That is an assertion I make with full conviction and after much study, and with no exaggeration at all. I’m sure you, dear reader, would agree with me if you looked at the facts objectively, and shed irrational mindsets, such as the tendency to believe that a good-looking person is most likely a good person, and therefore, in her case, she is not likely to do evil and may even be capable of performing miracles in governance.
She is the worst candidate for four reasons:
1. Barring that perennial crackpot candidate Pascual Racuyal, Llamanzares is the least qualified ever to be in the running for the highest post of the land. Corazon Aquino also had minimal qualifications as Poe. But Cory didn’t run because of her qualifications but as a symbol, the avenging widow of the murdered opposition figure Ninoy Aquino, and as a rallying figure to unite the opposition and to rouse people’s anger against the ruler. Cory’s story has not been an unfamiliar one, with several widows or daughters of slain government heads succeeding them: Ceylon’s Sirimavo Bandaranaike; India’s Indira Ghandi; Pakistan’s Benazir Bhuto and Bangladesh’s Kalida Zia.
Llamanzares’ candidacy is based on her belief that the masses will still believe that, like Cory and these other Asian women leaders, she will continue the vision and promises of her late father, Fernando Poe, Jr., which, however, were really those pledged by the movie hero he played onscreen.
We have had actors and comedians who became senators, who all have really proven to be disasters, if not totally useless at the Senate. Is there any special reason – an amazing quality Llamanzares possesses – to convince us she will be different from them?
Never in our entire history has there been anybody like Llamanzares who is running for the presidency with such meager qualifications. Can we rationally believe that somebody can just learn to fly a Boeing 747 overnight? The presidency of this Republic is as complicated as that, and if this “vehicle” crashes, the casualties will be in the tens of millions, much bigger than that jetliner’s 300 people.
What qualifications have Llamanzares’ following work experience given her to think she could run a nation of 100 million people: an assistant watching over toddlers in a pre-school, clerical jobs in obscure US government agencies, and then upon returning and (as a token of sympathy for her late father FPJ, who ran against President Arroyo), head of the movie and TV censors?
Yes, she was senator for three years, but as I will reveal in detail in a succeeding column, she did practically nothing there, except chair the committee that investigated the Mamasapano massacre of 44 elite police troops. This was really her entrance fee to the presidential race, since she allowed the main culprit President Aquino to go scot-free.
Supreme Court dragged down
2. In terms of qualifications, there had actually been a candidate worse than her: her father Fernando Poe Jr. But Llamanzares is a worse candidate than her father in that she didn’t given a damn that her pursuit of the presidency would drag down the Supreme Court, the bastion of the rule of law, to the gutter. Senior Justice Antonio Carpio also pointed that out in the very first sentences of his dissenting opinion:
“This ruling of the majority will lead to absurd results, making a mockery of our national elections by allowing a presidential candidate with uncertain citizenship status to be potentially elected to the Office of the President, an office expressly reserved by the Constitution exclusively for natural-born Filipino citizens.”
FPJ never renounced his country in order to be an American citizen, even if it would have been so easy for him to do so, as millions of Filipinos with an American parent who became US citizens know. FPJ never left the country that would create an issue over the 10-year-residency requirement for the presidency.
Read the entire Supreme Court decision written by the ponencia, and the six others who voted in favor of allowing Llamanzares to run for the Presidency, and you will easily imagine these justices squirming and wriggling in their seats, prattling and babbling nonsense in their desperate attempt to convince themselves that they were not deciding for Poe because someone told them to.
The justices who voted for Llamanzares, I’m sure, would later on woe the day they were appointed to the Supreme Court. The concurring opinions they wrote would be favorite topics in law schools as case studies, either of utter legal incompetence or of ridiculous intellectual acrobatics to conceal a simple truth – they were asked to let Llamanzares run.
Take the opinion of Chief Justice Sereno, as one example. Her main argument, concealed as simply citing the opinion of one justice in the citizenship case involving FPJ, is “let the people decide.” What? If that is the case, then repeal all laws on who can run for public office or not, amend even the qualifications specified by the Constitution! And that argument comes from the Supreme Court Chief Justice?
Celebrity politics exploited
3. The third reason why Llamanzares is the worst candidate ever is this: A UP college student and then political science graduate at Boston College, Llamanzares knows in her heart and mind that she is fooling the electorate, and that she is exploiting the deep flaw in our democracy – that leaders could be elected by mob thinking, and by celebrity politics.
Mature democratic systems have checked this flaw by adopting indirect voting, in which leaders who were voted to office choose the supreme leader, as in the case of parliamentary systems. The two-party system, and particularly the American process of caucuses and primaries – as now seen on TV – also serve to filter candidates, weeding out those with little qualifications. We don’t have such gauntlets to separate the frauds, and so we are so vulnerable to celebrity politics.
Llamanzares knows that her ratings do not have anything to do with her qualifications, but with the masses’ illusion that she is the princess of the cinema hero Panday, in their minds not fiction but reality. Yet, she insists on running for the presidency. This is really cheating of the highest level: people are fooled to vote for a fictional person.
4. The fourth reason why Llamanzares is the worst ever candidate is that she is running for the presidency not only because of her own ambition, but because it is the crucial part of President Aquino’s only way to evade justice in the next Administration.
Think about it. Llamanzares is intelligent, 48 years old, and presumably in the pink of health as she has had three children in the span of a decade. She could have run for vice president and won, get a Cabinet position, so at least she could have an idea on how to run government. In six years, she’ll just turn 54, so she’ll still be among the youngest to hold that highest post of the land. (Median age of Philippine presidents is 55.)
Why does she want to be President right now?
There can be only one reason. Aquino needs her very badly, not six years from now, but this year, as soon as he steps down from office.
Aquino needs the next President to be so beholden to him that she would, with the powers of the presidency, protect him from the hundreds of people raring to prosecute him for crimes during his regime – from malversation of funds (the Disbursement Acceleration Plan budget hijack controversy) to petty (his unexplained Porsche) and big-time corruption (jueteng proceeds) to criminal negligence (the Mamasapano massacre) to treason (his pact with the MILF and the billions of pesos he gave to that Islamist group.)
The DAP case alone involves more than 3,000 budget allocations for projects unauthorized by Congress, and therefore, involves malversation of funds. This means that Aquino and his budget secretary, Florencio Abad, could face 3,000 separate charges of malversation. Hacienda Luisita in an Administration seriously implementing agrarian reform would cease to be a hacienda, the Aquino-Cojuangcos’ mansions there bulldozed to the ground.
His candidate since 2013
Sources have, in fact, disclosed that Aquino, with Abad and Senate Franklin Drilon – the troika that runs the Yellow Cult – chose Llamanzares to be his candidate, a secret one though, right after the 2013 elections. They calculated that the 20 million votes she got (much bigger than their vice presidential candidate Manuel Roxas 2nd’s 14 million) could easily translate into votes for the presidency.
The troika had been stunned by the defeat of their vice presidential candidate Manuel Roxas 2nd in 2010 despite the finances he used up, and now it no longer believes he can succeed Aquino in 2016. The offer to Poe to run as Roxas’ vice president was a scripted move, intended to hide Aquino’s plot. Has Poe ever criticized Aquino?
This is the only explanation why even Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, in a totally unprecedented move as he is supposed to be government’s lawyer and not any individual, defended Poe in the Supreme Court hearing and why four of the five justices Aquino appointed to the Court allowed the candidate to run, and for three others to acquiesce to that decision. “Isn’t it quite obvious – nobody else could pull that trick except the President?” the source claimed.
To take the spotlight from Aquino, his spin-doctors have managed to portray tycoon Eduardo Cojuangco, Jr. and San Miguel controlling stockholder Ramon Ang as backing up Llamanzares. This is so off the mark, the source claimed. Cojuangco has been very sick, and he doesn’t really care about “the world” now, the source said. Ang, on the other hand, has been known to be such a shrewd businessman that he wouldn’t put all his chips on a single number.
The two figures behind Llamanzares are former President Joseph Estrada, who feels he has a responsibility to back her up stemming from a sense of guilt that what pushed her father to his death was his running for the presidency, which he had asked him to do. The taste of national power also has never left Estrada, and feeling immortal, he thinks he can recover his losses from his failed presidential bid in 2010 through Grace, her goddaughter. The other is Chinese-Filipino tycoon William Gatchalian, Estrada’s biggest financial supporter and known to bet only on only one candidate. The two have brought with them most of the shadowy Chinese businessmen who had been Estrada’s cronies when he was President.
It is such an unholy alliance that reveals the hypocrisy of Aquino and the Yellow Cult: The supposed anti-corruption crusaders are in league with the most corrupt President we’ve ever had, the only one convicted of plunder.
That points to one reason why I assert that Aquino is the most corrupt President of this country. Money lost to corruption can be easily raised again in one fiscal year.
But the damage to our system of justice due to Aquino’s yoking of the Supreme Court to his wishes, in order to escape the wheels of justice when he steps down, can be repaired only after decades, after a generation. The cost of that to us is unimaginable.