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Dec 03rd
Home Sections Philippine Presidency President Arroyo Is in a State of Denial that She Is Not Only a Lame Duck But Also She Is History
President Arroyo Is in a State of Denial that She Is Not Only a Lame Duck But Also She Is History PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - Philippine Presidency
Friday, 06 February 2009 02:31

Part IV of “Saving the Philippine President from Herself” Series


T he ill-advised trip of Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to Washington, DC, is a disaster, public-relations wise, and more. She has proven right again Max V. Soliven, then the dean of Filipino columnists, who used to say when he was alive: “We must save Gloria Arroyo from herself.” There is a bigger repercussion from this ill-fated trip to the American corridors of power. Now, everybody knows – from her generals masquerading as her Rasputins to the congressmen with canine-like devotion to her – that her "czarzuela" days are numbered. She is a lame duck. She and her husband are now like the last Russian Tsar Nicholas II and his wife the Tsaritsa Alexandra – if the hotheads in the Philippine military are to have their say.


The American President refused to give even a photo op to Mrs. Arroyo because she is already history. Coupled with her image as the most-corrupt Filipino President ever, very few world leaders would want to be photographed with her. Pretty soon, her supposed loyalists will start to jump ship because her presidency has become like the Filipino equivalent of the SS Titanic.


Now, the kin and friends of Mrs. Arroyo must help her save what is left of her reputation. For the remaining days (15 months and 21 days and counting) of her administration, Mrs. Arroyo must strive to obtain redemption for her presidency. That is, if she can survive as President up to June 30, 2010, when she is supposed to transfer power to her duly-elected successor in an orderly and legal way.


No amount of self-serving praise, ops, press releases can remove the perception that the Arroyo Dispensation does not really know what it is doing. She gambled that by attending the National Prayer Breakfast where President Barack H. Obama was the keynote speaker, she would at least be able to shake his hand and pose for pictures. President Obama actually ignored her. He did not give her the light of day, to use an oft-quoted cliché. Now as the latest press release (as reproduced below) is but a lame excuse that tries to rationalize President Arroyo trip to Washington, DC. She lobbied American senators for the Filipino World War II veterans’ bill. She has reduced the Philippine presidency to the level of a lobbyist, which is not only unbecoming of a head of state but also the height of stupidity. Lobbying American policy-and-decision makers is not one of the duties of the President of the Philippines. She could have requested several Filipino senators to meet—as may be accompanied by the Filipino ambassador to the United States—with some members of the United States Senate. Lobbying should be done in the first place by the professional lobby firm in Washington, DC, that the Arroyo Administration has hired and continues to hire.


The problem with Mrs. Arroyo is she likes to micro-manage everything. She does not know how to delegate tasks and even odd jobs. As I wrote on June 23, 2008, “The presidency is a serious business. It does not call for dancing the ‘Lambada’ at the presidential palace with visiting Hollywood stars. It does not call for flying to Mindanao to accept the surrender of a serial-killer suspect who was reported to have eaten the brains of an Italian Catholic missionary whom he allegedly murdered. It does not call for a President to act like Santa Claus and dispense millions of pesos in cash as gifts to congressional and local-government leaders even when Christmas is months away. And certainly, it looks disastrous to leave the nation’s capital to fly to the United States just as a strong storm is approaching the most-populous area of the country.” To read the complete article, please click on Editorial: President Arroyo Must Go Back Home ASAP and Attend to Pressing Problems.  


When Mrs. Arroyo arrives in Manila this Sunday morning, she must start to save her legacy, as we have suggested in these articles:


Even Presidents End Up in the Cemetery


Even Presidents Write Their Own Eulogy


What Phil Mickelson and President Arroyo Have in Common


Harry Truman: A Lesson for the Philippine Presidency

* To read the earlier parts of this series, please click on these hyperlinks:


Saving the Philippine President from Herself (Part I)


Saving the Presidency and the Philippine President from Herself (Part II)

President Arroyo Does Not Really Get It

* Here is again an official press release from the Office of the Philippine President:


QUOTE: President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo met with some senators of the United States to once again personally promote the interests of Filipino WWII veterans.

From Davos, Switzerland, where she attended the World Economic Forum and a brief stop in Milan, Italy; Saudi Arabia and Bahrain to check on the plight of Filipino workers there as well as invite investors and look for more jobs for Filipinos, the President made a side trip to the US capital city to attend the 59th National Prayer Breakfast upon the invitation of some US legislators.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Lorelei Fajardo said the President met with US Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chair Hawaii Senator Daniel Akaka to discuss the fate of the Veterans Equity Bill.

In June last year during her working visit to Washington DC, the President met with members of the US House of Representatives and urged them to pass the bill that seeks to restore the monthly pension from the US government to Filipino World War II veterans.

The US Senate in April last year voted overwhelmingly in favor of the bill.

The equity pension bill covers Filipino World War II veterans living in the US and in the Philippines. The measure would benefit 20,000 veterans, with 13,000 of them still in the Philippines.

Fajardo said the President also met with US Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Hawaii Senator Daniel Inouye.

President Arroyo is also scheduled to meet with members of the US-ASEAN Business Council tomorrow before flying back home.

Fajardo said there was no meeting between the President and US President Barack Obama as the said Washington DC event was "purely spiritual."

Both leaders attended the 59th National Prayer Breakfast meeting.

"There was no meeting. It was not on the agenda since it was a religious event," Fajardo from Washington, this morning said.

Obama left soon after his speech at the annual event because he had to rush to another engagement, Fajardo said.

Fajardo added that the President and the US President may have the chance to meet each other towards the end of the year.

The President and her party are expected back in Manila at 5 a.m., Sunday (Feb. 8), she said.

The National Prayer Breakfast is a yearly event held in Washington, D.C., on the first Thursday of February. This year, the breakfast falls on Feb. 5.

The event – which has been taking place since 1935 – actually includes meetings, luncheons, and dinners. It is designed to be a forum for political, social and business leaders of the world to assemble together and build relationships. UNQUOTE. # # #


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Last Updated on Friday, 06 February 2009 04:35

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