Being president

Noynoy Aquino

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.”

It was followed up by,

“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.

Cocoy Dayao

Cocoy is the Chief Technology Officer of Lab Rats Technica, a Digital Consulting company that specialises in DevOps, iOS, and Web Apps, E-Commerce sites, Cybersecurity and Social Media consulting. He is a technology enthusiast, political junkie and social observer who enjoys a good cup of coffee, comic books, and tweets as @cocoy on twitter.

Cocoy is also the Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief of the ProPinoy Project.

Cocoy considers himself to be Liberal.

  • Jay ,

    Looks like the sycophants stopped any meaningful input regarding this issue.

    Nobody knows how to be a president, but one of the qualities of that position is to be a LEADER. Taking initiative, being responsible and seeing things through will accomplish the small goals needed. Problem is folks, dear PNoy president is NOT a great leader, has not taken measures to accomplish these small goals and the those who still believe he has the capacity aren’t trusting on his past achievements that show this (which is NONE) but on his name and influence alone in the country. Which doesn’t mean anything as what we have seen after the fact, actions speak louder than words.

    Besides, which idiots would put someone who ISN’T prepared for the job in that kind of position anyway? I’m not surprised of the consequences that it took 8 hours to see things go down the drain. Especially when the structure and chain of command and responsibility is spotty at best, when Robredero is supposedly the guy by position who controls the PNP but the president’s beer buddy, Puno, is the one whom the PNP officially answers to?

    And that, dear friends, is what I called Faith without works.

    • regina galasa ,

      Bravo mahal na pangulo maraming mahalaga na bagay na naklaro mo sa panayam mo.

      you are honest and down to earth sa mga binitawan mong salita and that is so good nakakapagpataas ng moral at spirit.kabilang din naman ako sa mga libo libong nag comment at nagpahayag ng aking saloobin but never na yong tiwala ko saiyo ay na jaded.

      Hindi ko alam ang mga kakayahan mo at wala akong karapatan na husgahan ka o ang pamamalakad mo.I react on what i see, i think wrong on tv sa mga balita.May you want to prove or it maybe your way or personality na kakaiba ka at iba ka sa mga nagdaan na presidente pero sana wag kang padalos dalos dahil baka yong mga ayaw saiyo o mga gustong umagaw sa pagkapangulo mo yan ang gamitin laban saiyo,now i know you have probably learn a lot,ganyan naman we do learn what happens everyday in our life.The whole security measures sa ating saligang batas has to be taken seroiusly kasi baka,,baka lang mahal na pangulo mapahamak ka.Ingat po kayo at asahan po ninyo isa ako sa laging nagdadasal para sa iyo at sa ating bansa.

      • Jaime Agpalo ,

        Dear Mr. PNoy,
        Good Day Sir. I wanna congratulate you for a job well done in leading the Country against Graft and Corruption. You really deserve to be the true leader of Pinoys. I just hope that you don’t make a mistake or made a mistake in appointing people in your cabinet which is very crucial.
        I don’t want you to regret later on because you made a mistake in your appointments. I know how difficult it is to make these decisions, being that time is limited however, I want to remind you to be careful in doing these because people are always watching your every move.
        Your people want you to put the right officials in your cabinet. Your cabinet members should assist you in your position, not go against your will. You can only be successful depending on the officials around you. One bad egg in your basket can make all of your eggs become rotten.
        Again, I thank you for all the good deeds you have shown to your countrymen, both there and here abroad. Although we are here across the other side of the world, but we still care for our great nation, because it is our land of birth. Good Luck, Sir!!!
        Jaime Agpalo

        • reynz ,

          That’s right!! He has to learn faster. Get that darn learning curve perfected now! Like what you said, in a democratic society, it’s a given that there’s going to be diverse views and opinions and people gravitating to one another. Should this apply to his circle of cabinet? Maybe, maybe not. Then again, you also answered my question. He has to reign on this faction and stomp his feet. He is the boss. But there’s got to be a reason why these two factions exist. Noynoy said that the Hongkong tragedy will not define his Presidency. Agree. It’s his action and/or inaction towards the faction that will. And we have now just seen definition number 1. I won’t say it hehehe!

          • Bert ,

            Noynoy cracking the whip on Robredo would be a very idiotic move. Why should he do that when he himself was the one who relieved Robredo of his supposed responsibilities as DILG secretary for the police? The inutile Rico Puno should take all the blame for the fiasco having been given the job by Noynoy and accepted it inspite of his ineptness and lack of experience in the matter which Puno admitted. The whip should be cracked on Puno. Not only that, Noynoy should remove him from his government before he can do more harm to the administration.

            Sacking Robredo would be an idiotic political move as well for President Noynoy. He would be creating a very potent political enemy in Robredo if having been treated unfairly Robredo would join the political opposition.

            Mr. President Noynoy, I voted for you. I don’t want to lose my trust in you. I love my country and my people. Please take good care of them.

            • UP nn grad ,


              President Aquino was reluctant to sign the appointment papers of Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo that was causing complications in foreign relations. Although Romulo took his oath of office first week of July, his appointment was signed only on August 10. As a result, Romulo missed the 43rd meeting of foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Hanoi on July 20, since his lack of an official appointment prevented him from signing official international agreements for the Philippines.

              “Little President” Ochoa would say don’t worry, and would just repeat the words of his boss, President Aquino:
              “Our problems now, in two or three years we can say that they are laughable when we recall that they were not that grave”