Saturday, May 16, 2015

An Open Letter to Grace Poe

I was one of those who risked their lives for your father eleven years ago. I have a family, mam, but I went out of my house to go to Welcome Rotunda and protest about the fraud committed by Arroyo's men against your father. Tita Midz, and several other people were with me in that truck flatbed when we were hosed down by dirty water infront of Burger King at that historic Quezon avenue. I thought then that cops were out to arrest us, but fortunately, we were released. I went back to Burger King to continue the fight with your father who walked from the Sto. Domingo church all the way where we were.

Afterwards, we were silently surveilled and I was nearly killed had I not received info about the plan to abduct me. I went on self-imposed "exile" in Singapore, and suffered for six more years under Arroyo, the person who I also risked my life during EDSA dos.

Thousands of us, well-meaning people, risked our lives fighting an immoral and evil regime, and frankly mam, I did not see your face there. You were probably living it out in the States. When your dad died, I was already in Singapore but I cried for your father. He was a good man, and his heart for the poor is there and his concern for us, the poor, was genuine. For him, it was also a struggle against a tyrannical and despotic regime.

When you won last 2013, I was one of those who said that this is pretty good, an attestation that what we fought for was true, real and we were right. Those who voted for you was overwhelming and it became like that because every single Filipino thought that they owe it to your father and show you how immense their love is to him.

Those 18 million votes were people who want their voices to be heard crystal clear--that they have voted for your father but their voices were disfranchised by ruthless and selfish Powers who want nothing more than control the vast resources of this country for themselves.

We were fighting for a better society, something which we thought back then was realisable under an FPJ administration. For many of us, "Bagong Umaga" is not just a slogan, but a mantra.

Now, here you are, being asked by several politicians to run for the highest post of the land. Good. It's your right to dream big, but had you had the time to ponder and think why or what are your reasons for even considering running for higher office?

Do you think that these two years which you served at the Senate are more than enough to prepare you for bigger tasks ahead?

In your statements, you are always referring to your father. Do you really understand what he fought for? What is your take about Bagong Umaga? Or you think that Bagong Umaga is as useless as an empty slogan like "Tuwid na Daan"?

A year ago, you said that you are not running. Now, you're singing a new tune. What made you change your mind?

Is it because of riches, or more popularity? Is it the allure of being greeted "Her Excellency"? Or you want to feel like royalty?

Who told you that you're ripe for the post, even the Vice presidency? Are you saying that these two years as senator and about a year as a petty government official qualifies you to be our president for six years?

Is it because people think you're clean, that is the best qualification for the Chief Executive post? What other posts did you even handled or managed in your life?

Some say the presidency is destiny. That's crap.

I've seen close-hand how hard and tough government bureaucratic work is. I've seen my friends now occupying high positions agonise every single day, just signing voluminous documents inside their offices and the day is never complete for them to fulfil all their obligations. Fact is, a day is very short to really do everything that they have sworn to do for us, ordinary citizens.

Do you really think you are destined to become our president?

If you really believe this, then, I have to change my mind and be convinced that really, the presidency is more of a national pastime, similar to a barangay beauty contest where the winner is judged based on the volume of contributions or votes she gets from the throng.

That the presidency is something of a popularity contest which a person wins just by being popular or acting like a saint infront of the public.

Admit it---the reason why you are now posturing as a presidential candidate is the fact that several big businessmen talked with you and convinced you that you are the counterforce against Vice president Jejomar Binay. Some of these businessmen fear a Binay presidency because this former lawyer has his own beliefs, his own principles, and he is entirely prepared for it, being a local chief executive for decades, and these businessmen cannot have their own way with Binay.

These people just see you as their beautiful pawn, Ms Senator Grace Poe, because if they are really genuinely honest of electing a good president, then, they will not even talk with you because they know that you really lack the qualifications of a good president.

Is the presidency really only for kind people? Even Cory Aquino, a mere housewife who became our president was more qualified than you. For years, Aquino got her chaps licked during those years she fought side by side with peoples against the Marcos dictatorial regime. Aquino earned her badges when she took part in those rallies and gave a piece of her mind during those strategy meetings with political heavyweights.

Even Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo got her spurs first as a bureaucrat, then a legislator and as second highest executive before she got herself promoted in an extraconstitutional manner. It took Arroyo years before she became the second female president. Now, it's three years in your case, if you win come 2016.

Ms. Poe, don't blame me for doubting your capabilities. It is but natural for someone like me to doubt. Are you actually telling me that the only and best qualification as President is one's character? Why not elect a nun?

For those people whom you rub elbows with, scions of traditional families and big businessmen, they want you because they don't want an individual with a strong belief in change to don the Chief Executive suit. They don't want a person who will not give them favours. They want someone like you, a very kind and honest person, to get the presidency because they always favour supporting someone whom they can just run rings around or convince of their intentions and without any skill of judging motivations.

What the people need come 2016 is somebody who can deftly steer the country towards a more improved economy and a cleaner bureaucracy. Do you really think you have the wherewithal of fulfilling what the people want and aspire for?

Ms. Senator Poe, you will be doing the country a great disservice if you run and win primarily because you are not yet ready for the heavier tasks that such a position entails.

Can you stand toe-to-toe with China and tell these hawks over at the Chinese Communist Party to fuck off and respect our sovereign rights over those clusters of islands? Do you have the courage to tell those armed Muslim Filipinos who were disfranchised by centuries that they have the chance to grow under a Bangsamoro administration?

How about the United States? Are you prepared to burn the midnight oil studying all those reports and documents about RP-US bilateral relations or you would just leave these to the care of your "legal experts"?

Ms. Senator, we the People, cannot afford to elect another president like Pnoy, whose only claim to that post is he's a supporter of his mother's policies.

For once, be true. Be honest. Be frank. Give us what we deserve come 2016. We deserve someone better, someone experienced, someone who knows how the system works and recognises the dynamics of politics.

Be not a pawn to these forces trying to lure you into jumping unto something as serious as the presidency. Doing so will smear the good legacy your father (if you really believe in what he fought for) left for us.


Patricio Mangubat