MANILA, OCTOBER 7, 2010 (STAR) By Christina Mendez - President Aquino’s former colleagues at the Senate gave him a fair grade for his performance during his first 100 days in office.

Maverick Sen. Joker Arroyo (photo at left) said the President “unqualifiedly deserves high marks” because of the enormous trust and faith of the people in him that remains steadfast and unwavering.

“That is something. This is, after all, the true measure of leadership. This augurs well for the country,” Arroyo said.

Arroyo noted that the 100-day period was traditionally intended as a honeymoon period between a newly elected president and the media – for media critics not to heckle the new president early in his term.

“It was not designed as a dry run or OJT (on-the-job training),” Arroyo said, adding the President deserves the high marks “notwithstanding the inadequacies and unimpressive performance of the President’s ministers,” referring to the members of the Cabinet.

Sen. Francis Escudero (photo at far right), a known ally, gave Mr. Aquino a grade of nine, with 10 being the highest, for his sincere intention to serve the country well.

But for his choice of Cabinet members, Escudero gave the chief executive “seven,” noting how the Cabinet members have been involved in some conflicts owing to their respective factions within the President’s circle.

Sen. Franklin Drilon, (photo at left) on the other hand, refused to give Aquino any grade, saying that it is a long way to go for the next six years.

“Given the difficulties that the administration inherited from the past, you know he has done well. The cards were stacked against his administration. Talk about midnight appointees, the bureaucracy was stacked with over a thousand midnight appointees in key positions, and a lot of other issues. The President, therefore, in his first 100 days, apart from trying to have a jumpstart would have to handle, remove many of these obstacles placed in his way by the past administration,” he said.

“He has many of these issues, many of these obstacles he has to remove in order that he can have a smoother implementation of his plans. Of course, there are other issues that he must confront,” said Drilon, chairman of the Senate committee on finance that tackles the budget.

Sen. Gregorio Honasan (photo at far right), who led several coup attempts against Aquino’s mother, former President Corazon Aquino, said he is giving the incumbent president the “benefit of the doubt and risk a passing grade.”

“On a scale of 1-10, I’d give him seven… benefit of the doubt, he’s really trying his best. Kaya lang syempre (however) under the circumstances you have to give him credit,” Honasan said.

Rather modest achievement

Sen. Edgardo Angara (photo at left) gave the President a “six” because of the high expectations, and then said that the “achievement was rather modest.”

“But that does not mean he’s going to prove to be a failure. He’s just (in office for) three months,” he said.

Angara noted that Aquino is still struggling to govern the country.

He said the President should “pull back a little bit, sit down and consult with his advisers and plan and plot because this is no longer a campaign.”

The veteran senator recommended that the chief executive sit down with his advisers regularly and go beyond the “rhetoric of the last campaign.”

“This is already sitting on the saddle. He’s already in command. A single word from him can mean so many different things to people. He must not only be clear, he must know what he wants. And he must articulate what he wants, that’s the role of leadership,” he said.

Angara pointed out that “factionalism” among the President’s allies is “one of the failings of this administration.”

“But that’s because it’s a fledgling administration, not yet fully matured,” he said.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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