Jul 15, 2024

Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo is running to become the next president of the Philippines. Photo by Office of the Vice President.

It is widely believed that if and when Leni becomes president, she will establish a good government, will fill her cabinet and key government posts only with honest individuals who have track records of accomplishment, and that she will run a competent administration.  

She is expected to rev up the country’s pandemic response, stop the country’s downward economic spiral, restore decency in government, re-establish moral authority, encourage national unity, restore confidence among foreign investors, and repair the country’s disgraced reputation in the global community.  In other words, she is expected to be a good president.

Everyone who supports Leni have already enumerated the qualities and qualifications that make her the ideal president.  What is not being discussed is what happens after six years when her term as president ends.

Beyond Leni, we need successive honest governments to continue what she is expected to accomplish.  We need the right mix of national leaders to carry on her legacy.  One successful administration can turn this country around towards the right direction but will not be enough to take it into a steady orbit of normalcy.  A president’s real test of success does not come during his term.  The real test will come beyond his presidency. Failing that, the country could well slide back to the muck it is in today.

It is reasonable to expect that the people who will work with Leni will share her values.  An honest administration should then be able to catalyze and cultivate honest presidential successors. This is the compelling reason why an honest competent government is direly needed right now.  We need a new government that will engage in nation building, creating better paying jobs, building infrastructure, advancing agriculture, and investing in mass education, without the corruption that is the hallmark of this outgoing administration.  We just cannot afford another crooked set of leaders. We need to look Leni and beyond.


Why not Ferdinand Marcos Junior?

“If you were an investor in cryptocurrency, would you buy Bitcoin from a questionable telemarketer?  Or, would you be protective of your investments and buy from an accredited crypto currency exchange? It is this type of questioning, the same thinking process that people should use in making important decisions such as choosing the next president of the country.”

Marcos Junior is too embedded in his family’s sphere of influence.  Imelda is alive and kicking and will no doubt be a huge factor in her son’s decisions. The Marcos family is too beholden to Duterte whose administrative style disrespected our democratic institutions and lost untold billions of pesos to corruption and incompetence. It is just too risky to entrust the country’s future to this Marcos.

“If you were President, and you grew up in an environment where being illegally wealthy is a virtue, would you appoint an honest cop to your cabinet?  If you were the President, and you owe your family’s security to someone predisposed to EJK, would you let him go scot free?”

A noted academician-turned-technocrat during the Marcos dictatorship once said privately that Malacanang Palace is a “snake pit.”  No doubt, when Leni is in Malacanang, the rogues and miscreants of our endemically corrupt political system will surround her – whispering, ingratiating, lobbying, cajoling, pressuring, bribing, advancing their own political and business interests, blocking those who they disagree with, trapping and backstabbing perceived enemies. 

Will Leni be strong enough to withstand all those, and not succumb?  No one can say for sure, but the odds look good.

Consider. As member of congress – a post that comes with perks – she took public transportation to commute to her home province.  While holding the country’s second highest office, her private residence – a Metro Manila condo – is smaller than the carport of some houses in wealthy communities. Her daughters had to rely on scholarships to obtain higher education from universities here and abroad.  Despite limited funds and huge road blocks put up by courtesans of the man in the palace, the OVP was able to deliver much needed services to people who otherwise would get nothing. The OVP is the only agency to win 100% clearance from COA.  This is the Honesty, Integrity and Record of Service that will shield her from the rogues.

The choice is crystal clear.

Joe Zagala is an Ontario resident who has been actively participating in Greater Toronto’s Filipino community. He is a past president of the University of the Philippines Alumni Association (Toronto), former Vice President of Kalayaan Cultural Community Centre, a former director of The Riverwood Conservancy, and one of the original organizers and a past president of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce Toronto.  Joe is a holder of BS Chemical Engineering and MBA degrees from UP.  He held senior management positions within large corporations in Canada, including Vice President for Global Business at CipherSoft Inc.  He is Managing Director of Lily Framarc Management Consultants based in Mississauga Ontario.

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