(Part 2 of a series)
“Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.”
– Fire and Ice by Robert Frost
Elections, in a sense, are like tests of fire and ice. Sometimes, it’s hot, sometimes, it’s cold. It’s like a kiss – when it’s hot, you know you’re registering; when it’s cold, you are traveling on a road to failure. A good politician knows when he is igniting fires in his audience and he also knows when the reception is as cold as ice.
In the olden days of Rome, they have this saying – “When Cicero spoke, everyone listened but when Demosthenes spoke, everyone marched.” This is also true in the Philippines of old and of the present as shown by several examples. One of such examples happened when the acknowledged bright intellectual, Senator Claro Mayo Recto of Batangas and Quezon ran for President of the Philippines – everyone listened but nobody marched, so someone else got elected President.
It is not enough for people to listen to a candidate; he must make people march. This is true of elections as it is of revolutions.
Attention getting: As some people have observed, the 2022 presidential elections may become a battle of mayors. Of course, they are talking of Mayor Sara Duterte of Davao City and Mayor Isko Moreno of the City of Manila. If it happens and it is possible, though not probable, that would be an interesting battle to watch – a seasoned lawyer lady mayor and an equally seasoned movie star mayor with a stint at the John F Kennedy School of Good Government at Harvard University in Boston Massachusetts, USA.
Observations: I learned from the Mayor Isko Moreno media machine some interesting bullet points – he comes from humble beginnings, struggled through the school of hard knocks, became a lawyer, did a stint at Harvard University in America, became a movie star as a passport to becoming councilor, vice-mayor and finally Mayor of the City Manila.
That is quite an impressive resume for a relatively young politician. If he handles himself right, this may just become his passport to the presidency considering the kind of voters we have in this country today.
Moreno is a giant killer. He defeated two political giants in the City of Manila in the 2016 election – former Manila City Mayors Joseph Estrada who was also a former President and Alfredo Lim who were both colorful Manila mayors. He must have an effective formula of how to do it. Logically, if that campaign formula is successful in Manila, it could also be used on a national level. But it remains to be seen whether the micro formula could work on a macro level – the micro being the City of Manila and the macro the whole Philippines.
He is also an effective communicator. He is fond of cracking jokes. He reminds me of President Duterte – all knowing, very presumptuous with a touch of pretentious humility and a bravado which is grating to an intelligent ear.
Questions: Under what party will Moreno run? The established political parties have their rumored candidates for the presidency. Some of them have even candidates for the Senate. This will be Moreno’s first problem.
His second question is the source of his funds, enough to finance a successful national campaign – since he claims to be of humble origin. Whose funds will he use in mounting a national political campaign? The last time a high official in government ran for President under the banner of possibly the best national party with a brilliant historical record, he was rumored to have spent his own money of TWELVE BILLION PESOS – and lost the election! So, again, the question comes back with a great degree of urgency and intensity begging for answers – where will he get the money, from the Binondo Central Bank?
The third question is – does he have a high caliber campaign group? His Manila team, despite its success in the 2016 election, may not be capable of mounting an effective national campaign.
The next question is – can he put together the best and brightest senatorial candidates and prospective members of the Cabinet. At this point in time, the groups that hope to field presidential candidates have come out with lackluster lists of senatorial candidates. If Moreno wants to be a viable presidential candidate with reliable hopes for victory, he has to do better than these groups
Finally, the inevitable questions for Moreno which are applicable to the other presidential candidates are the following – vision of the country with plans that give specific details of the programs and projects to realize the vision, view of the demanding problems of the country and their solutions and specific detailed methods of solving them, the individuals and institutions responsible to implement the solutions and the time-line to achieve the defined objectives.
Without these, it is the same banana over and over again –promises, blatant lies, words and more words, pretense and the problems appearing insoluble with the continuing criminalities and the animal existence of our people.
Brief analysis: By all standards, Moreno is good looking – easy on the eyes, making women giggle at his looks and sometimes libidinous remarks. It is well appreciated by the masses and even by his relatively intelligent audience – shades of Rodrigo Roa Duterte. But isn’t this Duterte element reaching the tipping point – the law of satiety which means enough is enough? I really don’t know and I hesitate to speculate.
I have lived in Metro Manila a good part of my adult life but I’ve not seen dramatic changes since the golden days of Mayor Arsenio Lacson. Like many movie personalities, Mayor Moreno looks like a publicity hound. He loves the click of the cameras and the glare of TV camera lights. I don’t blame him because of his good looks. But I have not heard of his vision in Manila. Tondo is still Tondo. Many of the poor in Manila still live in miserable huts and stinking surrounding and even under bridges and at the edge of esteros. I have not seen any vision of Moreno in this regard. There are no high rise buildings for the poor and downtrodden, among others..
On the whole, Moreno has more television than vision.
Options: Moreno today is almost like Rodrigo Roa Duterte of more than five years ago. He is either a poor or better imitation of President Duterte. In words, style and promises, they are alike. Duterte was unfit to be President when he ran for the presidency in 2016 – he still unfit up to this day because he never learns. Mayor Moreno today is on the same boat as Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte when Duterte ran for President in 2016.
Moreno is trying to do a Duterte – I may run, I may not run. But the odds are not with him. He should either run for re-election for Mayor or for Vice-President and do some learning and maturing in the process. He is young and he should not be in a hurry.