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.

2013 election: most stupid election ever

An indelible mark in my right hand fore nail, showing that I already voted the election.

An indelible mark in my right hand fore nail, showing that I have already voted the election.

For the first time in my life that was yesterday morning at around 7:40 AM, I cast my first electoral vote in my life where I chose 12 senators, 1 party-list, 1 district representative, 1 governor, 1 vice governor, 2 provincial board members, 1 mayor, 1 vice mayor, and 8 municipal councilors of my town in Argao, Cebu. I went early to the Argao Central Elementary School at around 6 AM and while the polls had never started, I was roaming around the polling place and I found out the Board of Election Inspectors only posted the list of voters by the time I passed in some polling precincts. The PCOS machines had never been operated even beyond 7 AM in some precincts because technicians never came on time. Nevertheless, my polling precinct, where happened to be my classroom when I was Grade One, had opened, 20 minutes past 7 AM and I was able to join the first batch of voters in line and by around 7:35 AM, the BEI gave my the ballot and I started to vote my candidates who deserved my trust.

After I cast my vote, I returned immediately home and monitored the voting process through social media websites of Facebook and Twitter and established media websites like GMA 7. As I monitored, some of my Facebook friends all over the country complained several problems like PCOS machine malfunction, BEI’s non-issuance of receipts, vote buying inside the polling places, and others. On the same day, I went three times to my polling place to monitor the voting process. Fortunately, when the 7 PM came, the BEI were already preparing for the counting process in the precinct level and hours later, they submitted the results to the Municipal Board of Canvassers for transmission to the COMELEC headquarters in Manila.

While I was monitoring the senatorial election results at around 9 PM online, I was pissed off but unsurprised with the results where Grace Poe emerged in the first place and Nancy Binay in the fifth place in which until this moment of writing, they still hold their respective places as the votes are still counting. Not only that, convicted former president, Joseph Estrada won the mayoral race in the country’s capital, Manila over Alfredo Lim which pissed me off further. Pissed off because many of my compatriots voted according to family name not competence and experience and in fact, I ranted my disappointment to the people especially those who voted them online and realized that we will not going to move on unless we and the political elites realized our system is rotten at its core. Unsurprised because they were expected to win because of voters’ ignorance in voting candidates.

I realized that ignorance among voters was very endemic and cannot be fixed with short-term freebies by winning candidates, but uprooting the cause of the problem of our political and economic system embedded in our 1987 constitution. The ignorance of the people has been exploited by the politicians under the flawed system of voting candidates especially for senator. The senatorial race has become a popularity contest for the past 25 years and my entire lifetime, I never experienced a real contest on who should be the senator or in any elected position in our country through platforms but personalities, pities, freebies, broken promises, and many others. As a result, those who have enough billions can win a Senate seat or any elected position regardless of lack of experience, education, competency, knowledge, credibility, and sensibility. Those who are less informed due to poverty, have been exploited by these elite people in the name of “general welfare”.

My question to the voters, when will we learn from our mistakes of choosing leaders who could have uplifted us from poverty?. My question to the political and economic elites, when will you lose your respective grips in political and economic aspects of our country?. I think if I were to force the people and the political/economic elites to answer my question, they would say, I don’t know when.

Unless we realized that our political and economic system are rotten in their core, I think we will going to suffer more humiliations in our respective lives and keep ranting the faults 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.

Remove the 60/40 equity limitations against foreign investments

House Speaker, Feliciano Belmonte (left) and Senate President, Juan Ponce Enrile (right). Credits to the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

This month, the talks about a constitutional amendment on certain provisions especially the economic ones of the 1987 constitution has been resurfaced once again as Juan Ponce Enrile suggested to amend the 25-year old constitution in order for the Philippines to compete militarily and economically and supported by the leadership of the House of Representatives lead by Feliciano Belmonte.

However, it never gained an approval from the President, Noynoy Aquino when he said that “if ain’t broke, don’t fix it” on which he referred to the economic provisions of the constitution especially the 60/40 equity restrictions against foreign individuals or corporations where any prospective foreign individuals or corporations who wishes to invest in our country needs to find a Filipino individuals or corporations to tap the 60% of equity shares asked by foreign individuals or corporations in order to operate their businesses in our country as stated in the Article XII, Section 10 of the 1987 constitution.

This is not the first time in 25-year lifespan of the 1987 constitution where the proposals for amendments or even revisions in our constitution have been in the conversation. Way back in 1997 when Fidel Ramos’ term as president was coming to fulfillment that time and when he felt that his economic reforms were not enough, it proposed for the revision of the 1987 constitution through the third method of amending the constitution which was the People’s Initiate where amending the constitution needed 12% of the total registered electorate in order to have a fulfillment however, in September 1997, he suffered a setback when the Supreme Court decided to grant the appeal of his political opponent, Miriam Defensor Santiago on the basis that there was no statutory law on People’s Initiative to give that constitutional provision with teeth (even until now) and also the People’s Initiative option of amending the constitution doesn’t apply for revising the constitution as what Fidel Ramos asked.

In 1999, after Joseph Estrada took over the Presidency from Fidel Ramos after the ill-fated initiative for the revision of the 1987 constitution, Estrada created a Preparatory Commission on Constitutional Reforms (PCCR) to study the possible amendments to the 1987 constitution and the recommendations of that commission was later approved by Estrada which the recommendations for constitutional amendment like the scrapping of the 60/40 equity restrictions against foreign investments, allowing foreigners to own land properties in our country, and allowing foreign investments in media sector. Later, this commission was renamed into a Constitutional Correction on Development or CONCORD. However, the CONCORD was faced with protests from different sectors in our society who felt that the 1987 constitution shall not be amended that time especially from Manila Archbishop, Jaime Cardinal Sin and former President Corazon Aquino, the president when the 1987 constitution was ratified. Later, Joseph Estrada dropped the CONCORD as he felt that he could not gain a traction from these two influential persons in our country that time.

After Joseph Estrada’s ouster in 2001 due to the aborted impeachment trial case against him regarding on his involvement, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo succeeded him on historic EDSA II Revolution on 20 January 2001. The entire Arroyo’s presidency from 2001 to 2010 was marred on severe political and economic instability due to lack of popular support in her installation as president in 2001 and she was nearly ousted many times in separate occasions during her entire span of her presidency. Her election for a full term in 2004 was marred on severe allegations of electoral fraud which made her most economic and political reforms unachievable for her entire term from 2004 to 2010 that includes her proposed revisions of the 1987 constitution from presidential to parliamentary system, from unitary to federal form of government, and from protectionist to free market economic system.

Right now, the both chambers of the Congress agreed the necessity of amending the restrictive economic provisions of the 1987 constitution which seems to be the most restrictive not just in Asia but also in the entire world as the economic policies of our country like the foreign investment laws are being stipulated to our constitution like the 60/40 equity restrictions against foreign individuals or corporations where any prospective foreign individuals or corporations who wishes to invest in our country needs to find a Filipino individuals or corporations to tap the 60% of equity shares asked by foreign individuals or corporations in order to operate their businesses in our country as stated in the Article XII, Section 10 of the 1987 constitution. That 60/40 equity restrictions almost covers the economic sectors in our country especially the sectors that really needs 100% FDI participation like mining, oil and gas extraction, agriculture, forestry, public utilities, transportation, education, construction and many others as these sectors that I have mentioned for many years have been deteriorated its services to the people and its technology is getting outdated by year because of lack of foreign capital inflows flowing in our economy as a result of that restrictive economic provisions stipulated in our constitution.

The 1987 constitution also restricts foreign individuals or corporations from investing or setting-up an advertising firms to 30% and also prohibits foreigners entirely of investing in media sector on which I believe it contributes to the deterioration of the Philippine media for the last half century as there is no much competition in producing movies, shows, and news in our media industry and being monopolized by the few rich local moguls who profiteered with no foreign competition policy of the 1987 constitution at the expense of the Filipino audience.

The restrictive economic provisions of our 1987 constitution are contributing to further and complex problem that our country plunging right now that is the severe unemployment and underemployment due to lack of competition in our job market as foreign investors are being driven out in our domestic economy and the local investors cannot provide the necessity of our growing labor force due to lack of capital and technology as foreign investors are reluctant to have a large-scale partnership with any local companies due to the notorious corruption in the Philippine business sector.

Those who were luckily educated were driven out of the country and forced to seek lucrative jobs abroad to earn money to support their remaining families here in our country at the expense of emotional troubles to their remaining children in a long-run which contributed to a further socio-economic problems among the Overseas Filipino Workers’ families where their remaining wife/husband in our country tend to dump their husband/wife who was working abroad or their remaining children tend to engage strange activities during their adolescence especially where some of them got married early of their ages or committed juvenile crimes due to the absence of one or two of their parents when they grew up.

If we, Filipinos wanted to have a real economic, political and social prosperity just just for today but also forever in our lives, let us support the initiate of Juan Ponce Enrile and Feliciano Belmonte of amending the restrictive economic provisions of our 1987 constitution.