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With Due Respect

A weird race for second place

As a retired jurist, I seldom write on highly partisan matters, preferring to leave them to political analysts. However, I cannot ignore what I believe is a weird race for second place in the current electoral campaign.

DURING A HYPED PRESS CONFERENCE, three presidential wannabes — Sen. Ping Lacson, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, and former defense secretary Bert Gonzales — dispelled rumors they were withdrawing from the race and offered themselves as alternatives to Vice President Leni Robredo as the more viable candidates, ignoring the VP’s rapid ascension in credible poll surveys (Pulse Asia and OCTA) vis-à-vis their dwindling survey results.

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They seem to argue that many voters opted for frontrunner Bongbong Marcos (BBM) at 56 percent in the last Pulse Asia survey because they simply abhored Leni. Thus, her withdrawal from the race would enable these voters to swing their support to one of the three aspirants, whose combined percentages in the survey (Isko, 8 percent; Ping, 2; and Bert, 0) is much less than Leni’s 24.

And even if the 6 percent of a fourth presidential aspirant, Sen. Manny Pacquiao, who failed to show up at the presser, were added, their total of 16 percent (8+2+0+6=16) would still pale compared to Leni’s 24. Logically then, if anyone should withdraw, it should be the four, not the VP. Moreover, the fact that BBM and Leni present contrasting programs and personalities gives voters a real choice. So, instead of a disadvantage, the contrast should be a bonus to voters.

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Given his undisputed experience in the public service and his tenacious stand against corruption especially the pork barrel and its reinventions, Senator Ping was frankly on the top of my presidential choices. However, with this unfortunate incident, I may have made a mistake and should now consign him to the bottom of my short list.

Sadly, with the deliberate absence of BBM, the televised media and Comelec presidential jousts, the last of which was postponed to May 1, have also degenerated into pitiful debates for the second place.

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LET ME NOW TURN TO A MORE PLEASANT TOPIC. I am pleased to say that the 22 scholars of the Foundation for Liberty and Prosperity (FLP), in partnership with the Tan Yan Kee Foundation, all passed the last bar exams thereby upholding the 100 percent tradition of excellence established by past scholars. Moreover, three of them were among the 14 examinees judged by the Supreme Court to be “Excellent” and 11 were among the “Exemplary.”

Parenthetically, for this bar exam, the Supreme Court did not announce the 10 topnotchers as it had done in the past. Instead, it rated and classified the top examinees into “Excellent” (with grades higher than 90 percent) and “Exemplary” (with grades ranging from 85 to 90 percent).

THE THREE FLP SCHOLARS WHO RATED “EXCELLENT” ARE Stephanie Mae Domingo (University of the Cordilleras or UCor), Geremae Mata (University of San Carlos or USC), and Jani Omamalin (USC), while the 11 who rated “Exemplary” are Angelette Bulacan (FEU), William Christian dela Cruz (Fr. Saturnino Urios University or FSUU), Florida Fomaneg (UP), Maria Carissa Guinto (SBU-Manila), Rowell Nico Macalino (ADMU), Carlo Angelo Negado (USC), Laurence Obaob (USC), Carmella Gaye Perez (USC), Josiah David Quising (FEU), Edrea Jean Ramirez (UST), and Mark Stephen Sy (ADMU).

The eight other FLP scholars who passed (to complete the list of 22) are Banoar Abratique (UCor), Pamela Camille Barredo (FEU), Patricia Isabel Cornelio (FEU), Ricka Abigael Dumelod (UST), Patrick Angelo Gutierrez (FEU), Joy Francine Mappang (UCor), Mayumi Matsumura (ADMU), and Juralyn Lilian Obra (UCor).

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May I add that 10 winners in the FLP Dissertation Writing Contest, in partnership with the Ayala Group, also rated “Exemplary:” Patrick Edward Balisong (ADMU), Angelette Bulacan (FEU, also a scholar), William Christian dela Cruz (FSUU, also a scholar), Trisha Aliya Dulanas (USC), Genica Therese Endaluz (ADMU), Catherine Joy Lim (ADMU), Kenneth Limosnero (DLSU), Justin Ian Manjares (ADMU), Fidel Rico Nini (UP), and Josiah David Quising (FEU, also a scholar). The rest were passers.

I note with appreciation the graduates of law schools outside Metro Manila like the UCor in Baguio, USC in Cebu, and the FSUU in Butuan City who scored quite well, which I think is a tribute to the FLP boards of judges and the FLP screening committees.

Finally, the search for the FLP scholars and dissertation winners for the current school year will end on April 30. Those interested should visit www.libpros.com.

Comments to [email protected]

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TAGS: #VotePH2022, 2022 presidential race, Artemio V. Panganiban, Easter presser, Ferdinand Marcos Jr, Leni Robredo, panfilo lacson, With Due Respect
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