BETING LAYGO DOLOR: His indecision will be his undoing

Fans and followers of Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. have been hoping that he would display the same kind of leadership that his father, dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos, had in his peak years, before his lupus weakened both his mind and body.

For all his many, many faults, the late strongman was exactly that – a man who was physically strong and mentally ready to handle the reins of the Philippine presidency.

Don’t get me wrong, folks. Ferdinand Sr. was a ruthless and corrupt leader, too. He had all the makings of being a great president, but he let his and his wife’s lust for power and wealth get the better of him.

But Senior was able to hold on to power for two decades because he had the wherewithal to stay on top even after he had lost the legitimacy to stay president.

Under the old constitution, he was entitled to a maximum of eight years as president, on the condition that he win a second four year term legitimately, which he did.

He first unseated then President Diosdado Macapagal, before defeating Serging Osmena. This gave him the mandate to rule for another four years, but no more.

He had other plans, it turned out. Marcos Sr. loved the trappings of power so much that he illegitimately remained in Malacanang by declaring martial law, under the guise of saving the republic from those big, bad communists.

In fact, he and his wife Imelda were amassing wealth so huge that no one knows for sure how many billions of dollars the Philippines’ first and only power couple had stashed away in various places in and out of the country.

But Senior and his wife also had other plans besides keeping the power and money that came from his illegitimate presidency, which was to groom their only son to one day become president as well.

First daughter Imee might have been the better choice because she was clearly smarter than Junior. But alas, Imee had little control of her emotions as shown by her grabbing the husband of one of the country’s international beauty titlists at a fairly young age.

She would then move on to other relationships, most of which she has kept hidden from the public.

Junior, however, followed the preferred path of marrying a woman from a known and respected family, but only after spending a few wild years living the good life in Europe and the US.

Even after the family was kicked out of the country, the dream or the plan remained, and it began by first making a physical return to the Philippines, then re-establishing their political power base.

The family was focused on one thing and one thing alone, and that was for Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to assume the presidency when the time was right.

That time came in 2022, and despite indications that the presidency was theirs as a result of massive but brilliantly-executed cheating, it was a case of mission accomplished.

But what then?

A good many political analysts pointed out that Junior was ill-equipped to handle the Philippine presidency. He did not even have a college degree which would have shown that he was studious enough in his youth to achieve the hard task of earning an honest to goodness bachelor’s degree in anything.

It was also learned that his own father had concerns about Junior, who was considered too lazy and immature to become an effective president.

Everything is coming to pass now.

President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. expects to be given full support in his first 100 days as chief executive – the traditional honeymoon period all presidents are entitled to – and perhaps it would be unfair to state that his presidency is already doomed to fail.

But there are already red flags waving all over the place. The sugar import mess has become more complicated after Junior’s executive secretary has been revealed to have taken an active role in allowing the imports, but denying that role when it was deemed as questionable.

Junior himself was reportedly told of the planned import to ease the growing sugar shortage that has resulted in food and drink manufacturers temporarily stopping operations, but is said to have neither approved nor disapproved of the plan.

In other words, the president has come across as providing wishy washy leadership in the middle of a food crisis.

He is mostly dependent on carefully crafted speeches that don’t say much. The days and weeks of his young presidency are passing quickly, and he still hasn’t accomplished anything noteworthy.

Worst of all, some of his appointees to top government posts have been found to have no qualifications at all, except being his avid supporters who donated millions to his campaign.

In letting his appointees do whatever they want to do, and taking the helm of the Agriculture portfolio even with his total lack of knowledge on how the bureaucracy works, his administration may not be doomed to total failure, but at the very least it is headed nowhere, and fast.

If he has not learned the lesson yet, he should know that a press release presidency cannot work. If he makes empty promises, his weaknesses will immediately become clear.

Let no one forget that he promised to bring down the retail price of rice to P20 per kilo. Instead of sliding to that level which would have delighted most consumers, the price of the prime commodity has steadily risen.

As acting head of the Agriculture department, he has also presided over shortages not only of sugar, but of salt, onions, rice, and flour as well.

The time is soon coming when he can no longer say, “I’m still new, guys. Gimme a chance, why don’t you?”

That light at the end of the tunnel that Junior sees is actually the light of an incoming train that will hit him where he lives, sooner rather than later.

Because he is so unprepared, and also because he does not have the mental capacity to be a good chief executive, or even a mediocre one, this second Marcos presidency will be just as bad or perhaps even worse than the original Marcos regime.

And we all know how that ended, don’t we?