Friday, June 4, 2010

GMA's Presidency

Dear Director Manoling:I write for two key reasons: first, to thank you for the generosity with which you have always heeded the requests of my choir; second, to share with you my thoughts on PGMA's presidency, as the curtain falls on it! You never mince words, you speak your mind out, and you did not take up the refrain of demagogues. In these respects, we are kindred spirits!I cannot understand why we cannot be grateful, and why some go to such lengths as to demonize PGMA, labelling her as 'the most hated president' who ever was. Is not gratitude a mark of nobility? If it is, then do we not exhibit a distressing decline in nobility in the measure that we refuse to be grateful? It was a controversial presidency, to be sure, but that was also in large measure because arrayed against her were powerful, vested interests with immense resources at their disposal with which to erode public trust and confidence in the President. That is not what a democracy is, and that is not what the freedoms of our Constitution were meant to protect. In fact, I am ever more convinced that the way media has conducted itself has been a disservice to democracy -- training its resources in favor of an anointed candidate and its most virulent of attackes on an incumbent President.Dinky Soliman is a good example. She accepted the post of DSWD Secretary but in a recent interview assailed GMA's presidence as doubtful in its legitimacy from the very start. If GMA's election to office was, to her, doubtful, why did she accept appointment? Was this not reprehensible duplicity on her part? Ms. Soliman's decision to quit the Arroyo Government was her's, and for whatever reasons she resigned, her decision must be respected. But it is quite another to question the legitimacy of a President from whom one received the benefit of high public office!In fact, aside from the "Hello, Garci" incident -- blown completely out of proportion by the media -- what proof was there that GMA cheated FPJ? In fact, qualification-wise, was it not crystal clear, except to sycophants, that FPJ was woefully non-qualified for the Presidency of the Republic? Loren Legarda filed with the Supreme Court an electoral protest against Noli de Castro. If, in fact, ballots were tampered with to favor GMA, would the Supreme Court not have taken note of this in its judicial revision of ballots, especially since "President" is only one space away from "Vice-President"? But the Supreme Court found no such thing, and Loren's thousands, perhaps millions, spent on the protest were for naught! What was "Hello, Garci" all about? Never did GMA say "I'm sorry", admitting that she had called up Commissioner Garcellano to tamper with returns. She rather said "I'm sorry" that she made a call which many took to be improper --and that does not yet mean that it was necessarily improper because fault-finders can always find fault even in the innocuous!The world reeled from an economic crisis, and the economies of many prosperous and developed countries went from boom to bust -- but we were spared even a recession. Should we not be saying 'thank you' for an economist-President who steered the ship of state through very choppy waters?Again, so much was made of the ZTE deal: But exactly what was the illegality that the President is supposedly guilty of? Significantly, despite the Senate's length inquiry puctuated by the antics of showmen disguised as legislators, none could put a finger on the culpability of the President. ZTE, a Chinese corporation, was selected, because the government of the PROC, that granted the soft-loan for the national broadband network project, had chosen one of its own corporations -- something that to me is perfectly to be expected. The point I am trying to make is that so many are loud in their cricitism but woefully short on facts and research!She has lately been assailed for appointing a new Chief Justice. Let it be stated clearly for the records: She did so, only when the Supreme Court ruled that she could do so. And if it should be asked why she should be so interested in naming a Chief Justice, should the question not likewise be asked why the incoming president should be as eager, if not more eager, to appoint a Chief Justice? This is not meant to cast aspersions on Noynoy's motives, but to show how bad the argument against GMA's appointment is.Have we kept track of the many Filipinos spared from execution because of her intervention? Did we say how much pride we felt when she presided over a session of the Security Council of the UN, something unimaginable for the likes of FPJ or even Erap?Finally, how many times did her opponents take to the streets, goading the people to do likewise to force her out of office? I find it extremely significant that the expected massing of the nation at EDSA or at Makati to force PGMA never materialized. In fact, the crowds that gathered for the star-studded events of the opposition did not even approach a respectable percentage of the crowd that ousted Marcos and the later one that installed GMA into office as Erap's successor. Does that not say much about the people's abiding trust in GMA and their distrust for those posturing as candidates for her office at the time? She supported Gibo, and Gibo did not win -- but, quite significantly, Gibo came in as third in the line-up. If GMA were as unpopular and as disliked as Jambi Madrigal says she is, Gibo would have done worse than Jambi, but that is not what the numbers show!Whether I am joined by many, or mine shall the the solitary voice, I want to say: "Thank you, Madam President, for the fortitude, the keenness of mind, the intelligence that you brought to office."FR. RANHILIO CALLANGAN AQUINODean, Graduate School of LawSan Beda College (Mendiola)Vice-President for Academic AffairsCagayan State University