With just a little more than two years to go, electioneering for the 2016 Malacanang power grab is starting to get into the swing of things. As in the past, showbiz celebrities, unqualified politicans’ offspring, and dynasty heirs and heiresses persist as the banes of “activists” championing a more “intelligent” vote. As expected, the usual election-winning machines are being set up. Vice President Jejomar ‘Jojo’ Binay, for example, is on the homestretch of a long and carefully-engineered decade-long journey to the top of the pile. The kick-off for his final sprint is in his recent bolting from his party, the “Partido Demokratiko ng Pilipinas (PDP)-Laban” to “form a new political party”. The cherry on Binay’s parfait is Batangas Governor Vilma Santos-Recto who, Binay says, he is “considering” as his running mate in 2016.
Par for the course in Philippine bobo-politics. Ask the question, What exactly does Binay’s “new political party” stand for? and you will probably get no more than the sound of pointed heads being scratched. Back in 2009 our call was simple: Platform Plez. The same call will likely remain unanswered considering that Filipino voters remain the same ignoramus bunch they’ve always been. And the same traditional Philippine politicians will, as usual, thrive in the same intellectually-bankrupt political landscape. No learning, no innovation, no reform. Just the same bulok brand of politics that has long been Filipinos’ warm and fuzzy comfort zone.
Wait a minute, though…
In fairneeeesszzz… there is a new trend in Philippine politics being shaped by today’s circumstances — the explicit endorsement of crooks (both accused and previously-convicted) as “viable” candidates!
Nowadays, with much of Congress and the Philippines’ old political establishments outed as dens of thieves following spates of corruption scandals, the idea that crooks are just as entitled to seek public office as the old traditional bozos is also being highlighted. Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, for example, reportedly insists that “a plunder conviction was not a deterrent to a political comeback”. Romualdez was referring to Senator Ramon ‘Bong’ Revilla Jr being a possible candidate for the 2016 presidential elections despite being the current subject of a plunder complaint alleging that he routinely skimmed “commissions” off his pork barrel allocations.
Well, what do we expect? Former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada set the precedent back in the late 1990’s and during the 2010 presidential elections as Romualdez himself observes…
“Remember, [Manila] Mayor Erap [Joseph Estrada] not only faced but was convicted of plunder and he almost made it in 2010. So, anything is possible in Philippine politics,” Romualdez said when asked if Revilla remained a viable candidate in the 2016 presidential election.
And who could forget “Senator” Antonio Trillanes III who despite being convicted for no less than rebellion managed to secure a get-out-of-jail-free pass and go on to sit in the Senate to “judge” no less than a Philippine Supreme Court Chief Justice in 2012. “Senator” Trillanes was one of a number of Filipino ex-military personnel who allegedly mounted a rebellion against the Philippine government in 2003 and again in 2006. The zeal with which they mounted this rebellion against the government of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was eloquently described by Constitutional guru Father Joaquin Bernas using these words…
They [the alleged mutineers] went through elaborate ceremonies which were meant to be symbolic of their noble goal. They seem to have considered their deed a patriotic feather in their cap and they will willingly assert that, yes, we did, even if we now regret having done it.
Last I heard, convicted rebels are put before firing squads in many countries. This is the Philippines, of course, where crooks are not only elected to public office, they are re-elected many times!
And here we were thinking that the ascent to the throne of the only son of Philippine national “heroes” Cory Aquino and Ninoy Aquino back in 2010 heralded the dawn of a new age of straight-and-and-narrow governance in this sad country. Filipinos should think again (assuming they do think to begin with). Way waayyyy back in 2000, a fanous modern-day Filipino philosopher lamented the oxymoron that is Da Pinoy’s concept of the “Ideal President”…
I’ve got news for you. (As if you didn’t already know.) No matter whom you put up there as your leader or president, it will be the same banana. Even a holy man can turn into another J. E. (Judas Escariot) for a few pieces of silver. Kumpares, alalays, relatives and cronies will encrust like flies and maggots on his cordon sanitaire. And it will be the same despicable “Sa amin na ‘to!” hullabaloo all over again.
Take an advice from Aling Epang: “Pumili ng matanda, mayaman, mabait, at madaling mamatay.” Get a president who is old – so that he is full of wisdom, rich – so he won’t need to steal more money, goodhearted – so he will render heartfelt service to his people, and is in the sunset of his life – so that he will think of nothing but gaining good points to present when he meets his Creator. And may I add: At iisa lang ang pamilya! This is, of course, asking for the moon. Just pray fervently for an intelligent leader with a pure heart who genuinely loves the common tao!
Magpakatotoo Kayo! Wake up and look at the real you. Enough with looking at your reflection in glorious, self-embellishing mirrors. The tropical sun can play tricks, you know. Do not wait for darkness to fall before you take that much-needed long, hard look at your real situation. Magpakatotoo kayo, ano? This isn’t a wake-up call-it is the final alarm!
Save the ship while you still can. Don’t wait till your people have no more dreams left to hang on to, no more hope to sustain their broken spirits. I came home, spent my penny-pinched savings so that even in the minutest way I could help your bruised economy. Your politicians sit on their fat,farting butts and get balatos (kuno!) in the millions. Receivers are as guilty as the givers. Now, tell me, who is really nasty?
That was all written in 2000. Fourteen years ago. It may as well have been written today.
You still think the Philippines has changed? Think again. And think about all these bozos running for “president” in 2000. Underneath all the gleaming high rises, “modern” roads, and tony shopping malls still lives the inescapable underbelly of the Filipino psyche — the same psyche that underlies that renowned Filipino habit of doing the same things over and over again, whilst expecting different results.
Don’t let some bozo tell you that things have changed — because they haven’t.
Don’t let some bozo tell you that things will change — because they won’t.
The only signal we should be listening for amongst the din of political and “activist” noise that will mark the next two years is one that describes substance and true innovation. This should be the bar we should set for ourselves in our effort to uplift the intelligence we apply to evaluating our politicians.
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