Monday, November 30, 2009

Can't get enough

(The editorial I have not yet submitted. I turned in something else today and my turn does not come again until Wednesday. – AC)

It's official: President Arroyo wants to “serve the hard-working people of [her] province” and is running as representative of the second district of Pampanga.

Arroyo has served the nation for eight years and ten months as chief executive. She will serve it for seven more months. One would think a 62-year-old would want to retire, go back to teaching, write a book, maybe enjoy her grandchildren. Then again, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is no ordinary woman.

They say a term is too short for a good president and too long for a bad one. Was Mrs. Arroyo a bad president? It's hard to say; every report and figure is so tainted with bias for and against her. The public does not know where to look for an objective assessment. The media, fed by attention deficient politicians, has been sensational. On the other hand, the President's defenders have been relentless, too.

Of course she's not seeking the same term – technically. Her constituency will shrink and if only because of that, a victory is likely. The perks will be there, even with an opposition president. Especially with a lame one.

The outrage is expected. The move does little to quell the speculation that Mrs. Arroyo is up to some tricks. After all, the House of Representatives has been servile to her when she was president, quelling several impeachment complaints and pushing, shamelessly, for a constituent assembly. Fortunately, an outraged public foiled this move. But because Plan A has been foiled, Plan B emerges, or so we are told.

But let us assume that there are no plans. Let us view Arroyo's decision without a past and without a future – whether or not she has been a good president, and whether or not she intends to steer the House of Representatives into something else.

The simple fact is that seeking another post, especially a lower one, after one has become president is repulsive. When you get elected to the presidency, it is assumed you have done your best. The law may be swayed so as not to bar you from running again, but your convictions should. If you wanted to do good, you should have done it while you could. When your time is up, you take a bow and suffer the legacy you have made for yourself.

Another former President, convicted plunderer Joseph Estrada has filed a certificate to run for president. Now the man says Arroyo is not qualified to run. The statement is downright comic when you remember it is Erap himself who faces disqualification questions.

When you are talking about the things you have to do to be worthy of the Office of the President, there is no room for comic relief or lame rhetoric.

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