‘T.4.18’ for a culture of good governance
I believe six years for a good president is short, and long for a bad one.
In our present affairs, an incoming president spends the first two years getting one’s act together. One first consolidates a team by taking out those in key positions whose loyalty belongs to one’s predecessor and replacing them with one’s trusted lieutenants and/or with people to whom one is politically indebted. One also tries to endear oneself with the legislature, the judiciary, the military and even the media.
It seems to me that, when fortunate, the new president gets a well-oiled machine running only at the beginning of one’s third year going to the fourth, while often discontinuing the programs of one’s predecessor for sheer political reasons.
Then, in the last two years, the president’s energy is focused on grooming one’s successor to protect whatever interests one may want to preserve going into the next administration. And the whole six years becomes a mere revolving door. At the losing end, of course, is Philippines Inc.
In the corporate world, a good CEO has a firm foothold on the helm of the company, unless one gets pirated. Not so with the government.
Given this revolving-door syndrome, it becomes desirable, even imperative, for a wanting economy like ours to ensure the continuity of a good presidency by creating a culture of good governance.
Within our system of a six-year term with no reelection, this continuity and culture can be done by presenting a ticket of a presidential candidate with neither record nor allegation of corruption and a vice presidential candidate with the same spotless record and, more importantly, the capability to be a virtual shoo-in for president.
In other words, we need to approach the leadership choice of our nation by proposing to the electorate the best combination there is for a president-vice president, with the view that the vice president will indeed be the next president. For purposes of the discussion, we will call this team “T.4.18”—a team for 18 years.
Here are three major T.4.18 benefits:
• Creation of a culture of good governance.
• Zero transition cost. Same core values, same passion, same direction, same goals—most likely by the same executive team.
• Maintained economic momentum. Business does not go into a wait-and-see phase.
There is always a cost to transition, chief of which is the failure to institutionalize good values and good programs.
It is in this light that Sen. Grace Poe should take a careful look at the longer term. She can help Mar Roxas become the next president by running as his vice president. Presumably, Roxas will continue the same “daang matuwid” core value of the present leadership. It cannot be denied that despite its share of political missteps, the P-Noy administration is finishing well, maybe even in an unprecedented way, on the simple and proven platform of honest governance.
A Roxas presidency can continue to institutionalize the good-governance reforms and practices in place, boost further investor confidence and maintain the economic momentum. At the same time, and more importantly, a Poe vice presidency will not slice up the pie of presidential votes that can precariously send to Malacañang a hopeful who is hounded by allegations of massive corruption cultured by nepotism and patronage. A Poe vice presidency will prevent this slippery slope from emerging.
A Poe vice presidency will ensure a T.4.18 all the way to 2028—six years of Aquino (2010-2016), six years of Roxas (2016-2022), and six years of Poe (2022-2028).
As Poe seems progressing to be a shoo-in for the 2016 presidency, the more will she be in 2022. She has displayed a trustworthy character in her maiden three years as senator of the realm. She is still young and can continue to hone her skills in executive governance by serving productively as the next vice president in 2016, before taking the national helm in 2022.
In 2016, our nation faces a crucial fork in the road where one path leads to an opportunity to institutionalize the daang matuwid governance for 18 straight years, and the other path may just lead us back to the crooked road of corrupt governance propped up by the patronage and nepotism of traditional politics.
At this point, only Grace Poe seems to have the card to make daang matuwid a generational force. And when it happens, the institutionalization of good governance will have been so embedded as our new national political culture that it will be hard to frustrate it in the generations to come.
Six years is not a long wait for a 47-year-old, and in fact it will be great OJT and a nice and easy “campaign” period for 2022. It took Poe only three years to endear herself to the public. How can another six years as vice president be anything else?
Patience is a self-sacrificing virtue that can temper self-serving ambitions that are not necessarily hers but are of those who surround her.
Roxas gave way to P-Noy in 2010. While it has been said that he made the sacrifice, it cannot be denied that his numbers were just not there. Poe is now leading in the surveys. Giving way to Roxas as his VP is the truer sacrifice.
Real heroism knocks rarely on our door. While heroism is the reward in itself, the true beneficiaries in the end are the children of today, who can be raised in a culture and environment of good and honest national governance—a legacy that only Poe can trigger by taking the back seat for a little while.
Christopher N. Barrameda and his wife Ann are founders of a Montessori school system that offers “inspiring environments” for children from infancy to adolescence in eight major cities of the Philippines.
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