BIZ COLUMN:  THE  COUNTRY'S  ONLY  OPTION

MANILA, MARCH 4, 2008
(STAR) TAKIN’ CARE OF BUSINESS By Babe Romualdez - As voices get louder and louder, with people demanding for the truth, the options for President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo are one of two, especially with her credibility at an all-time low as reflected in the latest Pulse Asia survey that 76 percent find her untrustworthy. First, she has to lift Executive Order 464 and allow her Cabinet officials, most especially Romulo Neri, to show that the administration has nothing to hide and that she really wants the truth to come out. Her minions also have to be more credible than spinning a yarn that they gave P500,000 to Jun Lozada “out of pity,” since this is a ridiculous kind of story that people will simply not buy.

It’s now a matter of convincing the people – majority of whom do not agree with forcing GMA out of Malacañang at this point – that she is intent on curbing corruption, especially since the ZTE-NBN deal did not push through and money didn’t change hands. But all these can only be proven by launching an honest-to-goodness investigation that people will believe.

On the other hand, heads must roll, and the axe must fall on those who are guilty. Unfortunately for him, First Gentleman Mike Arroyo has to be as low key as possible for the next two years. Mike is like a lightning rod that seems to attract what the Chinese call “bad chi,” and perhaps it would do him good to stay out of sight to help diffuse the situation.

Justice dictates that the clamor for truth must be satisfied by first proving a person to be guilty beyond reasonable doubt. But a lot of people are beyond reason and have closed their minds – obsessed with only one thing: ousting GMA. There are those who are clamoring for GMA’s resignation because they have a personal axe to grind. Maybe for some reason or another they were not appointed to a position, they lost out on a deal or they were eased out of a government position or something. Whatever the case may be, a lot of these people are not motivated by pure love of country or patriotism. It’s all personal.

Unless of course another major scandal is uncovered, GMA will most likely survive this onslaught if the truth is acceptable to many, because there are still a lot who don’t believe that resignation is the answer – as pointed out by some businessmen who are convinced the economy is doing well as it is right now, and if a process is done to find out the truth which will be believable and acceptable to many.

However, if those voices get louder and her credibility continues to fall, then there is only one choice left for both the country and GMA – and that is to turn over the reins of government to Noli de Castro – the duly constituted successor.

The United States will not recognize anyone who assumes the presidency through a military takeover or any other unconstitutional accession. If anything, EDSA II has taught them that unless they see a written piece of paper clearly saying GMA has resigned, they will not consider any successor as legitimate. And we all know that whatever the US does, most other countries will follow. Diplomats from major countries have already indicated that just like the United States, their governments will not recognize anyone who takes over unconstitutionally.

Even a snap election would not be an acceptable option unless there is a vacancy with both the president and the vice president resigning. But why should Noli de Castro resign when he said he is “ready”?

Whatever the case may be, people have no choice but to accept Noli de Castro and realize that he would be staying in Malacañang for the next eight years. He is a sure winner in the 2010 presidential elections not only because he is popular and has a following with the masa, but he will obviously have the power of the incumbent.

As everyone knows, Noli de Castro owes his fame and glory to ABS-CBN, in particular Gabby Lopez who nurtured his career when he started as a radio broadcaster many years ago. I’m sure Noli will turn to Gabby for advice, and as one of the country’s top businessmen as well as being a media mogul, he will be a good adviser. I have no doubt Gabby’s influence will make Noli a good president.

And so, at the end of the day, the country’s only option outside of believing the truth is Noli de Castro – and that is the truth.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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