MANILA, FEBRUARY 5, 2010 (STAR) BULL MARKET, BULL SHEET By Wilson Lee Flores - 'If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. — John Quincy Adams'

'The art of leadership is saying no, not yes. It is very easy to say yes. — Tony Blair'

'The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it. — Theodore Roosevelt'

'A leader is a dealer in hope. — Napoleon Bonaparte'

At a recent dinner with an American diplomat at New World Hotel Makati’s Jasmine Chinese restaurant, he asked me to comment on the various presidential and vice presidential candidates. Diplomats from other embassies have also asked our opinions about who will be the best leader.

At another dinner hosted by the Anvil Business Club at Crowne Plaza Hotel, Mandarin-speaking British Ambassador James R. Lilley asked me and other Anvil officers how we assessed Senator Manny Villar, whom he was meeting the next day. He also asked about the other presidentiables, whom he had all met before.

Lilley urged the young ethnic Chinese entrepreneurs of Anvil to visit China’s World Expo in Shanghai from May to November, which he said is “going to be fabulous and has double the budget of the Beijing Olympics.” He said the British Pavilion is 6,000 square meters in size and that the world and the Philippines “should positively engage” China, benefiting from its inexorable resurgence as an economic superpower. He said the Philippines and the world should see the rise of China “as a great opportunity.”

Incidentally, at the Anvil dinner, industrialist Ricardo Leong and wife, Dr. Rosita Lim-Leong (the in-laws of Lance Y. Gokongwei), asked me to invite Philippine STAR readers to attend the Feb. 3 to 9 “Spring Film Festival” of world-class Chinese films from China and Taiwan at the Shangri-La Plaza Mall, which is being held by Ateneo de Manila University’s Ricardo Leong Center for Chinese Studies and Celadon. Tickets are discounted at only P100 each.

Celadon is the multi-awarded students’ organization that this writer founded at the Ateneo, and one of its first members is now Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap, who on Jan. 28 returned to campus to deliver a speech before Celadon officers and members.

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First of all, this writer told the various foreign diplomats who asked our opinion that the May elections will surely usher in a period of greater political stability and robust economic growth for the Philippines, because most of the election bets are qualified to lead. There should be no election chaos and large-scale cheating similar to the “Hello Garci” polls in 2004.

In an attempt to encourage foreigners to view the future of the Philippine economy in a better light, here are the things I said based on the sequence of political candidates he queried me about:

• Loren Legarda — This woman leader is a perfectionist and very driven, coming from a humble, middle-class family background. She was a valedictorian at Assumption and a cum laude graduate of the University of the Philippines (UP). I believe that if she wins, she will surely continue her solid, performance-oriented track record in public service. She would champion the causes of women, children, the environment, economic development and peace. She is a natural leader.

• Mar Roxas — This former investment banker studied at the Ateneo and Wharton. His grandfather was a former president and his father was a senator, so he wants to strengthen political democracy, encourage more economic development, and pledges to fight political corruption. He is known for championing the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry and exports. His leadership would try to uphold the good name of his father and grandfather.

• Richard Gordon — One of the most brilliant and eloquent politicians in the Philippines today, his strong leadership spurred the former success story of Subic after the US military bases left. He is a history graduate from the Ateneo and studied law at UP. He would be a good leader. One of the innovative ideas Gordon reportedly promised on TV is giving all students an Amazon Kindle each (or the new Apple iPad) at subsidized costs in order to encourage the national habit of reading.

• Noynoy Aquino — Son of political martyr Ninoy and President Cory Aquino, who helped restore democracy, he is the antithesis of the corruption-tainted presidency of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. He is expected to jail corrupt VIP politicos and uphold social justice. A graduate of the Ateneo and a devout Catholic, I’m very impressed that he has the guts to champion the Reproductive Health Bill to help the poor masses avail themselves of family planning (not abortion).

• Manny Villar — The only presidential candidate who studied accounting and has an MBA degree from UP, he is a very smart “rags-to-riches” tycoon with proven management expertise. I’m very impressed with the way he has efficiently managed his campaigns and concern for the poor, OFWs and the oppressed. He is a visionary, a doer, a decisive leader with a proven track record of helping the poor, oppressed OFWs, etc. His leadership will usher in faster economic growth.

• Gibo Teodoro — Intellectually sharp, eloquent and efficient in his leadership of the once extremely corrupt Department of National Defense, this UP and Harvard law graduate and bar topnotcher is also the youngest presidentiable. He has a huge following among students and is qualified to be president. If he wins and fulfills his Charter-Change agenda, I hope he will push for reforming various archaic and impractical economic provisions in the 1986 Constitution.

• Bayani Fernando — Like his running mate, the talented Flash Gordon, BF may not be as popular but he is also a doer. He is the only engineer running for high public office, and I can’t forget what Ateneo de Manila University president and mathematician Fr. Bienvenido Nebres, SJ told me: “All the outstanding leaders behind the economic success of China — from Hu Jintao, Wen Jiabao to Jiang Zemin and Zhu Rongji, etc. — are engineers.”

• Erap Estrada — Even if former President Joseph Estrada is disdained by the elite and by educated people (including this writer), as a born-again presidential candidate — and I would bet a thousand pizzas that he won’t win in May — he would still definitely be a better and most likely less controversial leader after his traumatic 2001 fall from power.

I believe that as long as we have generally peaceful, civilized and credible national elections in May this year, the eventual and ultimate winner will be a better, more dynamic and progressive Philippine economy!


Wilson Lee Flores (STAR PHOTO AT LEFT) is a multi-awarded writer, editor and journalist, a college professor, a real estate entrepreneur and also two-term former president and now 3-term chairman of the Anvil Business Club, a young Chinese Filipino business organization. He was re-elected third-term chairman of Anvil Business Club on February 28, 2009.

He has won a record 9 times in the prestigious Catholic Mass Media Awards (CMMA) of the Philippines for his "Philippine Star" newspaper columns and also won three times in the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature, among numerous other honors.

On October 29, 2008, the Catholic Mass Media Awards conferred on him its CMMA Hall of Fame Award for "Best Business Column" and "Best Entertainment Column" with Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno and Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales as Guests of Honor in the ceremony.

Wilson Lee Flores is also Editor-in-Chief of "S magazine", the glossy entertainment monthly of the Mega Publishing Group, since the October 2008 issue.

Wilson Lee Flores (Simplified Chinese: 李天荣 Traditional Chinese 李天榮) was born to a wealthy ethnic Chinese family in the Philippines, but lost his privileged life when his father died before he was seven. He spent his childhood in Tondo, Manila where his late father prominent lumber businessman Lee Tek Hong 李德風operated a sawmill before his death. His father had also lost a bitter legal battle for control of various family businesses before his death. His father used to manage the family's various sawmills such as Alaska Lumber Co., Uno Lumber Co., New Uno Lumber Co., General Sawmill, Lee Tay & Lee Chay, Inc. and others. (SOURCE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilson_Lee_Flores)

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