Brilliant Neric, dull Noynoy

Your karikna with teacher Neric Acosta (middle), and Steve Barreiro

AT THE END of my work week, I usually drop by Goro’s in Batac (City, finally!), all by my lonesome, and enjoy a bottle of beer or two before going home to Laoag. And that’s what I exactly did in the afternoon of December 29, the last working day of 2009.

I was halfway through my first bottle of SanMig Light when I received a phone call from fellow columnist Steve Barreiro. He asked me if I have time to meet someone I would surely find interesting. “He is a teacher like you,” Steve said, “and he is a senatoriable.”

Good old Steve was referring to Liberal Party’s Neric Acosta who was in town to grace the Damili festival of San Nicolas from where the latter traces his paternal roots. Of course, I know the guy. “Yes, I am coming,” I told Steve, although it was a half-hearted yes because I did not want to abruptly end my weekly date with myself.

Good thing Steve sent me a message right after the phone call: we can meet him at 10:00 at Rosewell Hotel tomorrow if you want.

And so in the morning of December 30, Rizal Day, I prepared to meet the guy, but not without doing some research. My stock knowledge about Acosta is only that he is a former Bukidnon representative and that he is a young member of the opposition.

What I did not know was how impressive his educational credentials are. He earned his PhD in Political Science from the University of Hawaii as a scholar, received an MA in Public Affairs from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and a BA in Political Science from UP. He also took special leadership programs at the Kennedy School of Government of Harvard University, and, in 2004, was named the first Filipino World Fellow of Yale University.

He is now Associate Professor at the Asian Institute of Management and the Ateneo de Manila University.

In his three terms as congressman, 1998-2007, he principally authored landmark laws on the environment, including, among others, the Clean Air Act, the Clean water Act, the Solid Waste Management Act, and the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act. Unlike most congressmen who are good only at 1) bench warming, 2) bootlicking with the bemoled queen, 3) and scrambling with the cholesterol-laden pork barrel fund, like one Ilocos politician the people have suffered from for over four decades, Acosta is one sensible legislator.

The 43 year old senatorial aspirant sat down with me and gave me generous time even as Liberal Party supporters from the business sector were waiting to meet him. We talked about a wide range of issues—from the environment and reproductive health to Noynoy stuff.

I was definitely impressed when he mentioned that his ardent support for the Reproductive Health Bill has caught the ire of at least two bishops in his place, and that this has even resulted to the burning of his effigies in demonstrations. You already know, dear karikna, how much I abhor public officials who cannot stand pressure from the church.

I shared with Acosta the results of the presidential survey conducted in our university recently, which shows Villar enjoying overwhelming support, Teodoro gaining ground, and Noynoy losing steam.

I hinted that Noynoy’s lackluster performance in debates may have turned-off the thinking class. His stances on issues are oftentimes compromised, and his statements are painfully canned. “You are a very brilliant man, you should work on Noynoy to sound sharper,” I told him. Truth to tell, the Kris Aquino-Boy Abunda packaging of Noynoy is not enough to sustain his lead until May 2010. Ninoy-Cory’s only son should not frustrate intelligent voters as he does now.

Acosta underscored that three important M’s are needed to win an election—Message, Machinery, and Money. Showing traces of youth’s idealism, Acosta said that while the Liberal Party may not match the machinery and money of traditional politicians, LP delivers the message loud and clear: time has come for clean, honest, and sincere governance.

I must concede that for most Filipinos, brilliance and vision are not as important as honesty and sincerity. “Hindi baleng bobo basta hindi magnanakaw,” the common tao say.

I concede, too, that, in this material world, rarely do we get everything we want. Still, I look forward to having a president who is honest, sincere, brilliant, and forward-looking, all at the same time. I will not vote for someone simply because of his parents’ legacies, and even if he has a receding (or receded?) hairline like mine.

I sincerely hope Teacher Neric fares better in the next surveys. Opinion polls show that if the elections were held today, brainless Ramon Revilla and Lito Lapid will again capture senate seats. Dios ko po.

Acosta, meanwhile, currently ranks twenty-something. He has a lot of work to do to win votes, both of the thinking class and the bakya crowd.

Anyway, he has already won mine.

Author: Herdy La. Yumul

A hesitant academic pimp, writer

12 thoughts on “Brilliant Neric, dull Noynoy”

  1. Neric Acosta a good ‘ole Phil-Am educated lad will get the votes of all my relatives, friends, and social acquinatnce from the Ilocos Region and Metro-Manila…you can count on me, I will surely pitch his name and this is what we need in a national elective position- a fresh, promising, and desire to serve the Filipinos.

    In a side note, it is just un-ethical and unfair to those elective officials serving as senator and at the same time sideling as an actor, like the one from Cavite. How stupid the Pinoys of electing actor figures in the like of Lapid, Revilla, Estrada and others knowing that their school of know how originates in the portals of “Ilang-ilang” and “Sampaguita” production studios. It is beyond my imagination that a serving elective senator figure receiving a Movie award in his term, ala lagari ng hapon- it bites in both direction. There has to be a massive drive to educate the voters of this country. Do these “three-stogees” deserves a taxpayers money for their salaries in the senate? It is very pathetic and enough said already…please pardon me for venting.

  2. I agree with you sir – Noynoy must improve his debating and speaking skills. I am pro-Cory and pro-Ninoy, but I’m not supporting Noynoy because he hasn’t convinced me yet. That’s why when a relative of mine who’s going to vote Noynoy knew about that, she said, “Well, that’s quite weird.”

    We indeed need people like Mr. Acosta in the government – he may not have the funds and machinery to have a grand campaign, but at least, he is someone that deserves to have a seat in the Senate, not unlike other candidates who – yes, have two of the three M’s and are famous – but would not do anything for the Philippines.

    A thing that I’m concerned about the elections is that the teachers who will serve in the elections still don’t know how to operate the machines. Look at

    @William S: Indeed, sir. There are two possible reasons about that: (1) they are simply famous; and (2) the masses are easy-to-get. I read in a newspaper about a year ago that Sen. Lapid filed a bill that can actually be just an ordinance by a municipality: seal food products.

    1. Noynoy can still have my vote, if and only if:

      1. He can make clear his position on relevant issues.
      2. He can manifest independent-mindedness.
      3. Do something revolutionary at Hacienda Luisita.

  3. @guiengarma: I do not have anything against the Aquino political dynasty but you are correct about the guy running for presidential office. He does not have the brains, experience, and political touch to rally his supporters and others on the sideline. The bottomline is he is a person who is just lucky to have the “brand” name of previous political figures. I could not believe that his foundation to run for the highest office of the land is through soul-searching and confining himself at the four corners of the monasteries in the Visayas and Mindanaos. I would think that he was given a “five-star” service during his stay at these monasteries which eventually convince him a presidentiable aspirant. Wheeeeew! I do not know what the nuns serves to him during his stay which dramatically change his “kuckoo-nests”. If this is his pattern- taking a two weeks hiatus with the nuns, before he makes a crucial decision for the highest office of the land then I will tell you that the Pinoys are in real deep trouble ahead. And do not tell me that his younger sister who is an actress and a dramatic figure will help him to run his campaign- I will not be surprised if the younger sister will help his political campaign with slogans such as- “the virtue of the Filipino Family” or “the virtue of a real Filipina”….

    I hope Herdy will not ban me with my post since he is an avid supporter of this political party. I have crossed the lines many times before but he has this professorial mindset that everyone deserves a second chance.

    1. Sir William S., I am not an avid supporter of the political party, and you have never crossed the line. And why should I ban you? If at all, what you deserve is a five-star commendation for the vibrant discourse you bring to this blog.

  4. I will also pitch the name of Gordon and Fernando as prezz and veepeezzz this coming election, ie, in addition to Neric Acosta…any more suggestions?

  5. I’m for NOYNOY for convenience since the presidency is in the brink of being purchased for 5 billion pesos by a shrewd businessman masquarading as para mahirap (ala erap circa 1998)..

    personally and i’m for GORDON as he is the most qualified among all candidates but as proven in the past, the most qualified is the least like among Filipino voters…

    In 1992, i voted for JOVITO SALONGA (the best president we never had), 1998 – RAUL ROCO, 2004 – RAUL ROCO, they all sadly lost…

    NOYNOY to prevent a VILLAR presidency…

    1. gemgem, I am seriously considering Noynoy, too. Villar has been raising a lot of question on my mind. He is increasingly becoming suspect.

      And let’s give credit to Noynoy, he’s been doing better in debates, and has even challenged Villar to a one-on-one, which the latter does not seem to seriously consider.

  6. Brit-brats gets us nowhere, we need to educate our electorates and coax them to vote the better candidates. But an empty stomach at present is a thing being considered first by the lowly voter, when a candidate gives out the cash. Still, they should just receive the cash but vote wisely. There is no shame for not paying respect towards a devil-politician who mocks a destitute.

    1. There are ways to ensure that paid voters deliver the goods. That is why they ban cameras and cellphones with cameras inside the precincts. The voter is sometimes asked to photograph his/her ballot and show it as proof of purchase 🙂

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