While other great nations land men on the moon, project naval power half way around the planet, and build research centres that churn out wondrous technologies that benefit mankind, Filipinos look to elect to higher office widows of “martyrs” who count “humility” as their primary qualification for office.
It is quite baffling that Filipinos are so smitten by “humble victims” to the point that they are placed on a pedestal to be worshipped as “heroes”. Filipinos are, after all, a people who for most of their history were humbled by powerful imperial conquerors. To this day, in fact, Filipinos bravely face the humiliation of having to continue to depend on a former colonial master for military support. You’d therefore think that Filipinos would, instead, prefer to hold up a brave gun-wielding revolutionary defender to embody their national archetype.
Indeed, the Philippines’ culture of mediocrity seems to extend to their taste for leadership. Instead of trailblazers, Filipinos prefer to be led by homebodies whose idea of harbouring a vision for their country does not go beyond the humblebrag of “personal sacrifice”. Unfortunately, without the fire of audacity burning in the heart of their leader, inspiration will fail to take hold in a country that has long languished in obscure wretchedness in a region of high achievers.
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Does Leni Robredo who is bidding for the Vice Presidency of the Philippines hold the key to rekindling the sort of acute motivation to succeed that 30 years of Yellow-styled governance had all but killed in Philippine society? The answer is no. Ask the average Filipino voter if she would vote for Robredo if she were, instead of the VP post, running for president. Therein the answer to that question lies the whole reason why Robredo is unfit for the role of Vice President.
Robredo and her supporters forget that the presidency is no more than a heartbeat away from the vice presidency. By all intents and purposes, the VP may as well be the president. That should be obvious to Filipino voters. The VP needs to be someone who could do as good a job as the president. Indeed, the likelihood that the VP will have to step up to the top position of the land during a time of national crisis is very real. Presidents are usually killed or incapacitated under freakish circumstances — like an act of war or terrorism. A VP needs to be one who could respond the way a fireman jumps out of bed at the sound of a fire alarm.
Is Leni Robredo up to the task of being in a constant state of preparedness to step up to the presidency over the next six years? As my colleague Ilda pointed out in her previous article, Robredo is a portrait of abject confusion…
Prior to agreeing to be Mar Roxas’s running mate, Robredo kept saying on record that she didn’t have any ambition to be Vice President. Now that she is in the thick of the campaign trail for her VP bid, she is saying the same thing about the Presidency.
Would you entrust a country of 100 million to a “leader” who is unsure about who or what she is to her people?
Worse, there is something to be said about someone who applies a piche-piche (wishy-washy) girliness to what is really a call to absolute statesmanship. There is no room for kiyeme (dithering) in Malacanang. As if it weren’t enough that, in the Philippines, Presidents and VPs are elected separately, not only does Robredo present herself as a VP that (1) could not work with just any president, she (2) is nowhere near coming across as being presidential to begin with.
Ideally, Presidents and their VPs take the journey of their term of office together swimming with the sharks as a team. Robredo will likely prove to be a liability to the president. She could neither swim nor tangle with sharks. As she exhibited in yesterday’s debate, she responds to pressure with tears instead of rock-hard testosterone-fuelled resolve.
It’s time Filipinos start learning important lessons about what being a real leader is all about. One cannot vote for a teary-eyed reluctant widow with motherhood issues and expect a strong nation to be built upon her back. It just does not compute.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.