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Jan 27th
Home Columns JGL Eye At 72, Erap Still Has “Asim” (Appeal)
At 72, Erap Still Has “Asim” (Appeal) PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - JGL Eye
Written by Joseph G. Lariosa   
Wednesday, 08 April 2009 05:04







Dateline CHICAGO, Illinois (JGLi), April 8, 2009



W hen my friend, Joseph Estrada will celebrate his 72nd birthday on April 19, his friends and associates will likely egg him on to take an encore for the presidency.


 I know he can still pull a victory out of his magic hat.  But it is going to be a very costly one – a pyrrhic victory, so to speak.



If Mr. Estrada will ask me if he should run, I will tell him to count a hundred and one times before taking the plunge.



His bid for presidency will be a hard sell, despite the observation by my friend, Bueno Silva, a Chicago-based artist, who saw him at the birthday party of former Secretary and Sen. Francisco “Kit” Tatad in the Philippines late last year.



Mr. Bueno said, “May asim pa si Erap,” (Erap still has still some “sourness” in him). It is an oblique reference to an “Eraphorism” that means that Erap still has a charismatic appeal to the masses. Bueno said people were swarming all over Erap like a rock star.



When Erap (Estrada’s popular nickname) was President, he was quoted as saying that former Miss International Gemma Cruz Araneta “ay may asim pa,” a Tagalog slang to mean Ms. Araneta, who became his Tourism Secretary, has still a sex appeal.






T his scuttlebutt kept religious conservatives cringing after learning that the expression was attributed to the highest public official of the land.



The problem with Erap is that if he says something that can be subject to misinterpretations, he does not tell people that it is “off-the-record.”



He never realized it that when he became Philippine President, his slightest indiscretion was magnified.



When he talked as President, Filipinos hanged to every word he said. His word is accepted as gospel truth, not coming from some movie scripts.



And he does not realize it either that his word travels like a ballistic missile that reaches the farthest corners of the earth. Thanks to the “Internauts,” who access the Internet.



And coming up with a denial after a faux pas sometimes could no longer mitigate the situation.



Running for president to vindicate and rehabilitate his good name maybe Erap’s main motivation. But when he goes into a nationwide campaign, his campaign will be placed in an unenviable defensive position from the very start. He will be like a boxer coming into the ring fighting an opponent with his one hand tied behind his back.






H ow can Erap project his plans to fight poverty when all he will be saying on the campaign trail is to defend himself from the Plunder conviction and the upcoming Dacer-Corbito double murder case whose trial could be acting in concert with the campaign season?Merely saying that his Plunder conviction and the double murder are “politically motivated” might be flimsy.



And merely saying that he could not have ordered the murder of Salvador “Bubby” Dacer because Mr. Dacer is his compadre (close friend or associate) will not stick because the Bible has documented the first murder case – involving brothers (Cain killing Abel). If brothers kill each other, how much more the compadres?And brothers’ blood is supposed to be thicker than compadres’.



Mr. Estrada can one up on Ferdinand Marcos if he can say that “because the murders of Mr. Dacer and his driver, Emmanuel Corbito, happened under my watch, as Commander-in-Chief, I take full responsibility of the murders under the principle of command responsibility.



“I encourage the families of Dacer and Corbito to file murder cases against the killers of these heinous crimes and let justice be done though Heavens fall.”



Marcos never took responsibility over the assassination of Sen. Benigno Aquino, Jr. although his military was negligent in protecting Mr. Aquino.






A fter all, according to President Harry Truman, the “buck stop with (here) me.”



Even his former Philippine National Police Chief now Sen. Panfilo Lacson subscribes to this “command-responsibility” principle when Mr. Lacson was quoted last October by a Philippine newspaper as saying that, “Philippine National Police Chief Director General Jesus Verzosa cannot escape responsibility” after the order of the filing of charges against some officials for the P6.93-million "euro generals" mess.



Senator Lacson added, “Verzosa should bear responsibility for everything that happens in the police force, regardless of whether he knows about it or not.”



If Erap takes a similar tact by Senator Lacson, I think, Filipino voters might listen when they start their 2010 presidential campaigns.



On the other hand, if Erap foregoes his second crack at the presidency because of old age, he can always be a kingmaker. It is said that a President ages in dog years (one dog year equals seven years of a human life?).



I just hope he will support a more articulate, more accountable, honest, pragmatic and better qualified presidential candidate, who is willing to hold a weekly press conference, like President Fidel Ramos or President Barack Obama, which is a sign of a transparent presidency.



Happy Birthday, Mr. President! ( # # #



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Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 April 2013 14:59

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