August 23, 2010 marked the end of a honeymoon period for the newly elected government of Aquino. It was bloody mess that left several Hong Kong residents dead, and the hopes of a nation brought back to Earth. Of the botched hostage taking, The truth liberates, at midfield wrote. Doy wrote Missing the Point, while Jay rebuked columnist Esposo and he sifting through the wreck. The anti-pinoy Ilda says PNoy encourages a culture of distrust.
Weeks later, the second President Aquino stood before three members of the press representing the major news organizations in the Philippines to set the record straight.
Some people felt that the press conference didn’t help at all. Some say, it was filled with excuses. It was pretty clear that the President remarked— given the resources and the moment at hand, would he have done something else? Perhaps that soul searching is needed.
Should he simply fire someone to prove a point?
What is clear is that emotions can’t rule the day. We need clear cut data. However it unfolds, what is clear from this government is its need to discover the facts before making a decision. Should the situation warrant it— the Department of Justice is free to act.
During the press conference, Aquino himself talked about a letter from the government of Hong Kong, which in his words was not so strongly worded, but the language used was inappropriate.
If you would recall, Tsang of Hong Kong bypassed protocol to talk to Aquino. In a one China, two systems, Manila talks to Beijing. Donald Tsang sounds and talks like the consummate politician that if he lived in the Philippines would be labeled as a “Traditional politician.”
Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. Donald Tsang is an appointed official of Beijing to run Hong Kong. The Standard once wrote about Tsang slowly creeping back into Hong Kong people’s hearts. Global Voices had a post titled, “Hong Kong: Donald Tsang please die!“
Last week, the public was outraged by the Chief Executive Donald Tsang‘s remark on June 4 Incident in the Legislative Council’s policy address in May 13. When asked about his personal view on the vindication of June 4 student movement, he answered:
“I understand Hong Kong people’s feelings about June 4, but the incident happened many years ago. The country’s development in many areas has since achieved tremendous results and brought economic prosperity to Hong Kong. I believe Hong Kong people will make an objective assessment of the nation’s development.”
He then claimed that his view represented the general public’s opinion, which invited more criticism as he was not elected by Hong Kong people. ESWN translated a poll from HKU and the public opinion showed that more than 58% said the Chinese government was wrong in the June 4 repression, although a majority of the public believed the human rights condition has been improving in the last three years. (Detail reports and polls see ESWN)
Tsang’s actions in recent days were petulant and unbecoming of a supposed leader of an almost city-state. Of the situation in Hong Kong, Jesusa Bernardo over at Philippine Commentary published, the racists among the Hong Kong Chinese, kindly listen to Jackie Chan.
It is already a charged and emotional situation in Hong Kong. Too many lives lost. Aquino in a moment of reflection said he felt the weight of those lives lost.
Robredo seem on the way out— his relationship with the president already tenuous to begin with. Barrio Siete published, PNoy’s ex-campaign volunteers launch, “Save Robredo” campaign. I have already liked it and encourage you to do the same.
So what contributed to the inefficiencies everyone has already agreed were there in the first place?
Maria Ressa, head of news and current affairs of ABS-CBN wrote that Aquino flunked his first test, would there be an act of contrition should the final word comes out of the Department of Justice that Media had some fault in the matter? The lack of penance from the media is unsurprising and completely expected of course.
Ressa raised the question of whether factions in government exist. It makes for a good story, after all. Scandals and intrigue are tantalizing and drive traffic and ratings. Of those factions, the President stopped short of admitting, preferring to say that his government, as did during the campaign is built on diverse groups of people.
In a democratic society, how can there not be diverse views, and differences of opinion? How can there not be cliques formed? How can there not be people who gravitate to one another?
Children do it. High school cliques form. University going young adults have their friends. Officemates gravitate together. In a group of highly successful and often smart people such as the cabinet and those who back the president privately— how can there not be people who group themselves to one side or another?
The President in business terms is the country’s chief executive officer. So many people are questioning the role and leadership of the President. They are both right and wrong. Fred Wilson, a venture capitalist quoted a very experienced venture capitalist in what a CEO does, “A CEO does only three things. Sets the overall vision and strategy of the company and communicates it to all stakeholders. Recruits, hires, and retains the very best talent for the company. Makes sure there is always enough cash in the bank.”
“Don’t be a bottleneck. You don’t have to be an Inbox-Zero nut, but you do need to make sure you don’t have people in the company chronically waiting on you before they can take their next actions on projects. Otherwise, you lose all the leverage you have in hiring a team.
Translation: hire great people and let them run. The President is slowly encouraging this movement in government.
Mark Suster wrote:
Once you’ve been around for a few years, attracted some great people, landed real, paying customers and raised venture capital you’ve likely got a talented team around you. Almost definitionally very talented people will butt heads. It’s your job to give people enough space to flourish without conflict, resolve conflicts when they do occur, encourage your team members to perform at their best and set the culture by which they ultimately treat their colleagues and staff.
The point really isn’t that there are factions in government. The point isn’t even should we determine who the president appoints as his alter ego? It is the President’s prerogative as Chief Executive to choose his own Cabinet. What we’re missing, and I think most people would agree isn’t that we should focus on the factions, and the personalities, but that the President ultimately needs to crack the whip and that the people around him recognize that though friends, ultimately Aquino is boss. That’s the President’s job, and if there was failure in the last few weeks that Aquino should own up to, he slipped in that.
Another well respected venture capitalist, Howard Lindzon wrote another good thing about being CEO, he said that you need thick skin, “As you start to succeed, you will hear from people like me…’armchair quarterbacks.’ If you really succeed, everyone wants you to fail eventually so you need even thicker skin.”
While I never took on the title, for 18 months when I was 23, I was Vice President for less than a year when I was forced to act as CEO. I never had an interest in it before, and didn’t know what the hell I was doing. In that short span of time, I learned, don’t hesitate. There is a difference between strategy and tactics. You know your strategy, don’t deviate from it, but also don’t hesitate to tweak tactics. It doesn’t matter how you get to the goal, just so you do. Hire the best people you can get and let them run it.
Nobody knows how to be president, except people who have already done it and they’ll be approaching it differently. And if this armchair quarterback would be so bold, crack the whip, and learn fast, Mister President. This is the pro-league, now sir.