[Laguna Governor Jeorge “ER” Ejercito: Latecomer?]

MANILA, FEBRUARY 18, 2013 (INQUIRER) By Maricar Cinco Inquirer Southern Luzon - President Aquino on Thursday took a swipe at a top local official in the province of Laguna.

“Meron po kayong mataas na opisyal, nagpatawag po ako ng meeting sa Malacañang ng alas-tres, dumating po mga 5:30 ng hapon. Itong opisyal na ito, itinanong pa anong napag-usapan (You have a high ranking official here who when I called for a meeting at Malacañang at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, arrived at 5:30 in the afternoon. This official, upon arriving, even asked what was in the agenda),” Aquino said.

The President made this reference to the Laguna official as he went through the government’s flood mitigation programs for the Laguna Lake in a proclamation rally of the Liberal Party held here.

The President did not name names, but Laguna Governor Jeorge “ER” Ejercito has been criticized, at times, for reportedly arriving late at government functions.

Aquino then went on to say: “Awa ng Diyos, ito pong mataas na opisyal na ito, kada magkikita kami either pasakay na ako ng chopper o nakasakay na…Kung ayaw mo akong kausapin, maraming gustong kumausap sa akin.” (This official, every time we see each other, it’s either I am about to board a chopper or was already on board…If you don’t want to talk to me, there are many others who want to talk with me.)

In an earlier Laguna Lake forum, Laguna fourth district Rep. Egay San Luis, now a candidate for governor under LP, also mentioned about Ejercito arriving late in the Malacañang meeting.

Ejercito, in a phone interview, said the President might not have been referring to him since he could not recall any instance that he arrived late at a meeting with the President.

Ejercito is seeking reelection under the United Nationalist Alliance. He is also a nephew of ousted President Joseph Estrada.

In an event of the Liberal Party in Cavite last week, Aquino also took potshots at Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla, who is reportedly being groomed to be the 2016 presidential standard bearer of Lakas-CMD party.


Lack of economic agenda By Manila Standard Today | Posted on Feb. 15, 2013 at 12:01am

The campaign season officially kicked off Tuesday, with the administration party and the opposition quickly firing salvos against each other in separate proclamation rallies. Mudslinging and lip service by opposing senatorial candidates were, as usual, the order of the day.

Missing in the cacophony of political speeches and grandstanding are the economic platforms of the opposing parties. The candidates and their respective figure heads chose to dish out empty rhetoric instead of programs that aim to alleviate widespread poverty, reduce unemployment and advance the general economy.

President Benigno Aquino III again disappointed the nation with his mantra blaming the past administration for the country’s economic ills. He even had the audacity to say that the May 13 elections would be a referendum on his administration’s accomplishments and on the mistakes of the past.

United Nationalist Alliance leader and Vice President Jejomar Binay, meanwhile, stooped in response to the mudslinging of the ruling party, despite his vow to avoid that style of politicking. He accused the Liberal Party of being “racist and elitist” for portraying itself as white and the opposition as black, and dared the LP to name those it accused of pretending to be allies of President Aquino.

It may be too early in the campaign season for the rival parties to delve into the critical issues hampering real economic progress. But candidates down to the local level should familiarize themselves immediately with the problems dogging the economy and the reforms required to uplift the well-being of each Filipino.

The electorate must be made to weigh the respective economic platforms offered by the rival parties. Political candidates, for their part, must explain to voters what the economy needs in order to achieve a more meaningful progress.

President Aquino is convincing voters that his anti-corruption efforts have paid dividends and contributed to investors’ confidence on the economy. His agenda and sincerity, however, have not been enough to ease poverty and improve the lot of Filipinos.

Who’s lying? By Manila Standard Today | Posted on Feb. 16, 2013 at 12:01am 

It is not unusual for politicians to abuse their rivals with crisp and colorful language during rallies. Run-of-the-mill politicians love to talk about themselves, which is boring. But brilliant politicians claim to know a lot, and they uncover the truth or lies about their enemies. They make the rallies interesting.

The proclamation rally of the Liberal Party in Manila and the United Nationalist Alliance in Cebu sounded the opening bell for the 90-day campaign period for the mid-term elections in May. The candidates came out swinging at their enemies, and as expected, the brilliant politicians did not disappoint their audience.

In the next few months, we can expect more mudslinging and character assassination. Politicians will rattle skeletons in the closets. They will give voters a regular dose of blood and gore as part of ceaseless muckraking that characterize our elections.

Some things never change, and it is not just the manner that politicians wage their campaigns. Even the personalities are the same. A voter said: “Looking at the line-up of candidates, I said to myself: what else is new?”

One thing is now clear: the next three years will look like the last three. Political analysis will pour in over the next several months, but things remain the same.

What do the parties have to offer?

The LP said the mid-term elections would be a referendum for President Aquino’s reform agenda, anti-corruption drive, privatization policies, and peace initiative to end four decades of Muslim rebellion in Mindanao. “The President is putting his entire performance on the line. The President is putting himself in the forefront. He has chosen these candidates to help him up to his last day in office,” LP spokesman Lorenzo “Erin” Tañada said.

UNA spokesman Toby Tiangco said the opposition would highlight the administration’s abuse of power, which is a form of corruption, the widespread poverty, lack of jobs and breakdown of peace and order.” UNA will scrutinize every law to be legislated by the Senate. We will ensure that the proposed measures will be beneficial to the public and will create jobs, bring food to the table, and bring down the prices of commodities.”

Other than the LP and UNA, the Commission on Elections has allowed 12 independent candidates to solicit votes, but it’s too early to tell if they will make an impact on the voters. They show promise. And they have fresh, young faces as alternative to traditional politicians.

People who attend political rallies usually ask: “How do you know that a politician is lying?”

A wit has a ready answer: “Watch his lips. If it moves, he’s lying.”

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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