One political rule of thumb I strongly believe in, is that you don’t kick a man when he’s down. This is what doomed Estrada, and it almost doomed the President, and it might just doom her in the future.
Why do I bring this up, now? Rep. Prospero Pichay and friends, admittedly some of the most loyal and aggressive supporters of the President, just held a sort of rambling press conference at the Quezon Memorial Circle to denounce the following:
1. The U.S. charge d’affaires, Mussomeli, for proclaiming the cabinet members that resigned “irrevocably” yesterday, as “heroes.”
2. Three of the cabinet members that quit, Purisima, Parayno, and one other, of misdemeanors, mismanagement, and corruption. Pichay spoke with particular relish of one cabinet member who he says is in for it.
Here’s the danger in bringing these two points up.
First, the Americans will not be pleased that they’re being painted the bad guys (though, from the President’s point of view, they probably are) just when the President has achieved a strategic stalemate, and after her Secretary of Foreign Affairs played the China card with the help of the Speaker. America, we know, bides its time, then gets even. I simply don’t see the logic in hitting at the Americans, now.
Second, starting a campaign of accusations against the cabinet members that quit is not par for the course; it may be unwise tit for not sensible tat, so to speak. Purisima and company may have stuck their necks out, and the Palace may really believe they were attempting a Palace coup, but now that the cabinet members left government, they have retreated behind the walls of the Makati Business Club and Civil Society; they continue to have, within their own sectors, good reputations. A Pichay making accusations will only raise the hackles of these people, and resume the desire to push for a fight instead of pursuing the avenue of an impeachment.
A crude and frontal attack now, instead of steadily and studiously ignoring her former cabinet secretaries and even those calling for the President’s resignation, would be wrong, now. It will simply force her enemies to make more an effort at uniting instead of allowing them to bicker and argue over why the President managed to weather the storm.
If the President, or her people, decide to let out the goons, now, it won’t be good enough; it may terrorize some, for the short term, and give the President’s people a certain amount of satisfaction, but it will work against her in the end; magnanimity always gains more for a person in politics than vindictiveness.