Sunday, July 10, 2005

SUN TZU ADVICE NO. 12: ”Ma’am, leave this war to the Pros”

Sun Tzu says the king – or queen for that matter – should not meddle in the war.

Thus we may know that there are five essentials
for victory:
(1) He will win who knows when to fight and when
not to fight.
(2) He will win who knows how to handle both superior
and inferior forces.
(3) He will win whose army is animated by the same
spirit throughout all its ranks.
(4) He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take
the enemy unprepared.
(5) He will win who has military capacity and is
not interfered with by the sovereign.

If you read between the lines of the statement of the ten cabinet officials who resigned en masse yesterday, you will find that the President is committing one basic mistake in the management of the Gloriagate Crisis. The statement of the ten cabinet officials is implying that the President was making decisions with the paramount concern for her political survival rather than the national interest. What does this mean? GMA appears to be managing the political war herself.

In Ricky Carandang’s interview this evening, former finance secretary Cesar Purisima said that the President herself told Purisima that the implementation of the VAT law should be delayed. The VAT Law would have caused an increase in the prices of commodities, including gasoline, had its implementation not been restrained. A political manager at war would have seen this as another source of discontent that would propel more people to the streets. But economic managers have maintained that the VAT Law was urgent and necessary for the country to get out of the economic mess. Well, it seems GMA, the political war manager, prevailed over GMA, the PhD in economics, on this issue. I don’t know if this confirms the rumor that the President herself maneuvered to have the VAT Law restrained by the Supreme Court, for which reason Purisima decided to leave. But before Purisima made that statement about GMA’s decision to delay the implementation of the VAT Law this evening, he did not confirm that it was a factor in his decision to resign, saying that there are things he couldn’t say lest he would get into trouble. Go figure.

In her statement the other night, GMA also said that she decided to make the apology a couple of days ago against the advice of counsel. Well, I thought making the apology was GMA’s biggest blunder in this crisis. Now, it appears her biggest blunder is actually the fact that she is running this political war herself. “Hands on leadership” is how they call her style. But that goes against the basic principle of war that the sovereign should leave the war to the generals. This management style already got her into trouble when she ran her own election and post-election operations -- that’s why they got her on tape with Garcellano remember? This hands on style will only get her into more trouble.

Why should the queen not run the political war? The political generals know better. The skills required for governance are radically different from the skills required for running the war. More importantly, only the objective detachment of a professional can figure out an emotionally wrenching experience such as Gloriagate. Look at all the mistakes that she has made. The apology is a blunder, because it woke up the already pacified Susan Roces. Delaying the VAT Law implementation is another blunder, because that caused her to lose ten key cabinet officials, who not only resigned, but also went on air to call for her resignation, disgruntled that her warrior agenda has ruined her governance agenda.

A lawyer who has himself as a client has a fool for a client. Atty. Punzi puts it better. A barber goes to another barber for a haircut. Have you ever seen a barber who cuts his own hair? As it is in the legal profession and the barbershop, so shall it be in this political war.

Ma’am, with very little time left to salvage your cause, you have to leave it to the pros.


Anonymous said...

It seems that Gloria is a firm believer in the saying: “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself”. She’s probably too proud to admit that everything she’s done to try to save her political career, has only served to drag her deeper into her current predicament. Her arrogance will be her undoing.

She might as well fire everyone in government so she can handle everything herself! ( at least she can brag that she saved us a lot of money since there’s no one left in government to pay! ) Joke!! :)

marvin said...


Anonymous said...

Reading this article somehow reminds me of the saying " Ang magnanakaw, walang tiwala sa kapwa magnanakaw..." I guess when you are used to lying, double-dealing and being insincere so much, its really hard to put trust in anyone but yourself