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Missing The President (Updated With Sec. Remonde’s Reaction)

December 30, 2009

How many more tragedies will it take before Gloria Macapagal Arroyo goes back to work as president of the Philippines?

After junketing in Hongkong with her family, Mrs. Arroyo is now vacationing in Baguio, leaving the country without a working chief executive.


These poins are is being posed by IT businessman and opposition senatorial aspirant Joey De Venecia as we collectively reel from the twin shipping mishaps and the continuing not-yet-explosive eruption of Mayon volcano that has forced the evacuation of nearly 50,000 Bicolans.

De Venecia, whose expose led to the scuttling of the NBN-ZTE deal, notes:

I am not blaming her for the sinking of yet another passenger ferry, but the people need to know if she is still interested in managing the affairs of state.

The DOTC, Marina and the Coast Guard would have been on their toes. The lives lost in the sinking of the M/V Baleno 9 last Saturday night could have been avoided,” he said.
Instead of taking vacations and campaigning for congresswoman in her home province of Pampanga, Mrs. Arroyo should stay put in Malacanang and administer the ship of state,”

Otherwise, she should turn over the presidency to Vice President Noli de Castro.

She cannot wear two hats.

She is either President Arroyo or candidate Arroyo.
As full-time president, Mrs. Arroyo already made a mess of the executive department.

As part-time president, the situation can only get worse.

Not a few Filipinos hold these views, methinks.

BTW the latest SWS survey says 61% of Filipinos no longer like Pres. Arroyo.

1st Update:

From my Facebook page comes this quite testy reaction from Pres. Arroyo’s normally affable Press Secretary Cerge Remonde:

Cerge M. Remonde
THATS UNFAIR. JUST BECAUSE SHE IS IN BAGUIO DOES NOT MEAN THE COUNTRY HAS NO MORE CHIEF EXECUTIVE. IN THE FIRST PLACE, THE REASON WHY THERE IS AN OFFICIAL RESIDENCE IN BAGUIO IS BECAUSE PRESIDENTS ARE EXPECTED TO WORK THERE, DITTO WITH THE SUPREME COURT. BESIDES, NAGCABINEET MEETING RIN SA BAGUIO, DI BA?

In his own Facebook status update several hours ago, Secretary wrote this New Year’s message:

I am very sad that the public approval rating of the president is as it is despite all the good things that she has done and the great sacrifices that she has made. After ten months in office, I feel that I am a failure as her Press Secretary

I fully understand where the good Secretary Remonde is coming from.

Here’s what I posted in reaction:

Cerge, my dear Press Secretary and ‘classmate, no need to shout. One loses focus when he gets angry and sheds equanimity.

Whatever point you have is lost when, like GMA, you become pikon.

To be fair, Sec. Remonde has a very valid point about the purpose of the Baguio Mansion House.

Indeed he could have also mentioned that given modern real-time communiations technology, the President, any president, can really stay ‘in charge’ in virtual fashion, while he or she is away.

But hey, the times are disconcertingly beyond normal given the shipping mishaps and Mayon’s restiveness.

Malacanang ignores the perception Filipinos are left with when she’s not physically in the Palace.

It may seem  hackneyed but the phrase ‘out of sight, out of mind’ is apropos.

Nuff said.




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