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Emmie Joaquin      Like it or not, family dynasties still rule RP politics

“I will not only not steal, but I will run after thieves. We lead by example,” declares the new president elect, Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III. That statement is music to my ears.

I must admit I have no opinion of the new Philippine president. And I think it is a good start.

Sure, I have heard from many of my Pinoy friends who campaigned for his opponents that, “Noynoy did not do anything significant for the country during his early years in politics… what will he do now that he is the Chief Executive?” I have also received e-mails with nasty criticisms about his mental and intellectual capacity, even his non-charismatic personality and very average looks. And of course, there are the sarcastic comments about his possible first lady, none other than his famous celebrity sister, Kris Aquino.

But that’s politics. The contenders will hurl mud in every way possible at their opponents just to discredit each other. In the end, it all checks out as each one throws stones in their respective glass house.

I am even pleasantly surprised that the May 10th election was not as bloody and horrific as those in the past. But then, I can only rely on what I see on TFC and GMA TV, and of course, the Internet. The politically motivated killings in certain hot spots were obscured by positive comments from man-on-the-street interviews with people who were seemingly satisfied that the first automated voting, although not perfect, worked.

One thing that sticks out in my mind that I still can’t fully appreciate is the fact that Bongbong Marcos was a shoo-in as a senator. I can understand why his mother, Imelda, would win in Ilocos as a House Representative, and his sister, Imee Marcos, as Governor, also in Ilocos. That’s their bailiwick and in spite of their past history of plundering the country, they took care of their own people in Ilocos province. But Bongbong winning in a national election is something else. I know that he was educated in the best academic institutions internationally, so he is not short intellectually. But for him to win in a national election tells me that the millions of voters who put him in the “Magic 12” no longer care about EDSA I or the 1986 People Power revolution.

There is inconsistency, though, in the election results. Millions voted for the new president in spite of his lacklustre political experience, because of who he is and who his parents were. But then, let’s take a look at who ranked second in the presidential race – Erap! If I had to make an informed guess before May 10th, I probably would have said that it would be Gibo Teodoro or even Manny Villar who would give Noynoy a scare. But no, it was the actor-turned-politician, convicted of plunder and previously impeached as the president of the Republic. Erap’s sons, Jinggoy and JV, won hands down in the Senate and in the House of Representatives respectively. This only means that millions of voters still trust Erap and his family.

As I said, I have no opinion of the new president. As soon as the winners are proclaimed and the elected officials begin their task of rebuilding the nation, I will have an open mind in assessing his ability to lead and save whatever is left of the country where I was born.

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This past week, we had the rare opportunity of interviewing Charice on the phone as she took a day off from her busy schedule in San Francisco. We talked about her new international album, self-titled Charice that hit the stores on May 11th and was given a very strong push on the Oprah Winfrey show, also on May 11th.

What more can anyone ask for? Every recording artist would give anything to get his or her album launched on Oprah’s show. With Oprah on her side plus the star-making machinery of David Foster and his powerful team, and Reprise Records, Charice is definitely destined to climb heights that no other singing artist from the Philippines has ever done.

The songs in the album are wonderful and they are her own songs, specially written for this pretty Filipina singer. I am sure many of us who have followed Charice’s career are ecstatic about her success and hope that she continues to bring honour to our country.

I invite you to read PE’s interview with Charice or listen to the audio of the complete interview.

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