge you.

The Philippines’ investment grade does not guarantee foreign direct investments (FDI)

The Philippines gained its  first investment grade from Fitch, an international credit rating agency.

The Philippines gained its first investment grade from Fitch, an international credit rating agency.

The Fitch, an international credit rating agency, upgraded the Philippines’ Long-Term Foreign-Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) to ‘BBB-‘ from ‘BB+’. The Long-Term Local-Currency IDR has been upgraded to ‘BBB’ from ‘BBB-‘. The Outlooks on both ratings are Stable.

The agency has also upgraded the Country Ceiling to ‘BBB’ from ‘BBB-‘ and the Short-Term Foreign-Currency IDR to ‘F3’ from ‘B’.

The significance of upgrading the credit rating of the Philippines by the Fitch to an investment grade is that the cost of obtaining credit by the government and the private businesses from the international financial market would decrease as they would perceive that our country’s finances are stable to caution for any external or internal shockwaves that may hit our economy. It means that more opportunity for the government and the private businesses to borrow money to invest in our economy, no matter it is for real job generation or speculative purposes.

In the eyes of some foreign investors who are not really knowledgeable the culture of doing business in our country, they would perceived that the Philippines is open and stable to do their business even though it is not.

I glad that the Philippines obtained its investment grade by the Fitch due to our government especially during the previous Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s government, who sacrificed herself to push her initiatives to balance our government finances and assuring private investors to invest in our economy despite of several attempts by FPGMA’s opponent to topple her from the president back then and the Subprime financial crisis that affected the economic development during the sunset of her administration. Fortunately for the current president, Benigno Aquino III, he continued what her predecessor had done by maintaining the fiscal soundness of our government and stability in our economy despite of the weak global economy.

However, the investment grade given to us from the Fitch does not assure that bulks of foreign direct investments needed for our long-term economic development will come to our country, whether short-term or long-term, as our government has not yet addressed the pressing concerns of easing the cost of doing business for foreign investors to do their business for massive job generation like constitutional 60/40 foreign ownership restrictions of setting-up enterprise, unnecessary fees and permits needed to comply by a foreign investor, red-tape in the government, and many others.

Foreign individuals or multinational corporations will not easily affirmed the notion that our country’s recent investment grade  means that their investments are safe from the barriers I stated above as these investors who wants to pour their capital in infrastructure, manufacturing, mining, oil and gas extraction, agriculture, transportation, and tourism will not going to waste their time and especially money to follow or circumvent our stringent regulations of doing business and instead, they would rather invest their bulks of capital to countries with liberal investment regulations like Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia, or even Myanmar, which these countries could give a better assurance for their investment to realize than us. Only those who are in the speculative portfolio investment industry will pour their capital in our country which in nature, for short-term and does not generate bulks of employment opportunities for millions of Filipinos who are unemployed or underemployed.

Therefore, we have to be cautious and realistic that investment grade does not give an assurance that our country has a better environment for businesses and jobs to flourish. Once the government addresses political constricts on doing business, this would be the time that foreign direct investments will pour in our country for our economic development.

Enrile and Trillanes word wars

Juan Ponce Enrile and Antonio Trillanes argued to each other, 19 September 2012.

Yesterday, Juan Ponce Enrile and Antonio Trillanes traded accusations over the bill seeking to divide Camarines Sur and the senator’s role as special envoy of the Philippines regarding the Scarborough Shoal dispute with China.

Trillanes first stood up by announcing his resignation from the majority bloc of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile to join the minority group after he exposed the alleged caucus called by Enrile in his office in the Senate last July 24.

Tensions got worse when Trillanes called Enrile as a political lackey of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Another false association fallacy by Trillanes by linking Juan Ponce Enrile with Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as Enrile supports the creation of new Nueva Camarines. I do not know on why Antonio Trillanes wanted to associate his detractors to Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, even though the latter did not really push his detractors to destroy him.

Another was that, Juan Ponce Enrile countered Antonio Trillanes in return by saying that Trillanes told the ambasador to China Sonia Brady that the Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto del Rosario a “traitor”.

After Enrile’s statement about Trilliances’ conversation with the ambassador to China, Trillanes stormed out from the Session Hall as he cannot bear what Enrile said that his actions were potentially treasonous.

Through Brady’s notes, Enrile said it appeared that Trillanes was protecting China and even suspected the United States behind the Scarborough Shoal dispute. What, a conspiracy theory from Trillanes that the United States was behind the Scarborough Shoal dispute as many times the United States government stated that they are not interfering the Scarborough Shoal dispute between the Philippines and China.

What Trillanes did in dealing the Chinese government and stabbing our Foreign Affairs department for his personal ambitions were really disgusting that potentially threatens our national sovereignty and turning the Chinese off from our country because of our diplomatic weakness on dealing with the Chinese government. Trillanes should have not been a special envoy to China as his history being a military rebel against the government of then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will be used by China as the weakest link of the Philippines in justification for their more bullying of our country.

Mar Roxas is the new DILG Secretary

Mar Roxas after he was appointed as the new DILG Secretary after the death of Jesse Robredo.

Few hours ago, after weeks of searching on who should be the Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) due to the death of Jesse Robredo, President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III appointed the Secretary of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Mar Roxas as the replacement of late Jesse Robredo.

His appointment earlier today was very important as this position in the executive department of our government gives direct contact especially to the Local Government Units (LGU) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) which is vital for the administration to disseminate their initiatives into the grassroots of our society and to assure the loyalty of the police force to the administration.

When I heard the news that he was appointed, I was not surprised as Mar Roxas was one of the favorites of the President to replace the deceased Jesse Robredo as the DILG Secretary as the Noynoy Aquino administration needs to consolidate its political control in the grassroots side of our society through the Local Government Units and to assure the loyalty of the police force with the administration through the Philippine National Police as not having a control with these two sectors would destabilize the survival not only with this administration but also with the previous administration as history show during the presidency of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, it was the loyalty of the LGU and the PNP assured the survival of PGMA’s administration despite of her low satisfaction from among the intellectuals and some legislators.

Mar Roxas in 2010 was lost his vice presidential bid to Jejomar Binay, who belonged into another ticket with the presidential candidate, former President Joseph Estrada due to factionalism among the supporters of Noynoy Aquino during the campaign season and it was deepened when Senator Chiz Escudero, who supported Noynoy Aquino’s presidential candidacy, supported the vice presidential candidacy of Jejomar Binay instead of Noynoy’s running mate, Mar Roxas. The results of the 2010 elections created a division among the appointees of Noynoy Aquino during the transition period as Noynoy Aquino appointed secretaries and undersecretaries from both factions of Balay of Mar Roxas and Samar of Paquito Ochoa (Binay loyalist), who was appointed as the Executive Secretary. Mar Roxas was appointed as the DOTC Secretary, in the following year of the 2010 elections.

Mar Roxas’ appointment as DILG secretary would give him a direct contact to the LGU to advance his own presidential candidacy in 2016; to stem Jejomar Binay’s advantage and control as Vice President; and to force the Samar faction into significance by 2016 so that Noynoy Aquino’s initiative will be continued by Mar Roxas.

Maria Lourdes Sereno is the new Chief Justice

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno is expected to led the Supreme Court for the next 18 years.

Yesterday, after months of screening and public interviews on who should be the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court due to the ouster of Chief Justice Renato Corona during the impeachment trial, President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino appoints Supreme Court Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno as the replacement of the deposed Renato Corona.

Her appointment yesterday has significance as she is the first female to hold the highest post of the judiciary branch of our government, the position of Chief Justice and expected to hold the position until she reach the age of retirement of 70 on 2 July 2030.

When I heard the news that she was appointed, I was not surprised as Chief Justice Sereno was one of the favorites of the President to replace the deposed Renato Corona as Chief Justice and aside from that, Chief Justice Sereno was the first appointee to the Supreme Court (SC) by President Noynoy Aquino and her votes in Supreme Court when she was an ordinary Justice was in favor of the interest of the Cojuangco family, maternal family of Noynoy Aquino, when she positioned that the valuation the government should pay to the Cojuangco family should be in 2006 price not the 1989 as ruled by the majority of the Justices in 2011 regarding the just compensation payments by the government to the Cojuangco in order the lands of the Hacienda Luisita to be redistributed.

Also, she was the one of the Justices who barred the former President and now Pampanga Representative, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo from traveling abroad for medical treatment in Europe on which was contrary to the constitutional right of a person to travel anywhere else unless convicted with final judgment by any courts on which Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was yet to be judged with final judgment.

I hope that our new Chief Justice should show not only her independence but also the entire Supreme Court’s independence from the coercion of the executive branch.

Politicizing the severe flooding in Metro Manila

Repacked noddles with the Yellow Ribbon, symbol of Aquino-Cojuangco’s political hegemony.

Just few hours ago on my Facebook news feed, I saw a picture (above) that contains a repacked noodles with the Yellow Ribbon which symbolizes with a political color.

The Yellow Ribbon symbolizes the hegemony of the Aquino-Cojuangco families in Philippine politics for the last centuries and was used during the 1986 EDSA Revolution that brought Ferdinand Marcos and his cronies into the knees and installing a member of the Cojuangco family in the person of Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino, a housewife and widow of the assasinated former Senator, Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr. Their only son is the current President of the Philippines, Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III.

I got irritated when I first saw the picture of a repacked noodles with the label of the political symbol of the Aquino-Cojuangco families as helping anyone especially the victims of severe flooding in Metro Manila doesn’t need to use their personal image and political aspirations to impress the needy people during the difficult times.

Our President instead of being a inspiration and a model during this difficult times in Metro Manila, he became a divisive person in front of the victims of severe flooding as the President used this disaster again to blame the past government of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo with the severe flooding where in fact, he (and practically all residents of Metro Manila) was also to be blamed with the severe flooding happened in Metro Manila due to its negligence on disaster preparedness like cancelling a dredging contract with a Belgan contractor that could have minimize the flood supposedly.

Any politicians who wants to help anyone else during a natural disaster are fine for me but mixing their political colors and aspirations in any packed or canned goods just to impress the needy ones for political advancement are really disgusting.