Who is your president come 2010?

Who is your president come 2010?

In no particular order, the names – Noli de Castro, Loren Legarda, Manny Villar, Chiz Escudero, Ping Lacson, Joseph Estrada, Mar Roxas, Jojemar Binay, Bayani Fernando, Ephraim Genuino, Gilbert Teodoro, Mike Velarde – might crop up in the list of possible presidential wannabes come May 2010. This is much unlike our US counterpart with its rigid two-party system that pitted McCain against Obama in a phenomenal win delivered by the Web 2.0 or the new digital technology. The configuration is likely to be reduced on the final day for filing certificate of candidacy but the opposition must rally behind a standard flag bearer – in the person of one candidate – to improve its chances of winning.

Surveys by polling circuits appear almost ready to predict who will become the next president or who would rank in the first three just as any ordinary man on the street can do likewise. Imagine a dog whose mouth is in the tip most part of Luzon and whose tail is in the tip most part of Mindanao. If you pinch the dog’s tail, it will be heard in Luzon and reversely, it can be heard in Mindanao. No material time is enough to sustain a rather vain attempt to cover as much ground with almost 90 provinces, how many more towns and cities in each province, and how many more barangays and sitios in every city or town. There seems to be no other option but to tap Web 2.0 and as election nears – creative packages are at the disposal of the more serious presidentiable – if he or she is willing to pay good enough sum of money – P3 to P5 billion in advertising.

In fact, this early, not few of these aspirants have already paid on TV info-commercials to make head way in the process of memory recall – which is prime determinant on anyone’s would-be-success. Topping these political ads are Manny Villar, Mar Roxas, the other Cayetano not to mention Noli de Castro’s PAG-IBIG ads and BF’s own creative way of getting known beyond Metro Manila. The New Media will inevitably take a key role in making sure New Media is employed as a tool. Access to information via digital technology readily satisfied the requirements of the “here” and “now” – at the speed of light. And presidentiables are well-advised to have a strong sense of honesty in themselves if they really intend to make their voters within their reach at the press of the keyboard. In the end, the presidency is in everyone else’s fingertips.

Where will such a candidate source that P5 billion to fund a more likely successful political campaign? Few observers of trends even theorize that bank robberies are virtual forms of fund-raising projects. Even drugs proliferating in the market are again the works of these candidates, true or false? Public works projects are likewise seen as a good source of campaign funds through kickbacks and commissions. If it were not that the World Bank has blacklisted some giant construction firms belong to some members of Congress, some monies could have been siphoned off just as well. It seems difficult to believe that campaign funds come from so-called “Friends of Mr. So and So” – chances not.

This is probably the good thing about PGMA’s, timely or untimely, stimulus plan earmarking some P50 billion from the Social Security System, the Government Service Insurance System, the Land Bank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines. This is probably why there is a move to raise something like a P100 billion to bail out ‘pre-need companies’ that went bankrupt? Come to think of it, this came after the World Bank controversy involving giant construction companies owned by some politicians that have been blacklisted in WB-funded public works projects.

Why this stimulus plan if its purpose be not to literally enough, get from the hard-earned money of the members of SSS as it is with members of the GSIS – which should never have to happen since these involve pension benefits for employees in the private sector and the government? In the end, this whole thing is like baiting other banks or corporate entities to parcel out significant sums of money for the stimulus plan in exchange of certain concessions as may thereafter be granted to them. If this is not extortion, I sure don’t know what is?

This P330 billion stimulus plan is a whole gobble-dy-gook – making people believe that government will go into massive infrastructure projects in order to open wide doors for many people to get employed when in truth, they might just provide milking cows for unabashed corruption activities by those who have any hand in bids, awards, and contracts. To think that all these will be implemented few days or weeks or months before election day, it is not far removed that certain unlawful activities might happen along the way. And just where is the list of infrastructure projects that will be funded from this stimulus plan? At the very least, they should be subject to public scrutiny to make sure no P70 million will drop from the staircase.

If elections were held today, who will you vote for? Will I vote for CJ Puno, in case his Council of Advisers change their minds? I would have wanted Sen. Miriam Santiago to try her luck again for the last time but then again – she can lie – not once, but twice as she did lie in the past. How about a Fortunato Abat – if he comes? Again, how can he get that P5 billion from Bogart or Noah in Money War to sustain an excellent campaign? Will anyone tell me who should lead this country next so that any form of corruption can – no longer rear its ugly head?

PRIMER C. PAGUNURAN
UP Diliman, Quezon City