BIZ COMMENTARY: P-NOY JUST DOESN'T GET IT!


MANILA, FEBRUARY 2, 2011 
(STAR) DEMAND AND SUPPLY By Boo Chanco - So now it is media’s fault for being so negative.

Why do I get the feeling that P-Noy is starting to sound like the male version of Ate Glue these past few weeks? This wasn’t what we had in mind when we voted for him.

Was the reporter who asked about the travel advisories after the EDSA bus bombing being negative?

In P-Noy’s mind, that reporter was. P-Noy complained the advisories were about terrorism at the mall not at a bus. As P-Noy puts it, iba naman ang mall sa bus.

Naku naman, Mr. President… terrorism is terrorism. For something as general as travel advisories, it doesn’t matter specifically where! If the advisories mentioned “mall” it is likely just to provide an example of crowded places that are vulnerable.

The truth is, we are and have been for quite a while, vulnerable to terrorist attacks with those unresolved issues in the south. It was a mistake for P-Noy to have made quite a fuss during the Apes conference with other heads of state. Nagkamali siya… okay lang… move on. He doesn’t have to be ridiculously defensive to the point that he is starting to sound like he has less brain capacity than we desperately want to believe he has.

Was media being too negative about the Porsche or the Lexus? I don’t think so. Media comments simply indicate that people are taking P-Noy at his own words. He did set very high standards during the campaign… for transparency, for instance.

Unfortunately, on the Porsche and the Lexus, P-Noy had been less than transparent. Bobi Tiglao of the Inquirer requested for the documents pertaining to the Porsche, deed of sale and registration but P-Noy refused to release the documents.

If P-Noy lived up to the hype he created about his being totally transparent, he would have found no difficulty in releasing the documents and thus ending all the speculations about the real cost of the Porsche and if he really fully paid for it with his own money.

Manong Ernie Maceda who writes in the op/ed section of this newspaper was the first to raise questions. Subsequently, those who know about cars corroborated the doubts that the Porsche only costs P4.5 million and that P-Noy was able to sell his old BMW X-5 for the same amount. Porsche is the kind of car that is able to keep its value while BMWs drastically lose value the moment you drive it out of the showroom.

So, if the Porsche costs more than P4.5 million and the X-5 sold for less than P4.5 million, how was the gap bridged? Did someone lend him the money? Or did someone arrange to have him get the Porsche anyway by taking care of the difference? Releasing the documents would erase all doubts.

The major concern here is that if someone did the President a favor, that someone would be in a position to exact a favor in return. That is the same concern with the Lexus. No one is questioning the President’s need for a good armored vehicle for his safety. We all want him to be alive and lead this nation. But P-Noy should let us know who lent him that Lexus. If it is a brother-in-law, which one? If it is a campaign supporter, who?

In fact, it would have been better if the government paid for the lease of the car. That’s the price this nation should be able to afford for our President’s safety. But it is wrong for him to get a favor from a brother-in-law or a campaign supporter because that makes him vulnerable to a return favor.

Unfortunately, Secretary Sonny Coloma was not very forceful when he let on the information that the lease for the Lexus will be paid by the government. Even if he said yes in response to a reporter’s question, it seemed like an after thought on Sonny’s part.

In fact if that is true, P-Noy himself should have offered that fact when he talked about the Lexus with media. What P-Noy said was that the Lexus will not cost the government a cent. As usual, the Palace can’t seem to get its story straight.

I don’t know if I have explained the situation clearly enough for the President to understand. If not, here is how an old schoolmate, Dennis Garcia of Hotdog fame, explained it in his blog:

I just don’t understand it.

While enjoying a high and unparalleled trust rating, why does PNoy have to be less than forthright with us?

Like this unending luxury car brouhaha.

First chapter… he was all over the place explaining his purchase of a 3rd hand Porsche.

Even worse is his series of explanations on the Lexus hybrid that he has started to use.

First, he said it was leased by his bro-in-law for his safety — and with no financial obligation on the part of the government.

Then, he changed his story…

Now the vehicle was supposedly lent to him by a supporter that he cannot name. For security purposes.

Whatever the real score, it is quite flawed because the gesture of accepting a luxury car (even for temporary use) gives rise to questions of conflict of interest and the matter of delicadeza.

In the US, a president CANNOT accept gifts and freebies during his presidency so that there is never a danger of him being obliged to “reciprocate”.

As I said, we are just taking P-Noy at this words. He said he is for maximum transparency. He said he will follow the “tuwid na landas.” P-Noy has set very high standards for his behavior as President. Now, he has to live up to his own prescription. Or do we take his words less seriously from now on?

Young artist

Now, for the good news!

The other weekend, I had the pleasure of dropping by the Podium for the launch of the art exhibit of a very young artist. As it happened, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima also came with his wife. I came on the urging of an old schoolmate from UP, Luz de Leon, who promised that I will not be disappointed.

Indeed, I was not disappointed. In fact, I was amazed to see the paintings of nine-year old Hamzah Marbella, the youngest member of the Art Association of the Philippines (AAP). I couldn’t believe that the unassuming kid in the barong Tagalog playing by the side of the exhibit area did all that. The imagery and the colors are so captivating. I was told he has been widely recognized by his peer adult artists and local art dealers as a most prolific child prodigy in visual arts.

He has produced some 300 outstanding artworks and has been awarded with more than 100 top prizes, honors and citations and accolades since he started painting at age two. I commented to Luz that Hamzah is the Charice for the visual arts.

Indeed, like Charice, he is starting to make waves abroad. He has won an Award of Excellence from South Korea’s International Postage Stamp design contest and one of his paintings is now in a postage stamp in Korea. His artwork: “Bounty” was a favorite at the charity auction of the International Care Ministries (ICM) in Hongkong sold for HK$60,000. His next exhibit will be in Beijing.

Well… I was impressed enough that I bought one of his paintings on exhibit. Knowing the Philistine in me, that took some doing. I am convinced he will go places and when that time comes, I will be able to say I have one of his early works.

As Luz puts it, “the fact that Galerie Joaquin has taken him on board in its stable of artists (in the company of Alcuaz, Sanso, Orlina, Luz, atbp.) says a lot on the bar of performance of Hamzah’s art and capacity to prove his worth as a serious, marketable artist.”

You can still see his works at Galerie Joaquin at the Podium.

Earring

Here’s something from Atty Sonny Pulgar.

A man is at work one day when he notices that his co-worker is wearing an earring. The guy knows his co-worker to be a normally conservative fellow, and is curious about his sudden change in “fashion sense.” He walks up to him and says, “I didn’t know you were into earrings.”

”Don’t make such a big deal, it’s only an earring,” he replies sheepishly.

His friend falls silent for a few minutes, but then his curiosity prods him to ask, “So, how long have you been wearing one?”

“Ever since my wife found it in my truck.”


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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