April 24, 2012
Sen. Alan Peter S. Cayetano
"It's exciting to be on this different kind of media"
Maria Ressa (MR): Welcome to Talk Thursdays. If you were watching the Philippine impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona, you would notice one lawmaker coming extremely prepared with arguments on what is actually going on. He is sitting with us here today. We are joined by Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, one of the youngest members of the Senate. Welcome! Thank you for joining us on Talk Thursdays.
Sen. Alan Peter S. Cayetano (ASC): Good morning, good afternoon or good evening to all those who may be watching us all over the world. (Just for the record) I'm the second youngest because Senator Trillanes is the youngest. Thanks for having me over.
It's exciting to be on this different kind of media. I was telling you before we started, you have the traditional media - the tri-media - and the new media. But Rappler seems to be somewhere in the middle. It's a bridge between the new and the traditional media.
"The more you learn about the Philippines, the more you find out that you know so little"
MR: We're being joined right now by people on social media. Join us on Facebook on the Rappler account and on Twitter - @rapplerdotcom. Send your questions and comments. I'm going to start with questions that I always like to know from the people who actually have to make things happen: How do you see the Philippines today? What do you see are the key issues that should be addressed? Where are we?
ASC: Well, you know, the more you learn about the Philippines, the more you find out that you know so little. It's like being in high school: the more you learn, the more you know and find out that you know so little. So some say, why study at all?
Seriously, I think that's one thing about campaigns and going around the country especially in the local level such as going house to house. Because it's really different when people can point to you: "Sir, yan yung canal o, ang baho." Or "Sir, hapon na hapon andito kaming lahat kasi walang trabaho."
I'll give you an example. When I asked people about unemployment, if you look at the statistics some say that it's between 10-20% at any point in time. Sabi nila 20% mataas pa. But ask people to raise their hands when you go to barangays when asked "Sinong walang trabaho dito?" and they don't even have to raise their hands. The mere fact that they're there and you're meeting them at lunch time or afternoon is indication enough.
So we took an SWS survey in Taguig that resulted in 50% of the population with no jobs. So ask me how is the Philippines and I'll put it this way: It could be much, much, much, much, much better.
When former First Lady Imelda Marcos years ago said that "We are a rich country pretending to be poor" she got so much flak about it. But reflecting on it, lahat ng natural resources pwede mong hingin or isipin, the Lord has given us (and this country).
A few years ago wala pa daw tayong natural gas at oil, ngayon mayroon na rin. Lahat ng minerals, beautiful lake- fronts, beaches, forest areas, tourism areas at marami pang iba mayroon tayo. Idagdag pa diyan na ang Pilipino pa madaling matuto.
I guess that's what's so frustrating for young public servants or politicians. If you are like a country in some part of the world where people have no access to education, walang natural resources, harsh yung conditions, you'd understand why you're going nowhere.
Pero tayo para tayong basketball team na you have a star rebounder, magaling sa defense, you have a great center, you have a great passer but everytime you get in the semi-finals you drop the ball and you choke.
"Corruption is a big issue (plus) the lack of vision and the lack of national identity"
MR: Why do we do that? Why can't the country capitalize on what we have?
ASC: Corruption is a big issue (plus) the lack of vision and the lack of national identity. So many things. When you go to other countries like Singapore, everywhere you look everything is in order and then you remember that ganyan din naman sa Subic, ganyan din naman sa Palawan. But you go to Thailand halimbawa, in the 1990s we were almost exactly like them. And they had more problems than us. Grabe ang drugs sa kanila, grabe ang peace and order with the border disputes.
But now you see medyo naiwan tayo. How come sa kanila, any hospital you go to, libre kahit anong gamot and procedure? How come sa kanila madaling magaral? How come sa kanila they don't spend 10 million of their people out of the country? Sa Indonesia at Philippines ang dami nating OFWs who have to leave their families. Bakit mura ang pagkain doon?
So these are the questions that as a young idealistic politician, will bother you. Of course when you get back home, andiyan din yung pragmatic politics.
MR: So this is because of politics and governance? The way the Philippines has been.
ASC: Well, one of our friends in Thailand, who was our tour guide during our stay in Bangkok, sabi niya "We only have one problem here in Thailand. Politics."
So I would probably say the same thing in the Philippines. Ang problema din natin siguro is our type of politics. It was Quezon who said that, "I'd rather have Filipinos running the Philippines like hell rather than foreigners running the country." I agree that you shouldn't have foreigners running the Philippines. But I think we took it too literally that we had to run the Philippines like hell. So Filipinos took over but the politicians are forgetting that heaven is the model, not hell.
"(being in Politics) It's a walk of faith. It can really change you for better or for worse."
MR: So you've been in the political system for how long?
ASC: In July 5, it will be 20 years.
MR: That's two decades! So how would you describe it and how can you change it?
ASC: It's a walk of faith. It can really change you for better or for worse. There are a lot of times that you can feel lost - your relevance, if you're still connected to the people, are you being selfish or being too giving, is it time to leave it all.
I've been in the best, in the group na malapit kay President Erap, yung bright boys na grupo noon. We've been in the group that impeaches presidents Erap and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Dumating sa point na I told my wife "If we wake up and we're alive and not in jail, we should be thankful." Whether that's perception or truth, that's how we felt.
We felt like when we lost my dad, he was our political patron and the world revolved around him and then everyone was saying that the Cayetanos are finished then my sister won. It's amazing.
Let me cap it off with this. One time when my dad was in the States getting better, he was crying. Akala namin masakit na naman ang tiyan. Almost every night he cries because of that. When we approached him and asked him why, he said, "When I was here in the 60s, I said babalik ako sa Pilipinas and it will really be great. Alan 40 years later, we're much worse."
For me, it's not about me and 20 years of political service. If Justice Cuevas and Senator Enrile, to quote Professional Heckler, had unexplained health, if they're the basis of the longevity of the Filipino politicians, I think the saddest thing is having politicians who are successful per se but the country's losing out.
Would you rather be a star player in a team that never wins the championship or would you rather na walang star pero you win the championship? It's sounds all noble but in reality you have to get re-elected.
MR: So how do you get power without sacrificing your soul?
ASC: It's a day by day thing. It's constant reflection and prayer. You don't always do things that you want to do. Mahirap ibalanse.
"(One of the most difficult decisions I had to make) The CA confirmation of Chairman Brillantes"
MR: What's a really difficult decision that you had to make when you felt that you had to compromise your ideals?
ASC: The confirmation of Chairman Brillantes. If it were totally left up to me, I would have rather not because I really felt that we should have the cleanest of the clean in the Comelec. But my companions in the Commission were saying that we have to give him a chance. But in hindsight, if I didn't give my okay and there's an impeachment now, things may have been different.
I learned early on in life that you can't have many regrets. A lot of people I helped in the past have come back to bite me. But I learned from my dad that you should never hold a grudge. Problema sa pulitika, people mistake kindness for stupidity. When you're kind, they think you're stupid. When you're tough and nambbraso, they think you're brilliant.
I learned early on from Justice Gatchitorena ng Sandiganbayan. In my first budget hearing, he sat beside me and asked, "Do you want to be a great Congressman?" I said, "Of course, who doesn't want to be?" He said, "Then you'll have to have a dual personality. Because in government you do not get anything done unless marunong kang manigaw ng tao." I said,"That's easy." But it really was the hardest part.
In life you cannot do that. Ang problema sa mga Congressman, nakapila kayo sa airport, gusto niyo i-upgrade kayo. Sa restaurant kayo gusto niyo may reserved seat kayo. Pag yung waiter nagkamali, gusto niyo sigawan niyo.
If we think about it, you want the best of all worlds. But you have to sacrifice. So if we want our country to be like South Korea, Taiwan or feel the economic growth of China, we have sacrifices we have to make, not only as a nation but individually.
"President Aquino is doing a good job but he can do a great job"
MR: So how do you see the politics and things changing? Is it possible?
ASC: Coming from President Arroyo's time that it reached the point of either take her out and when she was not taken out of office, she went against everything and she had to compromise so much. To be fair to her, I think she didn't want to go that far. I have always accused her stealing, lying and cheating but I think she had to go that far to support the groups supporting her.
Halimbawa dati sa Pilipinas, mag nagnanakaw pero pag nahuli ka bahala ka sa buhay mo. Dumating sa point na pag nagnakaw ka ng isa, dalawang milyon maliit na yan. So we're in a good place because people are actually expecting and supporting the president in the reforms.
But to be very honest, he is doing a good job but he can do a great job. I think he has to take a stand. I don't think he should be afraid of any type of consequences sa reform because people are hungry for it. It's a balance eh. Kung ano ang uso. Kung ano ang flavor of the month.
MR: But people are saying that things are moving so much slower than they should be.
ASC: That's part of the reform. On one hand, I understand the president for wanting to make sure that everything is okay. Like in the infrastructure that's why things are slow. But on the other hand, the inflation is so high that the 3-5% we save from corruption still goes to waste.
I never knew the difference before between graft and corruption. What's the difference between the two? Graft includes wastage. Corruption yung intentional na ninakaw mo. So even if you're the cleanest but you aren't efficient ang mangyayari ay magkakaroon ng wastage.
Halimbawa, ang tagal tagal sa mesa mo nung papers. It took you 6 months. In those months, 5% ang tinaas ng presyo ng materyales, that's still graft. Tao pa rin ang nawalan. So I think the corruption side, naayos na ng Aquino administration. Naayos nila in the sense that we have a standard. But there is still some kind of petty corruption existing.
During the Arroyo administration, ang message "Ikaw magsumbong, ikaw pa makukulong." You go after corruption, ikaw pa ang talo. At least now, whether or not may corruption, may message ang presidente na "We'll go after you." But critics are saying go after your own people too not only those whom you perceive are political enemies.
"Impeachment can be considered as an accountability proceeding"
MR: What impact do you think will the impeachment hearing have?
ASC: There are a thousand ways to look at it. I've been reading books on impeachment in Latin America. Before the impeachment, the option was always coup de etat. Impeachment provided them with the outlet of politics and political change without the drastic change or without the extreme of having a military takeover.
So in the sense that this is better than political killings, it's better than coup de etat, it's better than blackmailing a justice to just resign. In that sense, it's good.
In the sense that it's taking up so much energy that could be given to other problems, it's bad. But I guess, if we look at other countries, like Egypt that's a little over a hundred years older than us, we're better off. Except that with technology and so much lessons of the best practices all around the world, kailangan lang natin mag-quantum leap.
I do believe that kailangan itong mga accountability proceedings. But there has to be a way to make it easier.
"It's really difficult to be a judge"
MR: What lesson so far have you gotten from this impeachment process?
ASC: That you cannot see things as purely black and white. Number two, that it's really really difficult to be a judge.
I've been a councilor, I've been a vice mayor, congressman, senator, held different positions, nagsummer job ako ng kung anu-anong trabaho, sa UP I was a student assistant but the hardest thing is being a judge.
First you have to be really fair. Kailangan mong takpan yung mukha na whether you love or hate the person, you have to be objective. Second, there are people who are lying and there are those who are just really annoying but are telling the truth.
I suddenly had a big admiration for our judges. It dawned on me that the reason why the bible keeps telling us that even if there's so much corruption, if the judges are fair, you'll have a great nation.
Because you have to expect that there will be a certain level of disappointment, corruption sa executive and legislative. But as long as you can run to someone, in this case the judges in the judiciary, that will level off. But if the judiciary is the one that is proven corrupt, even if you have good executive and legislative branches, you'll always get the wrong decision or remedy.
I do believe that the judiciary is on a reform roll, so much that the past chief justices, even Chief Justice Corona, wanted to do what he is doing. But you have to impeach within the system as well.
So impeachment is good because it teaches people that everyone is subject to the law and eventually we all have to be accountable.
"Our institutions are at stake (in this impeachment)"
MR: What's at stake for the Philippines in this impeachment trial?
ASC: First of all, Senate as an institution is at stake. Just like President Aquino's presidency is at stake. If you listen to CJ Corona and his supporters, the independence of the judiciary is at stake. For political dealmakers, all of their deals are at stake.
In the mean time, what's happening to the rest of the country? Prices are going up. People are losing their jobs or getting paid less. Problems with power and electricity in Mindanao. All of these are happening.
People are saying that computers can multi-task. So my question is simple, can government also multi-task?
It's a question to everyone. To be fair to the president, he keeps saying that the executive department is multi-tasking. Are you looking at prices, oil, inflation, power in Mindanao?
Sa Senate ba, are we functioning as efficiently as possible?
MR: Is it? Is the Senate functioning?
ASC: Ang estimate ko 8 hours a day ang nawawala everyday for the impeachment. Kasi we start at 2pm and we end at 6 or 7pm. At the very very least, you need an hour with your staff and 30 minutes to an hour to read because you have to know the issues. Kapag initerview ka, it doesn't matter if it's the smallest tv, radio, internet group.
Pwera pa diyan yung mga estudyante na madalas rin magtanong. I always have a soft spot for students coming in for an interview. I always tell them 5 minutes lang pero naawa naman ako kapag katapat ko na.
So at the very least you spend 8 hours a day, Monday to Thursday. Anyone who tells you that we're balancing, we're multi-tasking, don't worry we're not lagging, medyo sugar-coated na yun.
"When a country compromises its values, it loses everything, even the economy"
MR: Questions coming in now from social media. Let me read a few. From @humbleneutron: With all issues the Philippines is going through, what should be given priority and what tangible results can we show?
ASC: I think one of the American presidents said, "When a country compromises its values, it loses everything, even the economy".
I remember, when we were young, tinatanong palagi "pera o prinsipyo". Before it was a bad joke to say na hindi nakakain ang prinsipyo. But for me it's really the values regardless of our religion or moral beliefs. For example, stealing is stealing. But it's as bad as when people steal when society forces people to steal.
So if there's so much to do in the Philippines, it's our value system. We have to change that. I'll give you a quick example. We don't want corruption. And if you see a police general or a military general having a mansion, what do you say right away? "Corrupt ba yan?" But you might find out later na may business or pinanganak na mayaman.
But you find a police or army general na rented ang house or napakabulok nung sitwasyon ng bahay, people will not say "he's an honest or magaling na general". Rather, they would say, "mahina yan". So you'll see we don't just admire the good and reward them.
In our hearts, we want change and better values but it's not our hearts that are winning but rather our pragmatic side.
MR: Do you see that changing? How?
ASC: The change for good is happening very quickly but the change for the worse is also happening. So if you have more policemen absolutely saying no to drugs but we have more politicians who used to be druglords, then we're not going to go anywhere.
Imagine yung dating kinasusuklaman na druglords, jueteng lords and whatever kinds of false lords, supporting politicians before at sila na ngayon mismo ang nanalo. Ang technique diyan is they don't usually do bad in their own area. But that's why I love the concept of living in the city with all the technology and comfort but loving the values of the probinsiyano.
For me, the probinsiyano does no wrong. They know everyone. They'll borrow something, di ka tataguan. Yung word of honor may ibig pang sabihin. Except that in terms of medicine OR technology they are behind.
In the city naman, baliktad. You have all kinds of high technology items but you sometimes have the feeling that everyone there is out to fool each other. That's why in our hometown of Taguig, we use the word probinsiyudad. How do we not only develop but have the same old-fashioned good values yet also integrate what's best in city living?
In Japan, they always get what's best and make it Japanese. Tayo bakit ang natutunan natin sa Spaniards, hindi 'yung magaganda? Ang siesta nila isang oras lang, tayo, kalahating araw.
MR: What's that saying, 250 years in a convent...
ASC: And then 50 years in Hollywood. The Americans taught us good things but we ended up learning the bad things. Can we do the opposite? Let's take out all the bad things na itinuturo sa atin at 'yung good ang iwan.
MR: Napaka-idealistic mo pa din. That's interesting.
ASC The idealistic are the 10 million OFWs abroad. These are the people who, when they get back, say "how come we can do it, and when we're there, kami ang bida?", and then come back here and make things better. We have better malls now dahil ang nag-fee-feed ng gastos na 'yan ay OFWs. Any developer ng mga condominiums or housing will tell you that 30% ng kita nila ay galing sa OFW money.
Imagine, with only 10 million Filipinos na biglang nagkapera, so much change happened in the country. How much more if you will have another 20 million Filipinos move from being very poor to middle class? You'll really see such a different kind of Filipinos and the Philippines. You'll see a different kind of passion and compassion, in serving and helping.
MR: The problem though is that the middle class driver, or the people who are more aggressive have gone overseas.
ASC: I'm not talking in terms of ugali, ideas, or brain drain. I'm talking in terms of "pagsisimula".
For example, you're having a business. Ang kaunti ng taong may pera. Manufacturing, halimbawa, wala halos manufacturing sa Pilipinas, not only because mas mura sa China, but because we won't buy our own goods. And even if you want to buy it, walang pera ang tao.
MR: There are things that you are trying to change through legislation...
ASC: There are three ways to get things done in the Philippines. One is divine intervention. One way or the other, the Lord decrees something and it happens. Second is that if the President really wants it, it can get done. Kung gusto talaga ng Presidente. Number three, if the media not only wants it, pero hindi rin nila bibitawan (ang istorya).
"Media is a powerful tool that influences policy and public interest"
MR: So you see us as a major power?
ASC: It has changed also. Dati, hindi ka bibitawan ng media. Halimbawa, may ginawang masama ang politiko, hangga't hindi nag-resign, nakasuhan, o naipaliwanag niya ang issue, hindi bibitawan ng media 'yon. Ngayon, palamigin mo lang ng isang buwan, wala na 'yan.
And this is not only in the Philippines. If you read the books on impeachment, the impeachments made on a president that worked are impeachments where the media never let go of the issue. Pero once na binitawan, nawawala (na ang public interest).
An example was with Pres. Clinton. He wasn't impeached not only because of the media but because he was popular.
"If you want to spark change, be a good example"
ASC: You were asking me how things can be changed. I think mas powerful pa ang being positive influence ng congressmen at senators than the actual legislative work. Because we have so many laws that are good but are not being followed anyway. But if you be a good example, people will follow.
Halimbawa, si Cong. Quimpo who used to represent Aklan, I was in an event with him before my first day in congress. When we were going up, bigla siyang yumuko to pick up a cigarette butt, 'yung part na may laway. He just held it up, wala siyang pandidiri, hindi niya ipinapulot na lang sa security niya. He picked it up, looked at me, and said, "Grabe talaga ang mga tao. Isipin mo pati sa carpet nagtatapon ng basura."
These are the people who brought us Boracay.
I realized, if you want to spark change, be a good example. I don't know how he is as a politician, or how he lives, but with Manong Allen, I love that he believes in cleanliness, and would lead by example. Imagine if all of our leaders were like that.
Why do you think the anti 'wang-wang' was such a big hit among the people? Because it's a simple thing and I think this is a value that Filipinos look at.
"A (good) Political Dynasty (1) should be differentiated from bad ones, (2) should ensure equal opportunity, and (3) should not protect each other"
MR: Let me throw in a few questions. What is your stand regarding political dynasties?
ASC: Obviously, if I say I don't like it, you'll ask me why my sister and myself, and my wife are in politics too. You'll see this even in the Bible. It's all about dynasties--the priests, rulers...
Sa akin, hindi dynasties per se ang masama. First is whether the dynasty is a good one or not. Second is if there is an equal opportunity. Kahit sabihin mong good dynasty, kung 'yung kalaban mo walang equal opportunity to win, masama pa din. But if the playing field is leveled, meaning automated ang election at walang dayaan, anyone can win.
Remember, we weren't always like this. We were the opposition and we came from very humble beginnings. My lola was a public school teacher and my lolo was a mechanic. Si Ate, inabot pa niya na sa bisikleta siya inihahatid papuntang school.
Third, the dynasty should not protect each other. In our case, kapag may gumawa ng masama, patay kami kay Ate. If the dynasty is there as a "COA of each other", then it helps. But if there are five of you there and two of you are good or two of you are bad at pagtatakpan, that's where it gets bad.
"My wife won fair and square"
MR: Your wife is being accused of blocking recent Comelec-approved recount of 2010 polls. This reflects poorly on you. Your thoughts?
ASC: On July 5, I'm celebrating my 20th year in politics. Why July 5, when offices start in June 30? Because there has always been cheating in Taguig. And ever since, it has been our opponents who have been proven in court of doing that.
My wife won fair and square. Even Chairman Brillantes said that there was no cheating, and you cannot cheat the machines. So I'll throw back the question to our accusers: you can count the CF cards, and they say it cannot be manipulated. Why are they insisting that they count the ballots, which have been with the son of our opponent for 45 days, and the treasurer is the spouse of the vice-mayor? They threw out all of our watchers and said no one can watch it, and when we got in, bukas na ang ballot boxes.
If you were in our position na alam na ninyong pinalitan ang balota, alam ninyo na ang chairman ng Comelec ay abogado ng kalaban ninyo, wouldn't it be part of our duty to the people who voted for us to protect the votes?
Go ahead with the recount. Ang tanong lang namin, why are they so fixated on ballots na napalitan na, when in fact, the CF cards, which everyone is saying hindi pwedeng mapalitan, are there?
Just one last point on this. Remember, Justice Tinga was appointed by GMA. They were hardcore GMA supporters. Even the book by Marites Vitug put them in the core group of GMA. Freddie Tinga was the mayor. His vice-mayor's wife was the treasurer, and had the ballot boxes. We were in the opposition. So how could we have cheated? Ang galing naman namin mandaya.
Masakit pa sa aming sabihin, but actually, a brother of mine lost then. Kung dadayain namin para kay Lani, do you think papabayaan namin 'yung isa kong kapatid?
I thank you for that question because it allows us to answer that. But for us, more than the image, the Cayetanos have always been more concerned about doing what is right rather than protecting our image. If it's affecting our image, wala kaming magagawa kasi hindi naman kami papayag na dayain kami.
"Let us have coalitions of ideas and vision, not simply vehicles for politicians to get elected"
MR: Your term in the senate ends in 2013. Are you running for re-election?
ASC: Sa ngayon, I'm running for re-election. So far that's the plan.
MR: Where are you headed? What's 2013 looking like for you?
ASC: I'm Sec-Gen of the Nacionalista Party. It's sentimental for me for three reasons. One, my dad was Sec-Gen of NP after the EDSA Revolution. Number two, I think I'm the youngest Sec-Gen. Number three, I've always believed that parties should not be a congregation of trapos or a vehicle to get elected. Parties should really be instruments of change.
If given the chance, even if under this government, the president is saying that tuwid ang daan dito, I really think both the opposition and the administration can make a difference. If the Obama campaign really sucked people in and re-energized the Americans, possible din 'yan dito.
Ang ingay-ingay ng mga Americans about democracy and about their role in the democracy, and they have a lot of things to be proud about, pero kakaunti ang bumoboto sa America. Only about half siguro.
Ang Pilipino, we have so many complaints about elections, democracy, but 80-90% votes.
Can you imagine if a political party can be so connected with the people? Think of the political parties as Facebook. If a political party can be like Facebook and engage with the people, like they can talk, criticize, and post questions like this, you'll have a party that actually moves.
MR: Is there really integrity in our political party system?
ASC: That shouldn't stop us from trying. That's why when we were asking should we join UNA or LP, ang una naming tanong bakit coalition of people right away? Hindi ba pwedeng coalition of ideas muna? I mean, what's your stand regarding the Mindanao power crisis? What's your stand regarding the VAT on oil? Ang sabi nila, "Naku, pang-media naman 'yan. Pang-press lang 'yan. Masyado naman kayong idealistic. Party is about winning."
We know that. May pragmatic side naman kami. But if you start with the pragmatic side, completely erased ang idealistic side. If you start with a hundred percent idealism, mag-compromise ka man ng 50%, malaki pa din ang natitira.
"By the time you know how to do things, things have changed"
MR: What lesson did you learn from the past elections? I mean, you were a key player in the 2010 elections, and the Nacionalista Party candidate Manny Villar didn't win.
ASC: That's more of a perception. We had a professional team running the campaign. I am, I think, like a son to them, and he (Sen. Villar( gives us advice. Pati naman sa ibang mga party, I mean, I'm close to all sides, except the GMA side, all of them will tell you the same lessons and the same trials.
For example, all of them keep saying that by the time you know how to do things, things have changed.
Like when my sister won, everyone said alam na namin formula: itambak ninyo ang lahat ng commercials ninyo in the last two days. People didn't know that the reason we did that is because we didn't have enough money. Kaya inipon namin lahat, tapos last stand 'yon. But as Sen. Villar said, by the time na nag-next election, everyone was putting all their commercials on the last days. That was 2004.
Noong 2007 naman, ang lesson naman was do heavily on commercials kasi ang daming naaabot. Almost all Filipinos have TV sets.
Nakalimutan nila sa 2010 that people already knew that commercials are paid. So although may influence, you cannot ignore the news. Kailangan mong isabay 'yung news sa activities mo.
In hindsight naman kasi, we're all brilliant. To summarize this point, you always have to respect so much the voters. Hindi totoo 'yung sinasabi nila na mahina o tatanga-tanga ang botante. Hindi. Sawa na ang botante sa politiko at sa promises. That's why they switched off their TV sets. The key is how do you make them switch back on?
Noong namatay si Pres. Cory, at napakita sa mga TV at naiparinig sa radio all the goodness and the idealism that happened then, people switched on. So all parties, even Sen. Villar, had a chance to penetrate the households kasi naka-switch on na. It's just a matter of capturing them.
But obviously, Pres. Aquino had a better way of catching the emotions, the mind, and the heart of people. There are a lot of sub-lessons there, but I guess loving God, your country, and the voters, no matter how basic that is, babalik at babalik ka doon.
Lahat ng lessons na ito ay dependent lahat sa research. In the last ten years, we focused on research. Totoo talaga 'yan. I think, even sa TV, hindi ba? Iba talaga ang may research. But one big lesson about research is that research is like a camera. It only takes a snapshot. It will only show what was happening that time. It doesn't mean that that's going to remain the same.
Parang 'yung palaging sinasabi sa akin ng isang para kong tatay, "You know, Alan, kung finocus group ang iPad, it will never be invented. People will stick with a Walkman. Because you cannot imagine a life with iPad. Suddenly, now, nagiging necessity na ang mayroong ganoon." The relationship of the technology available and how you use it is key in a campaign.
MR: So how important will technology be in 2013 and going on to 2016?
ASC: It's going to get more and more important, but I would like to focus on its importance in the campaign vis-à-vis its importance to reform.
One of the biggest problems in the country is the amount of money needed to win a campaign, at kung paano babawiin ng politiko 'yon.
I remember when I ran in 2007, I was telling people that if they wanted to donate to me, do it regardless of how I can be of service to you personally, I'd rather that they do it anonymously and in small amounts.
For a politician, it doesn't make a difference minsan kung saan galing, basta mayroon para sa campaign. But that's not really true. Why?
If one person gives you P20 million, maniniwala ka bang walang strings attached 'yan? Unless tatay mo 'yon o lola mo. But if 20,000 people give you a thousand pesos, walang may hawak sa'yo. But how do you do it?
When I was campaigning, I walked everywhere, from humble areas, to the nice malls in Serendra. People would come up to me and say, "Sir, nakakahiya naman po..."--Akala ko may itatanong lang dahil usually ganoon kapag sinimulan ng "Nakakahiya naman po". Tinanong ko kung ano 'yon. Sabi sa akin, "Napanood ka namin sa ANC nung isang araw. Taga-ganito kami..." And they would pull out P500 or P1,000 and give it to me.
Why am I talking this way about technology? Imagine if we can get the cellphones to transfer money o parang load.
If 10 million Filipinos vote for you and some of them give you five pesos, or three pesos, you eliminate the influence of oligarchs. Not really eliminate, pero 'yung matapatan mo. Kahit 'yung mga offer ng mga drug lords, of smugglers, and the others, you'd have an instant reform.
That's why it was so important for a clean president to win. Because by just believing that our president, PNoy, walang may kayang humawak sa kanya, is a major reform by itself. Imagine if you can do that with mayors, congressmen, barangay captains, and senators, 'yung sinasabing regulatory capture, matatanggal mo.
It's really a balance of pragmatism and idealism in politics. It doesn't just apply in politics. Everywhere.
Everytime that I feel like giving up, and say, "Mag-enjoy na lang ako sa private or sa church and quit politics", two things inspire me. One is God's reminder that I am where He wants me to be at any time.
Number two, anywhere I go, ganito din. Sa church naman may politika din. Ang mga artista may politika din. Ang basketball may politika. Ang business may politika. May corruption din. Except that it is frustrating when you are in politics at gusto mo nang gawin ang tama, ikaw pa ang makakain ng sistema. Kapag gumawa ka ng mali, ikaw pa ang bida.
"Things happen for people who believe that it can. They happen for people who hope."
MR: What do you want to tell the young people who want to join politics?
ASC: Sa young muna. First of the important things to keep is faith. Faith in God. Kung ano man ang religious beliefs ninyo--multi-religion tayo sa Pilipinas. From that you will understand that you were created for a purpose. Second thing is faith in yourself. Huwag kang mawawalan ng tiwala sa sarili. And then hope. If you have those things, you'll find a way.
Minsan, hindi mo alam na dumadating. Dati, walang pag-asa ang Pilipinas, biglang nagkaroon ng natural gas at mga natural resources na nadiskubre natin. Kung anu-anong blessings ang dumarating sa atin.
Dati para umasenso, kailangan mag-abroad. Ngayon, ang mga call centers, sila ang lumalapit sa atin. Mataas ang sweldo.
Yesterday, nagkaroon ng graduation, P18,000 daw ang sweldo kapag call center. Pero times three kapag kaya mo mag-foreign language. Eh, ang pinoy, napakagaling tumambay. Tatambay ka na rin lang, kuha ka na din ng magtuturo sa'yo ng foreign language--Korean, Japanese, o Spanish. Times three ang sweldo mo.
Things happen for people who believe that it can. They happen for people who hope.
To those of you who are watching and participating here via texts or emails, or tweets, once upon a time imposible ito that you get involved in things like these. Ngayon, kayo ang bida.
I'll stop with this story. When my sister was planning on running, sabi sa kanya, "Pia, ang pulitika, madumi 'yan. Huwag ka nang sumali diyan." Every time, my sister would say, "Kung madumi, mas lalong dapat sumali ang malinis para luminis. "
'Yon ang challenge namin. Sasali kami sa sistema para linisin ang sistema. Pero ang sistema...
"Change things that you cannot accept, but accept the things that you cannot change."
MR: It's also trying to change you.
ASC: That's the paradox. Do you change the system before it changes you, or can you balance the two? That's why I love the words of JFK, "Change things that you cannot accept, but accept the things that you cannot change."
It reminds me that not everything is in your control, but whatever is in your control, it's your obligation to change it for the better.
MR: Thank you so much.
Thursday, September 29