Writing on Air

Writing on Air by Jim Paredes

Accentuating the positive

Posted on May 02, 2010 by jimparedes

HUMMING IN MY UNIVERSE By Jim Paredes (The Philippine Star) Updated May 02, 2010 12:00 AM

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The mad rush is on. It’s the last week before the elections and as the ratings stand, partisans of every candidate (except Noynoy) are putting on a brave face as they explain their candidates standing and chances of winning.

Gordon has filed suit against the survey companies. Gibo was shown on TV holding a shirt with a message in green ink that said, “Hindi ako tinanong ng survey.” Erap says he has done his own survey and appears confident. Villar’s momentum has been stopped, and his numbers, as of the last survey, are on the decline. But the NP claims to be confident of winning.

One thing I have noticed is, every candidate thinks highly of surveys when the numbers show they are ahead. When they perform poorly, they negate the very idea of surveys. It’s probably an ego thing — it’s hard to accept being an also-ran when you have put in so much money and effort into campaigning.

And it’s certainly been a grueling campaign. I have never seen so much partisanship. With Twitter and Facebook and other social networking media getting into the act, the debates, arguments, black and white propaganda, endorsements and jokes just keep coming non-stop.

Meanwhile, in the backrooms of various political headquarters, vile and desperate men and women continue to hatch scenarios to alter the political landscape in favor of their candidates. Plans have been hatched and executed, some successfully while others not so, and more new plans are surely afoot with the aim of game-changing in these “last two minutes,” so to speak.

So-called psychiatric files meant to cast doubts on Noynoy’s mental state were leaked by people close to Villar. To the media’s credit, these were immediately exposed as false. Investigations into the so-called poverty of Villar have been quite devastating and may have drawn blood, if you look at the surveys. Expect more of these types of exposés and investigations until election day. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Amid all the smoke on the battlefield, I have been doing, in my own small way, an exercise to try and reverse much of the demonizing that has been going on around us. In this spirit, I have written this article in praise of each of the presidential candidates. From what I know of them personally, and what I have read about them, allow me to show you what I can like about each one, my personal choice notwithstanding. Even though I chose my candidate a long time ago, I speak truthfully here about what I think of his rivals. I will not be negative about anyone. I will leave that task to the candidates. Anyway, they probably can do that better than I can.

Manny Villar. The truth is I can identify, not with his so-called poor image, but with his middle class upbringing. I had a mother who worked really hard to support us after my father died. I know what it is like to share meager resources with nine other siblings. I admire the fact that from this relatively humble background, he has made something of himself.

Moving up the social ladder and becoming a major player in business and politics is something everyone aspires for. And Villar has done it quite spectacularly. He may have his detractors about how he did it, but regardless, Villar has made something of himself and that is admirable.

Gilbert Teodoro. He is the most eloquent candidate in presenting his platform. Gibo also seems like a decent guy. I have checked him out with some of the people he grew up with, and I have heard good things. In fact, they even dispute some stories going around the Internet that speak ill of him. I believe them. It is this, more than his so-called “galing at talino,” that impresses me. He seems to have a steely strength that translates into an equanimity I have seen in some leaders.

Joseph Estrada. I marched against him during EDSA 2. The truth is, all these years, I have looked at the Erap caricature that people despise and ridicule, more than the man. I finally met him about two years ago when we both stood as sponsors at a wedding. Actually, I was not ready for what transpired. I was utterly charmed by the man’s presence and charisma. He is very sociable, is fun to banter with, and genuinely likes people. He can make you feel invited and, if you want to, you could probably even get close to him if you wish.

Erap once said in an interview that he doesn’t hold grudges against people, even those who are against him. With the few minutes I spent with him, I tend to believe that this is true.

Eddie Villanueva. I met and had lunch with Bro. Eddie Villanueva and a few people he had invited to join his campaign. This was early in the campaign. Since he was one of the first to declare his intention to run, I did not feel inhibited about asking him pointed questions about issues like family planning, knowing very well that he was a religious man. To my surprise and delight, in the course of the conversation, I felt a kinship with his practical and no-nonsense approach to governance, his pro-poor stance, his liberal democratic inclinations and his passion to change things.

His activist idealism, which he imbibed in college, and his religion continues to fire him up to this day. Bro, Eddie is certainly a man who can inspire and lead.
Richard Gordon. I have met Dick Gordon a few times. He may have forgotten that more than 25 years ago, during a causal encounter, I mistakenly asked him how it was managing Angeles City. The man instantly morphed from a friendly demeanor to a combative one and curtly reminded me that he was from Olongapo, not Angeles.

As much as that bothered me, I also saw a man who took pride in what he had done, transforming the city he led. Dick Gordon is a man on the go, always enthusiastic and demands a lot from people. Is he a leader? Definitely! And a tough, hard-nosed one.
JC de los Reyes. What can I say about someone who is all heart, a man of great faith and a loyal and ardent servant of his church? I have not met JC personally, but I would like to sit down with him one day and listen to his thoughts about being a devout, conservative Catholic moving about in the big, bad, secular arena of a national political campaign.

His Kapatiran Party, whether or not you agree with its policies and vision, is the most ideologically pure there is in the country.
Nicky Perlas. I have known Nicky for some time. More than any candidate, I think he has the firmest grasp of environmental issues and what needs to be done about them. During the Ramos administration, I signed a petition to push his name as environment secretary. Nicky is an intellectual in the true sense of the word. He understands complexity and can situate small problems into the bigger scheme of things, and vice-versa. He could ably represent our country at meetings with say, Barack Obama or Nelson Mandela to discuss world events and issues that affect all of mankind.

Jamby Madrigal. I have never met Jamby, and it is probably my loss since some of her friends (who are also mine) speak highly of her intention to serve the people and uplift the majority from poverty. I like her hard-hitting manner in confronting her opponents. More than many politicians, she tells it like it is. And she does not back down or give up easily. That’s a positive trait that a good leader needs.

Noynoy Aquino. I was not a instant fan. The truth is, I was for Bayani Fernando at the start. When I first saw Noynoy talk, I was frankly underwhelmed by his lack of oratorical skills then. But since he is Cory and Ninoy’s son, I decided to stick around and give him the benefit of the doubt.

It was when I began to listen to him that I discovered his sensible mind. He was the first to speak courageously about the RH bill. As the campaign has progressed, he has made more and more sense regarding the different issues confronting our national life. I see a sharpness and fighting spirit in confronting his rivals and detractors. He has been the most fearless and consistent in standing up to GMA on many issues while others were silent. The most important thing about Noy is his unassailable character. I can trust him as a leader.

He is probably one of the busiest people in the Philippines these days but he always takes time to answer texts personally. I see in him an element of the servant-leader.

It might be good to get detached from our choices for a while and see all the presidential candidates as potential winners. After all, we will have to live with the election results, granted that the elections are honest and efficient. Only one of them will be our leader for the next six years. We may all need to practice acceptance if we are to continue to live in a democracy so we might as well start now.

10 to “Accentuating the positive”

  1. jacq_yu says:

    this is a very welcome respite from all the black propaganda mushrooming up just before elections. i, too, have chosen my candidate a long time ago, and i truly believe that he can make a positive change in our country…yet, it’s so easy to forget that they are also ordinary people like us who can stumble and make mistakes. assuming that all of our presidentiables really have the sincerity and perseverance to serve, i salute ALL of them for allowing themselves to undergo so much public scrutiny.

  2. What a great overview of the candidates! I especially like the photos . . . I wish I could see a post like this from a local blogger about the candidates who are running for election in my state. Good job!

  3. Roxanne Espiritu says:

    We really should have more of the positive write-ups especially in the maddening world of politics. This article was indeed insightful and really saw goodness in each candidate whose reputation has been muddled these past few weeks. The insights of Jim Paredes were most of the experiences and impressions I have likewise had from all of them. I have always been an admirer of your column. May you continue to be a source of positive and profound insights to steer us to a more concrete way of contributing to the good of this country we all love! More power to you.

  4. Bass Poet says:

    Hi Jim,

    What a different way of looking at on political candidates. I liked the detachment from the negativity and focused on being the “observer”, the one seeing and looking from the far side.

    I have not been involved in Philippine politics since 1993. I admire Filipinos for being political beings, for always being at the forefront of the politics in the Philippines and always having a say to our political issues.

    I remember being at high school student in the Philippines and one of our courses is about Economics and Politics and was part of our high school’s Student Outreach Program.

    I pray and hope for the best for our beloved country, the Philippines. Hopefully our future leader will be able to deliver and take actions to uplift the lives of the majority of Filipinos especially the masses.


    Bass Poet

  5. Jet Pampolina says:

    Hi Jim,\n\nGreat article….Positive Philippines really is the way to go…\n\nAlso want to share with you a recent Bloomberg article and explains why people like myself are so Passionate about this coming Elections..\n\nhttp://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601039&sid=aarqJkd01k4k\n\nBtw, I am for Gordon.\n\nThanks!\nJet

  6. Jet Pampolina says:

    Jim,\n\nI agree with your point regarding practicing acceptance… We all should support whoever get elected…\n\nI just hope the Aquino Presidency will really embrace everyone even his opponents, detractors (even lay to rest Marcos in the Libingan Ng Bayani) for this country to finally move on…\n\nProve to all that his presidency is not vindictive… and should learn that if someone sows distrust, it would reap distrust…\n\nMabuhay tayong lahat !!!

  7. ricky says:

    I thought I had made up my mind when Noynoy initially declared his candidacy but as time went doubts cropped up regarding his ability to be independent of interest groups. He is surrounded by the LP stalwarts who are mostly corrupt recycled GMA people starting from Drilon, Roxas, etc. As the campaign progresses, I was hoping he would be more independent and repudiate them but instead he embraced corrupt trapos like Recto, Echiverri, Joey Salceda and so many others. Even Serge Osmena could not stomach Noynoy’s embrace of these corrupt trapos. I am very sad. Now I am looking at Brother Eddie though I am not yet sure if I will vote him.

  8. Lhai cruz says:

    Nice one.. Love this post. Para maiba naman at hindi puro siraan!!!. Thanks jim!!!

  9. A very timely blog post, Sir Jim!

    A few days ago, I was listing down the names of the candidates I will vote. Pero gulong gulo pa ako. I thought about going to your blog site for wisdom and thoughts that are more perceptive and more wise than any local talk show with time pressures and only a few questions. I’m not looking for the right questions and be answered by these candidates in their own way. I was wishing that a tv station COULD somehow make YOU a host to a cup of tea like talk show that’s not pressured with time. Because I think lalabas yung tunay na ugali nila when you ask them lite yet smart questions. Less scripted questions, more sensible talk. :)

    Tonight, I’ll finish my list with much faith and much hope. Thank you for this blog post, sir! :)


    side question:

    will there be another manila show of the farewell concert soon?


  10. jimparedes says:

    May 27, 28, 29 are the last APO Shows in manila and anywhere/ Call 4265301 4260103 for tickets.

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