MANILA, NOVEMBER 26, 2003  (BULLETIN) Adrian E.. Cristobal - THERE’S a lot the Administration can challenge movie icon Fernando Poe Jr. on, but certainly “vision” is not one of them. The elder Bush didn’t give it a thought – he called it “the vision thing” – but Dubya seems to have one: To rid the world of terrorists. That’s some kind of “vision.’’

What were the visions of our past presidents? Emilio Aguinaldo fought to keep the country independent, but that was an offshoot of the visions of Rizal, Bonifacio, and Mabini. This vision extended to Jose P. Laurel, whose main mission was to keep Filipinos safe from the Imperial Japanese Army (as “directed’’ by Manuel L. Quezon). Quezon, as commonwealth president, had “social justice,’’ which carried over to Ramon Magsaysay (“those who have less in life should have more in law’’), thence to Diosdado Macapagal and his “unfinished revolution,’’ principally through land reform. Erap para sa mahirap is the vulgate of this vision.

Carlos P. Garcia had a vision in “Filipino First,’’ the economic policy that boosted Filipino nationalism, lost to Macapagal with his executive dismantling (which would have required an act of Congress) of exchange controls. This “liberalization’’ measure, deriving from Macapagal’s fervent advocacy of free enterprise (he was president of the Free Enterprise Society) antedated liberalization with, as the late Renato Constantino pointed out, disastrous results.

Deposing Ferdinand E. Marcos, Corazon C. Aquino spoke of an education in democracy for the youth of the land. But this was forgotten in the midst of coups, power outages, and other political vexations.

It was the man she deposed who had a vision in the real sense as his books on “democratic revolution’’ and “new society’’ show. Even Fr. Joaquin Bernas (I am told) studied these books seriously. It was, sad to say, a vision blurred by deeds.

Fidel V. Ramos “hit the ground running’’ as “the best is yet to come,’’ while GMA espouses the “strong republic,’’ more of a slogan for staying in power. To the “vision’’ challenge, Fernando Poe Jr. might as well respond that any political science sophomore can forge a vision for him.

It’s just rhetoric these days.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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