ERNESTO MACEDA: AN ALL-TIME LOW

MANILA, September 27, 2003 (MALAYA) CITIZENS Action Against Crime reports that 10 cases of kidnapping occurred in August, double that of previous months. And to belie the PNP and AFP's claim that the bank robbers including those responsible for the Citibank heist were arrested in a Taguig raid, another bank holdup occurred the next day at a Union Bank branch in Parañaque, the 27th so far for the year.

Businessmen and civic leaders have expressed alarm. In the meantime, the CIDG and PACER are preoccupied with developing cases against opposition leaders. And now charges of ghost personnel drawing salaries and allowances in the PNP have come up once more. Bus holdups right on Edsa are still unsolved, raising continuing fears on the part of the poor commuting public.

And then you hear that a lowly fish vendor who runs to three rookie policemen is beaten up instead of assisted, then hauled to the police station where he is promptly divested of his day's earnings totaling P26,000 by no less than the station commander.

Is it any wonder that the latest Pulse Asia survey shows a big drop in President Gloria M. Arroyo's approval ratings? Malacañang reaction: Blame Sen. Panfilo Lacson.

***

It looks like the Jose Pidal controversy has also inflicted damage on Sen. Ping Lacson's credibility.

The opposition's choice of standard bearer to oppose GMA has narrowed down to Ambassador Danding Cojuangco or movie king Fernando Poe Jr., with Raul Roco as the third candidate.

Today, Sen. Ed Angara and 40 LDP executive council members are set to formalize its preference for 2004, who is expected to be Danding Cojuangco. Tomorrow, top NPC leaders will meet to hear Cojuangco's decision. Will jet pilot Danding take off or stay on the ground? Well, the long wait is over.

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Outspoken Lingayen Archbishop Oscar Cruz criticizes GMA for abusing God. Cruz said he is bothered because GMA already involved God on Dec. 30, 2002 when she announced she was not running. Cruz' views were supported by GMA's 10 percent drop in approval ratings to 41 percent in the September Pulse Asia survey, an all-time low with 80 percent saying their quality of life has not improved.

In my radio program yesterday, we had 30 listeners text their views or call us on the question of whether GMA should run or not. Not one caller said she should. Several angrily commented that even if she runs, she will be badly defeated.

***

We can only feel for President Cory Aquino and daughter Kris on the latest episode to hit Kris' romantic life.

We can only hope and pray that Kris has finally learned a lesson and will now resolve to respect her mother's views.

Barely 30, she has a long public career ahead of her. Wake up, grow up dear girl.

***

The leakage in the bar examinations once again underlines the fact that we have become a corrupt society.

The Supreme Court can not sweep this problem under the rug. It should not immediately clear the bar examiner involved, reportedly a law partner of resigned Justice Secretary Nani Perez.

Yes, the Supreme Court has also deteriorated in public perception, adding to the people's sense of hopelessness.

It's time for one or two justices to help salvage the High Court's reputation by opting for early retirement.

The tribunal has earned an image as being a tool of Malacañang to cut down opposition presidentiables.

***

Joey Rufino says that three things would make GMA change her mind and run in 2004. They are national interest, national security and duty to country.

Nice words, Joey, but I can hear one million people shouting that the same three words require that she retire and allow someone else try to solve our country's many problems.

They say that she cannot even control the First Gentleman from involving himself in governmental affairs.

***

Political tidbits: Malacañang says Senator Lacson sounds like a broken record. Senator Lacson says GMA has broken all records for corruption, including being declared the third most corrupt country in Asia and 11th worldwide.

Vatican Ambassador Francisco Alba is resigning from his post.

Secretary Blas Ople says his son Toti will try again to win in the 1st District of Bulacan against incumbent Willie Sy Alvarado. Former Rep. Pedro Pancho is seeking a comeback against incumbent Rep. Willie Villarama.

Rep. Boyie San Luis is decided to run for governor of Laguna while Sta. Cruz Mayor Dennis Panganiban will run for reelection. The seat of San Luis will be contested by Erwin Maceda and board member Vince Soriano of Pakil.

Vicky Ramos, daughter of the late Rep. Godong Ramos, is running for governor of Aklan.

Dong Puno told us he will not run for the Senate again in 2004.

Gov. Manny Piñol of North Cotabato and former Rep. Tony Dequina are joining forces against Rep. Emmy Talino Santos. Tony Dequina was a good chairman of the House Defense Committee. Hope he makes it back to the House.

Former PNB president Benjamin Palma Gil is surveying the political landscape in his home province of Davao Oriental.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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