After Malacañang, what?
In less than 100 days, P-Noy shall have become ex-president. He will be pondering what those who preceded him in Malacañang wondered about when the time came for them to leave: What am I going to do now?
There are only a few options, sad to say, on what to do next, what to focus your time and energy on after you exit the presidency. Pride and public expectations will prevent you from doing what ordinary retirees commonly do—and do to boredom: be regular fixtures at coffee houses, watch free movies, serve as lay ministers in church, watch free movies, gad about malls, watch free movies, sit around the house bossing the house help, and exasperate the spouse.
Post-Malacañang is a scenario that will be problematic for P-Noy. What will he busy himself with as the days wear on? After all, as a former president of the country, it would be unseemly of him to accept engagements as adviser or consultant of a business organization or other which at one time had problems with the government, or could possibly have problems at some future time with the government.
Even on the personal level, P-Noy is constrained by good form from doing certain things after leaving the house by the Pasig. Just 56 and unmarried, he cannot simply go about chasing maidens like he has hormonal attacks normal to dudes half his age. The common mindset is at past 50, you don’t sing love songs to a lady love, you sing lullabies to grandchildren.
The exit template left by his predecessors does not offer P-Noy much help in thinking up his postpresidency life. Somehow the life pattern after Malacañang of his immediate predecessors does not conjure fun or joy, and, moreover, fits not his character, inclination and personality.
Cory, his mother, opted for simple, uncomplicated retirement. Prayerful and not given to wasting time and energy on whimsical pursuits, she devoted her retirement years to painting and microfinancing, the latter to help the less privileged get started on livelihood activity. Nope, not P-Noy’s cup of tea.
Erap, erstwhile cinema hero adored by millions, got the wrong script in exiting as president. He was arrested, finger-printed, sat for mug shots like a common felon, detained (what humiliation) and pronounced guilty of plunder. He would have been sent to Bilibid but for the immediate presidential pardon granted him by his successor. No, a thousand nos, not P-Noy’s idea of life after Malacañang.
As for GMA, she had the right plan to have a placid, headache-free, but still potent postpresidency life. She plugged vulnerable points where she expected hostile elements would likely strike by posting loyal adherents in key positions in the Office of the Ombudsman and the Supreme Court. For good measure, she ran for congresswoman to make herself truly invulnerable. Alas, the plan didn’t work out as expected. The defenses at the Office of the Ombudsman and the Supreme Court crumbled, and the dreamed placid life postpresidency turned into a nightmare of hospital detention. Not a good exit template for P-Noy, you’ll agree.
Now FVR: His postpresidency “vacation” could just be the farewell-to-presidential-hassle move that best fits P-Noy. What is FVR’s postpresidency sabbatical, and why do I call it a “vacation”? Because it is a vacation the old warrior is having, not from work because a workaholic like himself doesn’t pause from work, but a vacation from worrying about matters that are none of his business. FVR’s retirement is time spent on a mixture of activities so varied and plentiful you’d wonder where he gets the energy, not to mention the hours, to get the things on his plate done. He writes a newspaper column, he authors books, he plays golf, he traipses around Asian capitals delivering lectures, he attends weddings, wakes and funerals, he holds regular office where he receives a stream of callers, he exercises his golf arm regularly by raising the arms of political wannabes, and, not to think he neglects domestic chores, he accompanies his beloved Ming to the supermarket where he dutifully pushes the grocery cart.
Yup, P-Noy can chuck his worn-out, heavily-traveled matuwid na daan route (let Mar Roxas chug-chug through it) and traverse the off-Malacañang, strife-free, serene, scenic, relaxing trail blazed by soldier, ex-president, statesman and patriot Fidel V. Ramos.
But first things first: Snare a wife.
Gualberto B. Lumauig ([email protected]) is past president of the UST Philosophy and Letters Foundation and former governor/congressman of Ifugao.
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