THERE, was that so hard to do? Noynoy finally "anointed" Mar; not as his successor; that would raise doubts about automation; but as his choice if it were all up to him. And it is a bold choice on the part of Noy, going by Mar’s dismal rating in the surveys. But if Noy really wants to know, not what flatterers tell him, but what people really think of his record, he must take a chance on Mar who is his carbon copy—not least in his obsessive need to micromanage and his compulsive desire to be 100% sure before giving it a go.
Noy was rewarded by Mar’s ceaseless outpouring of gratitude—not for the presidency but for the chance of a go at it—in a roomful of Liberal Party stalwarts at least half of them accused of pork misuse; the other half wanting someone else as standard bearer; and none of whom Mar can trust as far as he can throw an elephant.
And yet I have a feeling, as the song goes. I have a feeling that Mar’s is far from a forlorn quest.
When Mar stepped aside from his presidential run for Noynoy in 2010, he was way ahead of the pack. He had just wiped the floor of the debates with his rivals; one of them was pretty and articulate; another had just come out of jail, and the other was adamantly silent under a hail of accusations from Jamby. Mar had come out the previous election No. 1 in a Senate race, like Grace did 3 years later. No one has said he would have lost the 2010 presidential race.
Well he’s back—and those who believed in him can do so again. I predict this will show in the next survey.
He has for baggage only this administration’s record but it is a record ably defended by Noy in his last SONA. Sure, the MRT is a total screw up for which only the government is to blame; certainly not Sumitomo, the greatest company in the world. And then there’s Mamasapano But Mar was deliberately kept out of the loop and so not to be blamed. And yet he alone stood by his fallen men’s grieving families.
Alongside Mamasapano, there is Zamboanga where Mar showed the small circumference of his patience with terror. Pull out a gun and he will pull out a cannon, right or wrong.
He will be hit on several issues but not for anything he did wrong but that he did nothing about them.
Even his invention of the BPO business for which everyone must credit him was not followed up by support for further measures like a separate department of information technology, which he slammed.
But that’s Mar for you. He did what was needed to set up BPOs. Why do more; especially set up a regulatory agency? Indeed, nothing has shown the need to regulate or help the business. My swimming companion was one of the big players. I offered to add tax incentives in Congress. He said, “What for? I make so much money, I am at loss what to spend it on, tax me some more.” Mar thinks it’s best to leave well enough alone.
Mar is not an exciting guy. He is just the guy who gets things done and nothing more. Except of course the MRT but he will have to answer for that alone.
He is infamous as never helping friends; not even with the smallest favors or kindnesses; none of them improper and all of them compassionate. That’s just not him. Compassion is not Mar’s strong suit. It is honesty and minimalism.
You can never have too much honesty and you should never do more than the absolute minimum so you can quickly move on. BPOs are doing fine? Then enough already. Again we are back with MRT; that was working fine, but somebody wanted to fix something that wasn’t broke and sent it to Paniqui, Tarlac for repairs. But the blame for that has been fixed—not on Mar but Vitangcol.
I have said that experience is not needed in the presidency. Look at Noy. He had no experience at all and yet ever since he delivered his 2 and a quarter hour valedictory not a peep has been heard to dispute the record he established. Except of course the MRT.
Mar has had experience which in Philippine politics is destructive but in Mar’s case not fatally so. He served 3 presidents and while you can dispute that he did much, he did nothing wrong. Others who might say, I have no experience in cheating and stealing but he can say, “You never had a chance. I did. I had every chance to cheat and steal but I did not, not even close. My mother did not make me that way.”
So as I see it, if Mar scrambles, if he fights as he must for every inch of ground until he achieves a critical mass of acceptance that can sweep him to victory, Mar has a good chance to be president. Less than he did when first he ran but more than his competitors if they run amateur campaigns riding only on popularity which is slippery. Ten months is a long, long time to go.
Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.