Erap may be 'greatest' or 'worst' president
By Blanche S. Rivera
PRESIDENT Estrada is a work in progress, according to
a psychologist who studies types of intelligence.
Mr. Estrada will go down in history either as one of the
country's greatest presidents or the worst, said Jerry Perez
de Tagle, executive director of Integrative Learning
Everything depends on how Estrada will ''manage''
his emotional intelligence or EQ at this crucial time in
Emotional intelligence is a term coined to describe a
person's ability to function socially.
De Tagle said it was Estrada's ''very good EQ'' that won
him the presidency in 1998, but the ''weaknesses'' of his EQ
were bringing him down now.
''He has to do a quick turnaround and work on his EQ.
Unlike IQ (intelligence quotient), it can be improved,'' said
De Tagle, a former teacher in Syracuse, New York.
Estrada's popularity rating dropped drastically from 74
percent in May last year to 53 percent in December,
according to independent research organization Pulse
His approval rating also dropped 16 points from 44
percent in September to 28 percent in December.
Pulse Asia noted that no other president's popularity has
dropped as consistently as Mr. Estrada's over six
De Tagle used the leadership framework of John Kotter of
Harvard University and the multiple intelligence
framework of Howard Gardner in analyzing the
''He has the tendency to flare up in inappropriate
circumstances because he can't control himself,'' he said.
De Tagle said Estrada's emotional competence, which has
carried him along, was suffering because of his lack of
self-regulation and self-awareness.
This was the reason the President had become ''reactive''
and ''defensive'' to criticisms in the media, De Tagle
''He could not communicate his administration's agenda
because his time and energy are wasted on defending
himself,'' he said, adding Estrada's vision tends to be ''lost
in the mire of petty issues.''
De Tagle also noted that certain dubious characters and
numerous advisers surrounding the President had affected
his integrity and had diminished his trustworthiness.
''There's nothing wrong with advisers if you have a strong
sense of self-awareness, which he does not have,'' De Tagle
De Tagle also said ''there was a lot of blaming'' on the
President's part because of his feeble conscientiousness,
which caused him to often blame former President Fidel
Ramos for national problems.
Conscientiousness is defined as the ability to take
responsibility for personal performance. Both
trustworthiness and conscientiousness are sub-elements of
''Even his vices, they're all signs of internal problems,'' De
Tagle said in an interview with the INQUIRER in his office
in Quezon City.
De Tagle, however, was confident Estrada still ''has the
elements'' to ''salvage'' his emotional competence.
He insisted that Estrada was ''just overwhelmed'' but was
still ''optimistic,'' a very important trait for sustaining his
He said the President could also count on his motivation,
empathy and social skills--his strongest points--to ''work
on being a great president.''
''I think he can do it because he has this achievement drive
and commitment. He wants to be great,'' De Tagle said.
He added: ''His heart is in the right place, and if that is so,
then everything else can be learned.''
February 10, 2000
from Philippine Daily Inquirer Online Edition