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Erap, Loren, Jojo, And BF Minus Ping At ANC Leadership Forum

June 6, 2009


Episode Two of ABS-CBN News Channel’s Leadership Forum left me with more questions than answers about what he or she would do if either one of the guest wannabees succeed Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Among the points which left more questions in my mind:

1. Sen. Loren Legarda insisting that “I am still consulting my (ward) leaders about running (for president) while also waiting for the decision of my party (the Nationalist People’s Coalition of business mogul Eduardo ‘Danding’ Cojuangco) since all the recent gathers of party elders have just been socials.”

I have the sense that the good Senator is in denial given how it is no secret that the NPC is about to do a big launch of Sen. Chiz Escudero as its standard bearer coinciding with his 40th birthday this November.

To be fair to Ms. Legarda, she’s said that she’ll be making up her mind perhaps as early as next month.

Given that she’s also previously said she won’t run for Vice President again (having lost to Noli De Castro in 2004), will Loren run without a party organization behind her?

Will Filipinos consider electing a female president this soon after GMA?

2. Former President Joseph Estrada insisting that “my conviction on plunder charges was only about taking jueteng bribes.”

Mr. Estrada forgets that he was offered, and he accepted, a presidential pardon which Juan, Pedro, and Maria understand to mean Wstrada’s  acknowledgment of the charges he was found guilty of (including his role in the BW Resources stock market insider trading and behest investments by the GSIS).

The former president tried to be cute by invoking “executive privilege” when asked to identify who his closest advisers are (“this government might harass them”).

The subtext to that question from host Che-Che Lazaro was, of course, Estrada’s coterie of Chinoy wheeler-dealers and ‘kitchen Cabinet’ which were reputed to wielded inordinate influence during the Estrada presidency ( cut short by Edsa II).

From where I sit, it seems Estrada only wants “to be restored” to remove the stigma of having “constructively resigned” rather than return give Filipinos good government.

3. Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay sidestepping the questions about how he amassed his independent fortune saying only that “I have been receiving my salary as public official while also engaging in piggery.”

Binay failed to mention that there are long pending graft charges against him in connection, among others, with the unexplained property acquisitions in scenic Tagaytay.

To be fair to Mr. Binay, Makati has an enviable social welfare program for its residents and apparently continues to have the support of the business community.

He says he intends replicate his success at the local government level on the national arena.

He’ll have to wait his turn though and will likely slide to become Estrada vice-presidential running mate.

4. Metro Manila Development Authority Chairman Bayani Ferdando saying he’ll use his first 100 days as president to explain “my vision and what my plans are,” while admitting that “my wife is my closest adviser.”

Asked about the hugely unpopular Arroyo regime: “Oh it has made many wrong decision, but not malicious, I think. But don’t get me into trouble (when asked to cite examples of the wrong decision).”

At one point, Fernando elicited loud laughter from the gallery with this slip of the tongue: “I am above the law, errr I meant I abide by the law.”

Fernando did turn Marikina into a disciplined and clean city during his 9 year reign there and has now been succeeded by his wife as mayor.

Fair enough.

But why does the phrase “conjugal leadership” keep popping up in my mind?

Conspicuous by his absence for the second time was Sen. Panfilo Lacson who announced minutes before the broadcast that he was no longer going to run for President “because I don’t have the needed financial resources.”

Lacson denied his withdrawal is connected to the impending appearance of former policeman Cesar Mancao as state’s witness in the Dacer-Corbito murders.

Lacson told ABS-CBN’s Lynda Jumilla: “ Anyway my term as Senator runs till 2013. I will continue to expose and fight corruption and other wrongs in government.”

In sum the second Forum was a success.

But You can’t blame those who after watching the should would probably say NOTA – None Of The Above.

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