Nation Before Self…


Nation Before Self. That is the essence of public service. Old-timers on this blog know I have long supported Mar Roxas, and I believe he is the best candidate for President this year as well. I am just as strong in my belief that Leni Robredo is the best candidate for Vice-President as well.

However, the polls are a good indicator of the likely outcome of Monday’s vote, and it looks like the frontrunner is well ahead at this point. At a very recent dinner with friends and colleagues, I mentioned that the ONLY realistic strategic option left barring “struck by lightning events” was to have Grace Poe and Mar Roxas get together and do what they have to do to join forces to defeat the front-runner. Nation Before Self.

The bottom line? The two trailing Presidential candidates have roughly 45% of the vote according to polls. Add to that the power to mobilize the vote because of serious party machinery in nearly every single barangay, along with Filipinos propensity to gravitate to a strong potential winner, and these two candidates could potentially crush a 30-40% vote for the front-runner. Miriam would add another 5-7% according to the polls. It’s that simple. I will explain my personal position more below, but suffice it to say, if Grace Poe and Mar join forces to defeat the front-runner (and add Miriam Santiago for good measure), I and I believe millions of other people, will vote for whomever they decide to choose as the single candidate for President. And Vice-President is also another area to shore up choices. Seriously, another Marcos a heartbeat away from the Presidency? Otherwise, all of them will probably lose anyway, and again, I hope they think Nation Before Self.

Just hours ago, Mar Roxas made the first gesture and asked for a meeting with Grace Poe, and Poe was publicly coy but open to a meeting, if televised news is to be believed. I hope President Aquino gets Mar, Grace and Miriam together for a meeting later tonight or early tomorrow morning to do something that is so unexpected, but so logical, so mature, so decent, that the world and most Filipinos will view in a positive light. Failing that, I do hope the best for the nation under a Duterte presidency, if that’s what the voters choose on Monday.


How I pick the candidates I vote for, as explained in a relatively short comment in one of my posts on April 1, 2010, before the last Presidential elections, and I quote myself:

“In a perfect world, you would vote for the person you most strongly believe in, period. Irrespective of whether he or she has a snowball’s chance in Hades or not. It is an extremely idealistic view to take, and I took that road for many, many years. xxxxxx

Today, I believe in being slightly more practical, precisely because I do not think we are in a perfect world, and worse, I do not think there are ANY totally ideal Presidential candidates in the field running right now. As I have stated on this blog before, ideally, I personally would rank candidates in this short hand manner from best to worst (Character – honesty, integrity, heart, etc.) / (Capability – Track Record, Intelligence, Capability to Muster change, etc.):

1. Honest & Capable
2. Honest & Incapable
3. Dishonest & Capable
4. Dishonest & Incapable

In my personal opinion, and only that, an opinion, most of the candidates probably fall into the 1.5 – 3.5 range, though some would argue we definitely sink low to a solid 4.0 for a candidate or two. But I will not rate each one, as that is too contentious and frankly, I lack data to do that properly.

Now as for the “wasted vote” logic, which I do not think is twisted at all. The polls, as controversial as they always are, do reflect the pulse of the voters to a certain degree, and previous data confirms that. Even my own poll here taken weeks ago answered by roughly 1,000 readers, most probably in the A&B socio-economic classes, was a good reflection of the results of the SWS poll in the A segment of the population. And I didn’t spend a single centavo to obtain that “feel” from a small segment of the voting population. So, the thinking goes like this… the polls have identified at least 3 candidates with “substantial” chances of winning, barring massive cheating or vote interference, and they are: Aquino, Villar and Estrada. Everyone else at this point does not appear to be within STRIKING DISTANCE AT ALL. xxxxx

As I said earlier, I believe not voting at all is a cop-out. And I would rather that one voted for someone who was going to lose than NOT vote at all. We will HAVE to elect a President, and it’s better to be part of the process than not. But we cannot ignore that voting for a candidate with no chance of winning may take away from the chances of other candidates who may also be able to do good for the country.”


32 Responses

  1. Quite revealing was how Roxas diplomatically made overtures to the Poe camp about ‘having a talk’ and the other camps (Poe and Duterte) including the candidate herself went very public and ballistic, gloating about a refusal. A friend even said he looked forward to seeing PNoy & Roxas ‘burn to death.’ Very disheartening.

  2. It is often said: It is not over until the fat lady sings! But when the inevitable happens and D becomes President, I must weep and gnash my teeth for my country.

  3. Feel oddly relieved by your choice. So many people have surprised me with a choice so contradictory to who they are — or perhaps just contradictory to who I thought they were.

  4. To all those backing Roxas, just remember, when the incompetence starts, you should be beside him. All the way. Even after another Yolanda Crisis, Mamasapano Siege, Kidapawan Killings, MRT problem, LTO Plate delay, and Rampant Corruption and Crime in the country. Stand by him and tell yourself, you helped the incompetence flow. You are very much a part of it. Don’t wash your hands off it. Be proud of what you’ve done.

    Remember, what you are assuming about Duterte hasn’t happened yet. Whatever we throw against Roxas already happened, video-documented, and hundreds of thousands of Filipinos already suffered from those.

  5. When I listened to Duterte’s conversation with Joma Sison, he kept telling Joma that he was a socialist and that he was pissed at the oligarchs for abusing the country. What exactly has Du30 done to Davao that would label him a socialist? Has he implemented policies that conform to socialist agendas like raising taxes for the rich then giving out free education, health care and housing to the poor? Has he made contractualization illegal in Davao? As far as I know, the mayor has hired thousnads of contractual workers in Davao, so why hasn’t he made them permanent employees if he truly is against contractualization? Maybe because it has something to do with ghost employees, a traditional way for trapo mayors to make money.

    All I can see is his anti-American foreign policy that Joma’s really happy about. That’s just about the depth of Duterte’s socialist belief, the fact that he is anti-American. He criticizes our foreign policy without hearing what Albert del Rosario has been saying about bilateral negotiations. It looks like he will push us into the Sinosphere and break our Western alliances, much to the glee of Joma.

  6. Today is the calm before the storm. For today, let us just celebrate and cheer all the great moms! Happy mother’s day to you Mrs. MM!

  7. gtec,

    please be original

    Raissa Robles
    May 6 at 10:08pm ·
    To all those backing Duterte, just remember, when the killings start, you should be beside him. All the way. Even after the river of blood overflows. Stand by him and tell yourself, you helped the blood flow. You are very much a part of it. Don’t wash your hands off it. Be proud of what you’ve done.

  8. >Remember, what you are assuming about Duterte hasn’t happened yet.

    So those people executed by the death squads are alive?

  9. The end does NOT justify the means. I hope we don’t turn into a culture of death.

  10. The way I see it, people get what they deserve.
    If the popular vote votes in competent and honest individual, then the populace is prepared for such a leader. Put another way, the populace has become educated and mature enough to discern the truth from the propaganda and can use logic to predict what their nation will be under the leadership and vision of such a president.

    Conversely, it works the same way. If we get another ho-hum president or an incompetent one or a corrupt one, it means the populace is not prepared to discern truth from propaganda.

    Well, it could very well also happen that the populace “lucks out” and, somehow gets a president that they do not deserve (i.e. the maturity of the populace is not congruent with the quality of president that gets elected into office).

    But I would rather that luck doesn’t have anything (or little) to do with it. I remember a saying in christian/catholic circles that goes something like:
    “God gives you trials that you can handle.”

    So if we get a crappy president this time around, it means we still have a lot to learn.
    And remember, participation in a democracy does not stop at the ballot box. It is a 365 days a year affair.

  11. In my view, this Presidency was made possible by two things. 1.) Those who bought into Duterte’s demagoguery. And 2.) the innumeracy of those who voted for Poe, those who didn’t paid much attention to the polls/statistics and failed to realize that Roxas was the strategic vote to bar a Duterte Presidency.

    Anyway votes from Bicol and the Visayas are trickling in and Leni is closing the gap. If Leni becomes VP then a Robredo Presidency is just a stroke/heart attack/throat cancer away.
    NO, I am not wishing it, I am just a realist, that perpetually hair-dyed(not that there’s anything wrong with that, :P) man is 71 years-old; probably couldn’t create or use an email account if his life depended on it, and men in their 70s usually die because of one those.

    And I’ll just leave this here:

    “A democratic society – an open society – places an extraordinary intellectual responsibility on ordinary men and women because we are governed by what we think. We are governed by our opinions, so the content and the quality of our opinions and the quality of the formation of our opinions is what basically determines the character of our society. And that means in a democracy – in an open society – a thoughtless citizen of a democracy is a delinquent citizen of a democracy.”
    –Leon Wieseltier

  12. Hello MM, I rarely get to voice out my personal opinions regarding the admin/LP on facebook because in the past few weeks people have been so vicious and belittling and I really don’t want to engage a discussion with these types.

    However, I do believe that you, and your readers too, i Hope- are mature enough and intelligent enough not to attack someone’s opinion only because they differ from yours.

    Many a political analyst has spoken – a “Duterte” phenomenon is bound to happen one way or another. There is simply too much dissatisfaction in the lower classes. I know that for most of us, the past few years may have been OK – even prosperous- but not everyone feels this way. The clamor for improvement in basic services (Transportation/Health/Safety and Security) is too much and Juan Dela Cruz is fed up with the same brand of politicians that LP endorses. They keep saying we have improved much but take a look around you. There are a lot of poor hardworking Filipinos who are still poor hardworking Filipinos after 6 years with Noynoy. K-12 pogram which basically says they have to wait longer to get their kids the diplomas they need to get a job and get food on the table. Let’s not even go on Yolanda teritory and the way it was handled – I can’t really say I blame the people for wanting the kind of leader that Duterte represents. Strong and with a sense for what really matters to the poor.

  13. Katrina, I agree, I completely see where the attraction and want for change comes from. I just hope that’s what we all get, rather than a slide into the dark side. We all wish for the best, but as with previous examples like Estrada that went bad, we just must remain vigilant to maintain the tenets of democracy that were so hard to restore to begin with. I wish Duterte well, but if it turns out he has had hundreds of millions in his accounts as Chief Justice Corona had as a government official, he should be subject to the same scrutiny and legal consequences, regardless of the fabulous mandate he has received. Popularity should not excuse violations of law. I think I feel the same way about extrajudicial killings, etc. So while I definitely hope he takes this phenomenal opportunity to stick it to the “establishment” and I really mean that in a good way, I am wary given the smoke signals of recent months. It would be absolutely fantastic if we see real change while remaining within our laws, and I think all readers here will agree with that.

    Many years I wrote a piece on Philippine poverty and why it was impossible to change it dramatically in say less than 20 years or so. It’s worth revisiting as it has nothing to do with personality, rather the actual situation we face as a nation. And I think it is as true today as it was when I wrote it then. It’s here.

    I had meant to write another pre-election post this year but just didn’t make the time. Perhaps I will do a post election post on things I think we should be focusing on. Because it will take a good 20-30 years of disciplined hard work in the right areas to make a real change. There is NO SILVER BULLET, no matter what anyone says regarding poverty alleviation.

  14. @Katrina

    ” There are a lot of poor hardworking Filipinos who are still poor hardworking Filipinos after 6 years with Noynoy. ”

    And I will bet you that statement applies to all the presidents we have ever had because it simply cannot be done in one term, including Duterte.

    I also predict that after three years of Duterte, dissatisfaction about traffic, poverty, flooding will rise again. Perhaps crime control would be the only area where he can bring immediate results.

    Not that Duterte won’t be able to accomplish anything- on the contrary I expect he will do a lot- but the effects of his change efforts will be felt long after his term is over. (e.g. federalism)

  15. I have been in a core group of doctors (am not a doctor. I handle logistics) for medical missions after calamities. The Lord placed me in this ministry for 5 years. This ministry has been a vehicle on how I get to set foot on the many places in the Philippines as we stay for three days, the longest. I never had an intention to stay behind and enjoy Davao or CDO for a day or two. Simultaneously, I have been exposed to street children as well as solvent/rugby boys. The groups I join in are not NGOs nor foundations. We spend on our own flights, board and lodging and pray that people will be helping us financially in order to bring more to the needy. We evangelize as we extend love and meet a day or two of their needs. I have seen poverty maybe at its worst. And I just weep for the country.

    The Philippines is not poor. It’s so blessed with rich soil. It is beautiful. A blessed land of The Lord indeed.

    I believe presidency is a destiny, authorized by God to lead the nation. Now that Mayor Duterte will be the 16th president of the Republic, let us honor the authority given by God to him to lead the Philippines. He’ll mandate rules from transportation to meeting the needs of the marginalized, impose discipline, stabilize economy, get rid of drugs and restore peace and order everywhere. Let’s do our part and start the change. A new president spells new HOPE. God bless the Philippines.

    “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

  16. The discussion in this blog, except for the one that was plagiarised, have been mostly constructive and objective. Much to be admired. So looking forward to your post-election blog, MM.

    As to Joma and his fellow travellers, who have been freeloading off the Dutch taxpayers, European NGO’s and his organization’s collections from the struggling OFW’s for decades, good riddance to him here in NL and good luck to the Philippines.

  17. O.T.

    Michelin starred restaurants of Chef Jason Atherton is opening his 1st resto in the Philippines named The Pig & Palm at MSY Tower, Cebu Business Park on June 17, 2016.

  18. Ron, thanks, I was wondering when that would finally happen. I like his tapas bar in HK 22 Ships and his cookbook. It will be interesting to see if Cebu is ready for a michelin-starred place. What an interesting name… :)

  19. Hi MM. I reread your post of April 5, 2010. Here we are, another election passed. Nothing seemed to have changed. I am just so sorry for the poor. I see this each time I go back to my hometown. I hope and pray that each one of us will help in the “change” for the betterment of our country. I do love our country and I hope there is a chance for a change if only each one will help make that happen. Now that we have a new President, let us stand behind him and not have that attitude of “bahala na na siya”. Just my 2cents worth of opinion.

  20. Jason Atherton is married to a Filipina and once cooked adobo on a BBC programme.

  21. the ordinary Juan dela Cruz who is complaining a lot about poverty is also the same ordinary Juan/Juana who is now empowered to shop whatever new gadget is available, shop the trendier fashionable clothes (online shopping has proliferated in the last 3 years), is able to travel in domestic and regional (Asian) destinations, is able to dine in newer eating joints or drink a cup of overpriced starbucks more than once a month…but during the campaign, many people were led to believe that there was a crisis – breakdown of peace and order in the society – thus people overlooked the positive changes in the recent years in the Philippines. if the change is coming from the communist/revolutionary government, now more evident that 4 cabinet posts are given to CPP/NPA people, then what can i say but good luck Philippines!
    the changes you have been looking for were there already!

  22. @Terrey

    Exactly! Here in our place(a suburb in Bulacan) for example; six 7-11 stores suddenly sprang into place in the past 2 years, 2 major malls in the past 4 years, and a Starbucks now just minutes away, whereas 15-20 years ago even Dunkin’Donuts struggled and failed to maintain a brick&mortar store. I’m only in my 30’s but even I could see the stability and progress of the past six years, compared to the decade of GMA and the short-lived fiefdoms of Erap.

    Also this relic for a President is a staunch supporter of the “War on Drugs”; as if drugs and drug cartels/gangs are the main problems of a typical Filipino, like in Honduras or El Salvador, even if the UN and several other studies/research concludes the the US-style “War on Drugs” approach doesn’t work and is actually harmful towards the citizens.

    And now the Cabinet Secretaries are revealed. 16 men : 1 token female, Justin Trudeau type of Cabinet my @$$!!

    Yey!! For male chauvinism!! And cronyism!!

    /facepalm /SMH

  23. stares at the presumptive president.
    sees shades of Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro.

  24. … With four powerful departments offered to Joma and company, and Public Works to a Villar son. DOLE to the Reds will leave entrepreneurs and management out in the cold or worse. As to the PW appointment, was the new prexy sleeping when this was happening: WINNIE MONSOD EXPLAINS C-5 ROAD EXTENSION UNNECESSARY BUT BENEFITED MANNY VILLAR

  25. Slightly off-topic (or possibly apt for this post), a new book is on pre-sale on titled, “Confessions of Congressman X”
    Here is the short teaser from the page:

    A devastating inside look at the dark side of Congress as revealed by one of its own! No wonder Congressman X wants to remain anonymous for fear of retribution. His admissions are deeply disturbing. . .
    “Most of my colleagues are dishonest career politicians who revel in the power and special-interest money that’s lavished upon them.”
    “My main job is to keep my job, to get reelected. It takes precedence over everything.”
    “Voters are incredibly ignorant and know little about our form of government and how it works.”
    “It’s far easier than you think to manipulate a nation of naive, self-absorbed sheep who crave instant gratification.”
    “Fundraising is so time consuming I seldom read any bills I vote on. Like many of my colleagues, I don’t know how the legislation will be implemented, or what it’ll cost.”
    “We spend money we don’t have and blithely mortgage the future with a wink and a nod. Screw the next generation. It’s about getting credit now, lookin’ good for the upcoming election.”

  26. Sorry, one last post. It was too funny not to share:



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