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Version 15 May 2009


In drawing up the criteria for selecting a presidential candidate, we need to avoid the following

• “All-or-nothing” approach in viewing candidates’ commitment/responses to our desired

principles and practices, while recognizing the essential importance of character and
• Inordinate sectoral/localized bias to the neglect of broader, cross-cutting, national agenda
• Formulation of principles/practices in broad “motherhood” terms that fail to provide concrete
basis by which to assess prospective candidates’ capacities to assume the country’s highest
public position



The basis for to assessing and eventually selecting CPM’s presidential candidate shall consist of
three categories:

1. Integrity and Track Record

By their past actions and choices, we shall know them. Presidential aspirants don’t come to
our attention in a vacuum or with a clean slate. Whether in public or private roles, they have
made choices, championed causes (or not), selected the company they move in, steered their
career (and family) in certain directions. We cannot and should not rely just on promises for
future action. By their past, they have given us a strong indication of how they will run the
country and where they will take it. Thus, our first category of criteria is Integrity and Track

2. Immediate, Strategic Agenda to Stop the Slide and Restore the Philippines in the Track
of Democratic Reform and Good Governance

The next President has the difficult task of leading the country out of what is arguably its
darkest period in recent history. The next President needs to have a firm sense of how s/he
will pull the country out of its current morass and restore it in the direction of Democratic
Reform and Good Governance in a period of extreme challenges confronting the entire globe.
Without abandoning our specific sectoral agenda, we need to be able to push for the next
President to boldly undertake a strategic national agenda which will address immediate,
lynchpin issues and problems necessary to reverse the grievous impact of the past years of

mis-governance and abuse and, thus, allow the space and momentum to build towards
sustainable reform and development outcomes. Thus, our second criteria-category is the
candidates’ proposed Immediate, Strategic Agenda for the presidency.

3. Capacity to Win Power for Reform

For a candidate’s good track record to be put behind and realize his/her bold reform agenda,
however, the candidate will have to win the elections. This is the necessary bridge between
the candidate’s track record and his/her immediate and strategic agenda. S/he will have to be
able to seriously engage in tightly contested national elections for the highest positions in the
land scheduled one year from now. Thus, our third category is the Capacity to Engage in
National Electoral Contest – the Capacity to Win Power for Reform.


1. Integrity and Track Record

1.1 Character and Credibility

• Has the NC held positions requiring public trust and credibility?

• Has the NC been implicated in corruption or grave public scandal? What about the
NC’s family members or close associates?
• What is the reputation of the people who are most closely associated with the NC?
• Has the NC been transparent in his/her transactions, whether in public office or in a
private capacity?
• Has the NC ever been caught lying, cheating, stealing or applying double-standards in
public or private transactions?
• Can we trust the NC to do what s/he says and to give us the real picture on the
problems facing the country?
• What is the NC’s track record in human rights, including respect for women and
children within his/her immediate circle of association? What is his/her track record
in dealing with minority groups and peoples?
• Has the NC demonstrated a love of country and value for the common good above the
interests of one’s family or close associates?

1.2 Competence

• What positions has the NC held up to now? Have these positions provided sufficient
experience and preparation to assume national office; particularly, for presidential and
vice-presidential candidates, has their experience prepared them to run an entire
• Has the NC had dealings of any sort with the bureaucracy? With what result?
• How about the NC’s dealings with public agencies? The private sector? The NGOs?
The basic sectors or people’s organizations? Did s/he promote meaningful

participation of these sectors in his/her previous positions in government or in the

private sector?
• What has been the NC’s experience in bringing about multi-sectoral and cross-
cultural discourse and consensus?
• Has the NC had any experience in foreign policy? Has s/he had experience in dealing
with the security sector?
• What is the NC’s background in economics and/or finance?
• For those running for legislative offices, what is their background in dealing with
national policy issues and legislation? Have they shown the discipline and
competence necessary to push a legislative agenda?

1.3 Public Leadership and Politics

• If the NC has previously been engaged in politics, what has been the NC’s party
record? Has s/he been a good party member, respecting and strengthening change
politics practice within the party?
• Has the NC’s family or close associates ever taken advantage of the NC’s position of
power or authority, whether in public service, the private sector, or civil society?
• Has the NC faced important crisis situations? How did the NC fare? Was s/he able to
take the lead and inspire others to face and overcome the crisis?
• Does the NC have a constituency base among the basic sectors, including minority
and marginalized groups? Is his/her relationship with the constituency empowering
or patronage-based?
• Has the NC been able to inspire and mobilize citizens to correct a particular injustice
in his/her area of responsibility?

1.4 Position Taken on Issues

• What position, if any, did the NC take on the following issues, especially within the
last 3-5 years?

 Poverty Reduction and Human Development (especially Education and Health)

 Political Reform (especially Electoral Reform and Decentralization/Local
 Good Governance (especially Anti-Corruption, Anti-Presidential Abuse of Power)
 Fiscal Reform
 Asset Reform (specifically, Agrarian Reform, Urban Land Reform, Fisheries and
Aquatic Reform, and Ancestral Domain Rights)
 Environment and Sustainable Agriculture (especially Mining, Climate Change,
and Sustainable Farming Practices)
 Human Rights (specifically, the issue of Extra-Judicial Killings and Martial Law
Abuses by the military and the police)

 Peace and Development (especially on issues of Equitable Budget for Mindanao,

Resource Use for Mindanaoans, and Bangsamoro/Lumad Right to Self
 Defense of National Patrimony and Sovereignty

• Aside from the list above, what other issues has the NC championed? What have
been the hallmarks of the NC’s public advocacy in the course of his/her career or
voluntary engagement?

2. Immediate, Strategic Agenda for the Next Administration

Considering the current dismal state of Philippine democracy and governance, the following
are the strategic, lynchpin issues which the next President should immediately address. We
will therefore ask the NC for president/vice-president positions how s/he intends to address
the following agenda within his/her “first 100 days,” without requiring any new legislation or
constitutional revisions/amendments. For the NC running for legislative office, we will ask
how they plan to address these issues in their legislative work:

2.1 To immediately stop the plunder of public coffers (e.g., How will the NC handle GMA,
her family and cohorts? How will s/he ensure that his/her own family/close associates
will not take advantage of his/her position for personal gain?)

2.2 To rebuild and strengthen democratic institutions (e.g., What is the NC’s plan with regard
constitutional bodies? How will s/he handle presidential appointments? How will the
NC restore checks-and-balance within the executive and across the three branches of
government? How will s/he balance respect for the autonomy of the LGUs, at the same
time ensuring their compliance with national laws/priorities, especially on asset reform,
people’s participation, and anti-corruption.? How does s/he view civil society/basic
sector participation in established governance bodies, especially the National Anti-
Poverty Commission/NAPC and local development councils?)

2.3 To raise sufficient resources and ensure proper allocation and spending of public
resources for priority programs (e.g., What is the NC’s plan for raising public revenues
and what are the priority programs on which public resources will be allocated? How
will s/he ensure transparency and accountability in the management of the national

2.4 To raise employment, productivity (especially in the rural areas) and ensure fair
distribution of public resources and the assets and benefits of production (e.g., What is
the NC’s plan for raising national productivity, especially in the countryside? How will
s/he generate the needed jobs during this period of crisis? How will the NC ensure that
the costs and benefits of development will be justly shared and the national patrimony
protected? How will s/he push asset reform in his/her “first 100 days”?)

2.5 To ensure social protection for the poorest and most marginalized sectors and
communities (e.g., What is the NC’s proposed program to protect the poorest and weakest

from the onslaught of the global economic recession? How will s/he address the problem
of displaced workers? How will s/he ensure that the specific needs of women, children,
the elderly, and persons with disability will be considered in the design of social
protection programs? Where will the funds come from and how will s/he make sure that
the programs reach the intended beneficiaries?)

2.6 To set the foundation for restoring the peace track with armed parties (e.g., Does the NC
have a plan with regard the government peace panels and OPAPP? What about the
reports of the UN Rapporteur on Human Rights, the Melo Commission, and the
Commission on Human Rights?)

Note: The intent here is not to present the NC with a detailed checklist of agenda items to
which s/he can easily accede. Rather, the above agenda serves as the basis for probing
whether or not the NC has thought about these issues; what is his/her position on these,
especially in the form of concrete measures by which s/he intends to address these strategic
concerns. Accordingly, this agenda will serve as the basis for engaging the duly elected 2010
President, especially in his/her “first 100 days.”

Note in handling Sectoral Agenda: To avoid the checklist approach in dealing with more
specific issue-based/sectoral agenda, it is proposed that CPM members focus on the NC’s
plan with regard appointments in key positions/bodies, budget allocations for programs, and
existing policy reversals/stalemates.

3. Capacity to Win Power for Reform

Objective measures will be used to assess the NC’s capacity to seriously engage in the
electoral contest for the highest positions in the country which will be held within one year of
the launching of CPM. These measures will include looking at the NC’s –

• Level of public recognition on a national scale

• Actual and potential extent of support constituency
• Access to or capacity to raise needed funds or comparable resources
• Actual presence of organized support and machinery in different parts of the country
• Alliances with other political forces

The deliberation period will be used to generate the necessary level of public support and
related capacities to seriously engage in national elections.