1. Dear Mr. President-elect,

    Not since pre-Martial Law has an incoming president had the type of mandate that you have coming out of the 2010 elections. This is both a gift and a curse. The Filipino people have given you their trust resoundingly, based on the promises you made on the campaign trail concerning graft and corruption, and the memory of your sanctified parents. And, as you well know since you campaigned on their memory, they are sanctified in national consciousness. This means that you have two legacies to live up to: that of your parents and that of the great heroes of EDSA I (the Filipino people). 

    The Filipino people, through general acclaim, made your parents national heroes. It was the Filipino people who used the death of your father as the catalyst and selected your mother as the torch-bearer of the revolution. They have in turn selected you to be their torch bearer in the war against graft and corruption; as their leader in the fight to reverse the downward spiral the country finds itself in.

    That is your curse; almost unattainable expectations. Unlike what George W. Bush did in 2001 and 2002, you must utilize your popularity positively, to forge consensus and stymie the vested interests and politicos who want to keep the status quo. This gives you the unique opportunity to really push through with proposed reforms. The Filipino people, for now, are on your side and will support you. Hard choices can be made (pork barrel anyone?). When you have the support of the people, almost anything can be achieved. As long as you make us believe that it is in the best interests of the country. Do not squander this gift, as others have in the past. Coming from where we are and where we have been, you can make a difference. We will all support you, because in the end all we want is a better Philippines.

    My request for you then is simple. Temper expectations by giving us clear and concrete goals that wish to achieve in your six years in office. Whether it is legislation that must be passed; corruption metrics that must be halved; education and environmental statistics that must be improved, a six-year (and beyond) development and improvement plan must be crafted and presented to the Filipino people within your first 100 days. 

    Doing things like bringing down a major figure of corruption is well and good, but what will pay dividends for us all is knowing that we are on the path to improvements.

    Many Filipino people put their trust and faith in you. The way to get the rest of us, and cut through the politics and refocus national discourse, will be to lay out a long-term plan that we can all understand and fully support.

    That is my sincerest (and hopefully not futile) hope Mr. President-elect.



    PS: Also, please stymie charter change in advance. Oktnxverymuch.

    PPS: Yes, I know he’s not going to read this and I’m supposed to put it in Facebook; but brevity is the soul of wit. And I’m not especially witty.


    This is a page that can collate thoughtful suggestions you may want to send to the incoming President. Let’s optimize democracy.

    Tell the President. Even if you didn’t vote for him - he won majority of the votes - now that we’re here, let’s at least share information.

    Who knows, democracy just might work.



  2. Camelot

    I’ve been thinking of writing something longer and more incisive on the subject of the themes of this election. But, for now Binay’s rise to prominence is a perfect vehicle to touch on one of themes I noticed. Namely, Camelot as a campaign.

    The dominant theme of this election was Camelot: hope, change and goodness. Noynoy was able to sell that message quite effectively. Genetics and borrowed aura played a huge part in it, but that does not necessarily explain his dominant victory; or the second place finish of Erap.

    Noynoy and his campaign crafted a campaign message grounded on hope and built on a response to the collapse of the Philippines over the last 10 years. Erap as well was able to effectively campaign on this premise. EDSA II has become a regret, and Erap (compared to GMA) has begun smelling of roses. While he did not have the traction to overtake the message of Aquino, his themes of pro-poverty and anti-GMA resonated. Not only that, but part of the collapse of Villar can be traced to Erap becoming more prominent; and people remembering the role Villar played in Erap’s downfall.

    Noynoy and Erap sold, in varying degrees, Camelot to the people. Binay, who has always been identified with Cory Aquino and being a vehement critic of GMA, is the Mayor of Makati. For many Filipinos (and I say this with just a touch of irony) Makati and it’s Golden Ghettos is as close to Camelot as the Philippines has. It is difficult to counter the physical reality of wealth and achievement, with the relatively ephemeral achievements of successful economic policies.

    Binay sold the Dream of Makati; and he had the apparent credentials to back it up. Namely, many of his pro-poor programs such as the Senior Citizen’s card, an innovation that began in Makati. Roxas, while having much more impressive credentials vis-a-vis job creation and encouraging foreign investment (the Father of Outsourcing and PEZA), could not sell that as an tangible vision.

    In the end, this election (like 1953 and 1986) was the story of moral and collective calls to action in response to the current administration. - with the vision of a Philippine Camelot as the achievable dream for all.

    For Noynoy, Camelot came in the form of honesty, integrity and continuing the work of his sanctified parents - the two who became the figureheads in the movements to tear-down a corrupt dictator. While Roxas would have been the perfect candidate to work reforms in the Philippines, he did not come with the built-in resonance that Binay possesses. For Binay, his connection to Erap (and Erap’s newly minted status as bad-but-not-as-bad-as-GMA), his connection to Cory Aquino, the relatively unknown status of his personal wealth and his stature as leading Makati all became contributing factors in his apparent rise to the top of the partial post-election returns.