The customary puff pieces for Yorme are out. Or is it Yelorme? AksYorme? The political marketing of Isko Domagoso has begun. The Opposition loves picking up sock puppet candidates whom they can mold like clay, into what they perceive to be their ideal. Isko is the latest incarnation. Cory Aquino was a housewife ranged up against the powerful “dictator”. Her son Noynoy was the idiot-savant, Boy-King son who would undo what predecessor Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA) did in terms of corrupt practices. Robredo was the kryptonite to the “son of the dictator’.
Now we have the “nangangalakal” tricycle driver who climbed out of poverty through showbiz and self-improvement. Isko is a more polished Duterte. More steeped in development-speak, when provided with a script — the one willing to listen to and do the bidding of whose whose got their hands up his behind. He comes neatly wrapped in a nice package. The image is akin to him being the long-lost brother of Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto, who didn’t have the benefit of an education because he was shunned by his stepmother and went on to do good by himself. Now there is a either a rivalry or he acts as mentor to the younger sibling.
The packaging is straight out of a komiks novela from earlier times. Doy Romero in his Inquirer piece “Yorme and the ‘’wag dugyot’ factor” writes, “Isko Moreno is deliberate, resolute, and focused. In time, people will why Willie Ong was chosen to be his right-hand man. To Yorme, this is a matter not only of providing medical solutions, but more importantly, Isko Moreno is deliberate, resolute, and focused. In time, people will understand why Willie Ong was chosen to be his right-hand man. To Yorme, this is a matter not only of providing medical solutions, but more importantly, communicating as widely and effectively as possible to the people what, and how, collective action needs to be taken over the long haul.”
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I doubt very much if Isko understands this. The other day, he couldn’t even answer a simple question about what he’s learned from his loss in 2016 which was his first run for national office. Any other politico would’ve been able to answer a question whose answer comes from what he experienced. On the same day, he gave Rappler time for an extensive interview. His answer to the question about the International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation into the drug war and all the antecedent issues about it leaves viewers with their heads spinning. It’s obvious that he cannot be let out on his own because he’s not ready yet.
Never mind this fact. What’s more important is the anti-Duterte oligarchs have a bet in the Presidential horse race. His handlers assume that the masa will fall in love with Isko and vote him into office the way they did with Rodrigo Duterte in 2016. The basic difference is Isko has good looks but no charisma. Duterte is not good-looking but has charisma. Duterte is not a performance politician either. While not an honor student, it is evident that he’s a wide reader. The same cannot be said of Isko. His platform is going to be made for him as with everything else. What he is, is a mouthpiece, the medium that delivers the message. To put it bluntly, he doesn’t have his own mind. This is why he’s the perfect candidate for the anti-Duterte oligarchs.
A politician of principle would think twice about not honoring a promise he made to his constituents of transforming their lives for the better. The other day Isko was busy justifying his decision to seek higher office. If he wins, he will just be moving from City Hall to Malacañan, he says. He would still be able to help his designated successor, Honey Lacuna. But that’s a big if. His argument about his running mate doesn’t hold too much water either. Willie Ong is a good candidate for Health Secretary but you don’t get a running mate just so you can appoint him to the Cabinet. What does Ong bring to the table aside from his knowledge about health? The justification that we are in a pandemic is obtuse. Ong cannot miraculously end the pandemic. Our inability to contain the virus is largely due to the lack of planning at the national and the local government unit (LGU) level. This is the kind of attention to detail that was practiced last during the Marcos administration.
Isko wasn’t able to transform City Hall during his tenure. The vultures are still there. Institutional reforms are non-existent. The distribution of social amelioration for lockdowns involves the withdrawal of cash from the Landbank and the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) branch across City Hall and dividing the cash manually and putting them into envelopes for distribution. The same is true for the stipends he mandated for students of public schools and the two universities under the LGU.
Isko lacks both the educational background and experience. He hasn’t even been around the country yet. As far as peace and order goes, he’s close to the leadership of the Communist Party of the Philippines and its terrorist arm the New People’s Army (CPP/NPA). Does he have the gravitas to finally put an end to the communist insurgency in the same manner Duterte was able to bring peace to Mindanao? We need a President who possesses the vision of the paradigm shift. What we need in the new normal is transformation. The pandemic has caused disruption in all aspects of our lives. To address these, we need a leader who is cognizant of the disruption that has taken place and will put into place measures to address the same.
Isko’s glass ceiling is very low. He has already hit it when he made his declaration that he is running the other day. He will break it one of these days and we will see that beyond that, he has nothing more to offer. It is dangerous to elect a President who doesn’t have a mind of his own. With the country at a crucial crossroad, Isko is not fit to be President.
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