Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Something Weird Happened on the Way to Club Filipino

by Dr. Prospero E. de Vera

In my Monday blog entitled "The Problem with a Noynoy Presidential Run" I pointed to the problems created by a Mar Roxas-Noynoy Aquino political rivalry and urged the Liberal Party to resolve this problem as soon as possible lest it starts affecting their campaign for the presidency.

I ended the column by asking the question: Will it be Noynoy Aquino for President?

A couple of hours later in historic Club Filipino, Mar Roxas answered my question with his dramatic decision to give way to Noynoy Aquino for the sake of LP unity and the demands of various groups all over country.

I was expecting a Mar Roxas slide to be accompanied by the crowning of Noynoy Aquino as the LP standard bearer and a call to arms for the LP base and support groups for 2010.

It did not happen on Tuesday.

As the whole country waited with bated breath on Wednesday, Noynoy Aquino announced in the same historic Club Filipino that he will be going on a "spiritual retreat" before finalizing his decision for the 2010 elections. He also said that his presidential run would be based on three things: 1) his ability to guarantee that there will really be meaningful changes for society and the country; 2) the availability of logistics for his electoral campaign; and 3) the sentiments of his four sisters about his presidential bid.

Wow!! Whoa!! What??

Something definitely weird happened on the way to Club Filipino.

If Noynoy needed to go on a retreat, consult with his family, gauge his ability to lead the country, get a sense of the logistics for his electoral campaign, wasn't it more logical to talk this out with Mar Roxas, declare his intention to contest the presidency, engage in spirited and issue-based rivalry within the LP, and let the party and its support groups decide, through a convention, on who is best fit to carry the LP banner come November?

And why the rush in Mar Roxas' press conference last Tuesday?

While LP party leaders in media interviews were united in asking everyone to respect Noynoy's desire for self-reflection, many wonder why these same party leaders did not manage the Mar to Noynoy transfer of the mantle of leadership better.

The trail of events has placed both Mar Roxas and Noynoy Aquino in a bind.

For all his efforts over the past year to champion the cause of victimized educational plan holders, lead Senate discussions on the JPEPA, attack GMA's ChaCha, develop advocacy ads to show his concern for the poor, send his trusted political lieutenants to negotiate with local leaders, and criss-cross the country with Korina, people's recollection of Mar Roxas is now been defined almost exclusively in his relinguishing his presidential dream to Noynoy who has not accepted it.

Korina Sanchez has enough reasons to feel bad.

And with his reluctance to lead a country that has suddenly found its moral moorings with the untimely death of former President Cory Aquino, his hesitation to present himself before the Filipino people without a clear vision and platform of government, and the real problem of starting his presidential campaign late compared to the others, Noynoy is now being criticized by political pundits like Benito Lim for being "odorless, tasteless, and colorless" and being asked by GMA's attack dogs to differentiate himself from his parents.

Both Mar Roxas and Noynoy Aquino deserve better. The LP leaders should have managed the trail of events better.

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