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Oct 30th
Home Sections Philippine Presidency Even Presidents Write Their Own Eulogy
Even Presidents Write Their Own Eulogy PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - Philippine Presidency
Saturday, 12 May 2007 12:48

T he death today of former President Nelson Mandela of South Africa makes more sense the message expressed in this article. The whole world is grieving over the demise of Mr. Mandela. Incumbent Presidents must remember that a record of corruption taints forever the legacy of any Head of State. Our staff and columnists mourn with the people of South Africa and the whole world the passing of a great statesman, who has never been accused of being a corrupt President. Indeed, what a fine and outstanding eulogy for the ages did President Mandela "write" for himself (and his people and the world). -- As updated on Dec. 5, 2013.

Presidents are no different from ordinary mortals. Actually people "write" their own eulogy while they are still alive. A eulogy consists of praises for, or glorification of, the acts of the deceased. Acts that friends or constituents can remember fondly. The dead can leave behind a lasting legacy that heirs can be proud of because they are worth remembering. Or they can leave behind a reputation that their kin are ashamed of and which people even mock.

Mrs. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo had the opportunity to "write" the best eulogy for herself. She had a momentous opportunity that could have lionized her presidency. When President Arroyo announced in December 2002 that she would not seek a fresh term, it gave her a chance to make history. She could have used wisely the remaining months of her tenure. She could have used the powers and prestige of the presidency in making sure that the May 10, 2004, elections were the first to be held without scandal. The 2004 elections were just a re-run of the usual electoral contests in the country where the proverbial gold, guns, goons and cheating prevailed. Mrs. Arroyo decided to reject the historic opportunity. She chose not to be remembered in history as the President who revived the integrity and prestige of Philippine suffrage.

When Sen. Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr., was making a run for the presidency, I became a member of his core group. I was made his spokesman to the Overseas Filipinos. I had several one-on-one sessions with Senator Pimentel. One of the first things that I recommended if he was elected President was to create a "Presidential Library" committee. Because I said the many blunders, "sins" or omissions of the previous Presidents could be attributed to their failure to ask themselves: "What would Philippine history record of this particular decision?" I told Senator Pimentel that I intended to remind him the lessons of Philippine and world history if asked to write a presidential speech or work on a policy -- if he became the President. And make the presidential decision based not only on sound values but also with the idea of "making history." Senator Pimentel, who is also a student of serious history, agreed with me. He assured me that he would leave a lasting and positive legacy as President. Yes, Mr. Pimentel would have been a different President. Because a President Pimentel would have been writing (sic) his eulogy every time that he would have issued a presidential order, decree or policy.

Persons who are aspiring for the presidency of any country must have the historical perspectives of the Office. Because the presidency is serious business.

Perhaps the public-relations handlers of the Philippine President may like to tell the people of her sense of historical values and perspectives. The handlers should be telling the President she is already writing her own destiny. Or at least they are giving the journalists materials for the newspapers' morgue. (It is the place where the Fourth Estate files materials for the coming obituaries of national leaders, the famous and the infamous). # # #

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Last Updated on Thursday, 05 December 2013 19:24

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