FPJ'S CREDIBILITY AT STAKE IN TALKS ON WORLD AFFAIRS

MANILA, December 16, 2003  (BULLETIN) Hern P. Zenarosa - WE got him!” was how United States administrator in Iraq Paul Bremer described the capture of Sadam Hussein in a ground shelter in Tikrit the other day after nine months of tactical operations.

That is far removed from our own setting, of course, but in more positive context the same exclamatory relief could have been used by the Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino when Fernando Poe Jr. eventually conceded to run under its wings.

“We got him!” Tito Sotto could very well have exclaimed, not in any sense of conquest, but in triumph after months of almost frustrating effort to make FPJ make up his mind.

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Now FPJ is it as far as the KNP is concerned, unless some drastic changes happen between him and Panfilo Lacson who is contesting his nomination.

Such possibility should not be overlooked in the face of Senator Lacson’s threat to oust Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino President Edgardo Angara and Sotto for acts supposedly inimical to LDP’s interest.

Lacson, as LDP member feels he has better right than Poe who is an outsider to be the party’s standard bearer.

Another thing is that APJ (Aquilino Pimentel Jr.) whose PDP-Laban is a member of KNP, is also contesting FPJ’s nomination.

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But as of today, they have become remote possibilities.

Already, Poe had been reported to have appeared in a dialogue with the country’s farmers at the University of the Philippines on various concerns, particularly on what he called “paramount importance” of a stronger infrastructure to meet the challenges of global economic reforms.

From the report, it may be easily gleaned that FPJ, far from the widely perceived misgivings over his limited understanding of world affairs, appears well-informed.

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“By constantly listening not only to outputs of farmers and fishermen but also to their fears of what globalization may bring, government could better present the country’s officials position on free trade before member-nations of the World Trade Organization,” Poe, the presidential aspirant, declared.

He said the greatest fear is for poor farmers from developing countries such as the Philippines to become poorer because of global free trade.

Such declarations are important for a presidential candidate who has consistently refused to speak before the public and it is too bad that when he decided to discuss such issues as the World Trade Organization and its effects on the country’s economic well-being, he chose to do it in private.

I mean, had it been televised it could have been a prime time affair or at least organized before a big crowd of interested audience, it would have been big plus to FPJ’s campaign.

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Can you imagine Fernando Poe Jr. discussing for the first time the ramifications of world problems brought about by free trade and the fears they spawn on people?

He was talking about “solid foundation,” and “strong infrastructure,” of “daunting challenges,” and “global economic reforms.”

They are big words in today’s vocabulary on effective governance that I am sure would have convinced his listeners of his erudition and statesmanship, if only he had given his thoughts wider audiences.

But one caution: To be credible, FPJ should take extreme care in avoiding at all cost sounding like his close advisers who have been advocating the same reforms in government.

Or he will remain a suspect.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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