ERNESTO MACEDA: PLUNGING RATINGS

MANILA, OCTOBER 2, 2003 (MALAYA) THE six-day whirlwind trip of President Arroyo which took her to Vancouver, New York, Rome, Paris and back to Manila was truly back-breaking.

One thing sure, GMA is in good health to be able to make such a trip. The fact that nothing happened here in that span of time debunks continuing rumors that a big force is about to launch further moves to destabilize her.

It is surprising that most of those outspoken against her are former supporters and political allies.

But it is still correct that as suggested by Makati businessmen, the sooner she makes up her mind to keep her Dec. 30 promise not to run in 2004, the better it will be for the nation.

***

The latest SWS survey is more damaging to GMA than that of Pulse Asia. The SWS reports that her net approval rating plunged from +14 to +2. Worse, her trust ratings have recorded an all-time low of negative 35 percent.

A sense of hopelessness has descended on the citizenry, the military included. Certainly the reappointment of Angelo Reyes and Victor Corpus to important positions has further deepened that hopelessness.

In street language, they say "ang problema ay matigas ang ulo ni Gloria."

***

During our radio program over DWIZ Tuesday morning, Sen. Ping Lacson reiterated that if the opposition does not choose him as its presidential candidate, he will respect the decision and support the nominee.

Ambassador Danding Cojuangco has also expressed the same sentiment. In fact, he is really reluctant to run.

This augurs well for the opposition. It gives hope to all that finally it will be united and field only one candidate.

***

I disagree with House members who question US Secret Service moves to assure that President George W. Bush will be safe during his two-hour visit to the Batasan.

In fact, we should welcome them. If anything happens to the US president while in this country, if even an attempt to harm him is made, that will kill us internationally. It will be flashed all over the world that this is an unsafe country.

So it is to our interest that the US Secret Service be allowed to do and to have what they want.

***

The fact that only 300,000 or only 4 percent of overseas Filipinos registered to vote in the 2004 may be due to a myriad of causes. But the bottom line is they did not consider it worth their while to register. It can be validly surmised that overseas Filipinos have also given up and their participation in the elections will not make a difference.

At any rate, the low turnout is good for the opposition. If 2 million people had registered, it would have entailed substantial campaign expenses reaching as much as P1 billion.

***

Arnold Schwarzenegger is leading the polls by a large margin for the governorship of California.

There are 134 candidates for the position including Fil-American lawyer Monty Manibog who is a UP graduate and former Philippine Olympian in wrestling.

If Arnold wins, expect the clamor for FPJ to run to grow louder. FPJ is coming home today.

Expect opposition and administration leaders to engage in a tug-of-war to convince him to run or not to run.

At the moment, people who know FPJ very well predict he is not going to run. Abangan...

***

Kris Aquino has done the country a signal service by igniting a debate on sex and sexually transmitted diseases (STD).

This is another area where the churches have failed to convince their flock that it is sinful and damaging to one's physical, emotional and moral health to engage so freely in sex.

Well, it is doubly regrettable when we hear reports of priests themselves violating their moral codes and taking on mistresses and having kids. Can you blame the young parishioners when they don't listen to their pastor's sermons and homilies?

On the high incidence of STD. Rep. Carlos Padilla is not far off the mark when he decries that GMA is spending more for foreign trips than for basic health care.

Yes, it is pitiful that basic health problems have not been given proper attention by the Arroyo administration, especially because all available funds are being channeled to the military and the police.

***

The Supreme Court saved itself some grief when it decided to postpone to next week the decision on the Ping Lacson motion for reconsideration on its decision on the Kuratong Baleleng case.

Had it affirmed its decision last Tuesday and Ping Lacson subsequently arrested, the Supreme Court would have been blamed as a tool of Malacañang to prevent Senator Lacson from delivering Chapter 3 of his Jose Pidal exposé.

With the postponement, Senator Lacson has announced he will deliver his privilege speech on Monday or Tuesday next week, promising that it will be more explosive than the first two chapters.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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