Thursday, September 17, 2009

Comparing Philippine Presidentiables: Teodoro, Aquino, Escudero

As predicted, the Presidential Elections in 2010 has entered into a more serious phase as major political forces align and re-align in what seems to be a more stable configuration.

After Senator Mar Roxas' declaration that he was backing out of the Presidential elections and Senator Noynoy Aquino's declaration that he will be running for President, the Liberal Party seems locked in.

Lakas-Kampi party merger seems to have solidified, despite the withdrawal of party stalwart former President Fidel V. Ramos from the merged party, and yesterday, announced that it would be fielding Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro.

This has ended talks of Lakas-Kampi fielding either Senator Manny Villar, Vice President Noli De Castro, or Senator Chiz Escudero.

Rather than look at surveys, financial girth and major political alliances as key determinants of who will win in the 2010 Elections, I'd rather focus on their track record and credentials in an effort to determine their qualifications for the Presidency.

As I've said in previous posts, I look at the Presidential elections as basically a job interview and what I am looking for is the one person who can get the job done -- rather than figure out who will win. This is because I think running the country is far more important than just running for the Presidency.

The basic job description for being the President of the Philippines is to lead a country of mostly poor people whose government is massively corrupt in a world conditioned by the latest global economic downturn, climate change, and terrorism.

Ideally, before meeting the candidates for a job interview, one should at least look at their credentials. Getting to know their track record as professional public servants is quite helpful and can show us not only their character but it can also serve as an indication of whether they can be trusted to fulfill whatever platform they put out.

I've read BenignO's posts on Platform Plez and it has gained its share of adherents, but I guess, that even from this point of view, you'd still have to look at the candidate's track record and past performance to gauge the credibility of the platform that the candidate presents.

Borrowing BenignO's plumber analogy. Even before calling in a plumber to fix my plumbing, I'd probably figure out what my plumbing problem is first to the best of my ability. Then, I'd call in several plumbers one by one and ask them what they can do about my plumbing problem.

If turns out to be just a minor job, like changing a gasket to stop a leak, I'd probably just get any plumber or fix the problem myself. But if it entails taking out and putting in a new plumbing system, then I'd probably ask for plans.

Now, anyone can come up with a plan -- even a great plan -- but at the end of the day, you'd still have to figure out if the plumber can actually execute the plan satisfactorily or execute the plan at all.

That's when you look at the plumber's background. How many of such plans have they executed satisfactorily before? Is there a way to get in touch with their previous customers and ask if they had anything to say about the job that was done for them?

Prime, as usual, picked on BenignO's post about plumbing and basically pointed out that it was an over simplification of a more complex issue.

I beg to disagree.

I think it all boils down to how critical you are about the people you hire for a job and because it IS TRUE that the job of being a President is much more crucial than the job of being PLUMBER, we ought to be EVEN MORE CRITICAL.

With that said, here's something I got from my friends at Bagumbayan - Volunteers for a New Philippines. It is a matrix that shows how the present Presidential front runners match up against each other.


Present Position


Gilbert Teodoro (GT): Defense Secretary

Noynoy Aquino (NA): Senator

Manny Villar (MV): Senator

Chiz Escudero (CE): Senator


Previous Executive positions in government held


GT: Defense Secretary, 2++ years experience

NA: NONE

MV: NONE

CE: NONE

Previous Legislative positions held


GT: Tarlac Congressman – 9 years

NA: Tarlac Congressman - 9 years

MV: Las Piñas Congressman – 9 years; Speaker of the House of Representatives (1998-2001); first post-war public official who became both Speaker of the House of Representatives & Senate President

CE: 1st District of Sorsogon Congressman (1998-2007); Assistant Majority Floor Leader in the 11th Congress and House Minority Floor Leader in the 13th Congress


Profession/work before entering government service


GT: Lawyer

NA: Administrator/Manager, Hacienda Luisita (Family business)

CE: Lawyer

MV: Real Estate. Entrepreneur, businessman.


Business interests


GT: Danding Cojuangco’s businesses. He is a relative of Danding, being the son Mercedes Cojuangco and former SSS Administrator Gilberto, Sr.

NA: Hacienda Luisita and other buriness interests of the Cojuanco clan. Made a statement saying that his family (Cojuanco Aquino) would get out of Hacienda Luisita.

MV: Owns the largest development firms in the Southeast Asian region, the Camella & Palmera Homes. Vista Land, Crown Asia, Brittany Corp.

CE: Needs research.


Where was he in 1971?


GT: Grade school – Xavier School

NA: Elementary student

MV: Auditor – Sycip, Gorres and Velayo

CE: Was not even in kinder, he was 2 years old.


Domestic Awards


GT: Leadership & Seminar Academic Excellence Awardee, Philippine Air force, 2001
- Various Military Awards

NA: Needs research. So far, none known.

MV: TOYM Awardee, 1986; Agora Award for Marketing Mngt 1989; Most Outstanding CPA by the Institute of Certified Public Accountants,1990; Most Outstanding UP Alumnus,1991; UP Most Distinguished Alumnus, 1994

CE: TOYM Awardee in 2005; 2008 Anak TV Seal's Ten Most Admired TV Personalities; Gawad Papuri Awardee, April 2002


Previous positions held/profession
(Private sector)


GT: Lawyer

NA: From 1986 to 1993, vice president and treasurer for Best Security Agency Corporation, a firm owned by his uncle Anolin Oreta; Worked for the Central Azucarera de Tarlac in 1993, the sugar refinery owned by the Cojuangco clan; Executive assistant for administration, before becoming field services manager in 1996

MV: Businessman

CE: Lawyer


Number of years in an executive position (government)


GT: 2 years
NA: 0
MV: 0
CE: 0


Leadership- student days; activities during younger days


GT: President of the Kabataang Barangay in Tarlac from 1980 to 1985 and the KB Federation of Central Luzon.

NA: None

MV: None

CE: Student debater; Secretary General of the Association of Law Students of the Philippines from 1992–1993

Other activities; Involvements


GT: Licensed pilot; Lecturer – National Defense College; Reserve Colonel, Philippine Air Force; Chairman; Philippine National Police Foundation, Inc.

NA: Vice Chairman Liberal Party of the Philippines (March 17, 2006 to present); Secretary General Liberal Party of the Philippines(2004 to March 16, 2006); Vice-Pres. for Luzon Liberal Party of the Philippines (2002-2004); Secretary General Liberal Party of the Philippines(1999-2002)and Chairman of the Board Central Luzon

MV: Billiards promoter, Manny Villar Cup; Sipag at Tiyaga Caravan Kaalaman, a livelihood training program; The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism calls him “the dean of the (Philippine) real estate industry.”

CE: Commander of the Philippine Navy Reserve Command

After reviewing their credentials, I'd probably ask about their experience in lifting people out of poverty.

GT: Last night on ANC, confessed he didn't know anything about the condition of the urban poor/urban fishermen who voiced support for him.

NA: Need to review his record as administrator of Hacienda Luisita and Congressman of Tarlac to see if he had helped either Hacienda Luisita farmers or his constituents.

MV: Only recently, news of his entrepreneurial training program is circulating.

CE: According to a blog post by Harvey Keh, most of his former constituents in Sorsogon remain poor.

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