The elaborate zarzuela being foisted on us by the Duterte father-and-daughter duo and their acolytes would be amusing if not for the fact that ironically the joke is on us Filipinos. They shamelessly peddle the lie that they seek office not for their own gain and glory but to serve the people and to complete unfinished important governmental business. One dreads what they mean by that.
Not only have they presided over a country that has performed the worst in ASEAN in responding to the pandemic, they have also plunged us precipitously down the global corruption index, and reversed decades of economic growth to yet again perceive us as ‘The Sick Man of Asia.’  Where Pharmally and Udena will forever become the epitome of cronyism unmatched in our history. Where they have set the record for killing its own people through its murderous anti-drug war, namely with EJKs and its botched handling of the pandemic. Where instead of fighting for our sovereignty, it has willingly subverted itself to a foreign regime in exchange for unfulfilled promises of economic largesse for the country.
Rodrigo, the father, in a fit of pique over his petulant daughter’s behavior, has put forward his bag carrier, the “pambansang photobomber” to be the next President of our beleaguered country in an effort to extend his misrule. DU30’s confidence in his “boy” stems from his being able to get his court jesters elected to the Senate. Thus inspired, Panelo and Roque, have thrown their jester’s hats into the (circus) ring. And just to be certain he has all bases covered, their master has also joined the fray.

Sara, the daughter and reigning denial-queen, has teamed up with the feckless son of our only other despot to date. The son who relies entirely on his surname since he has little to show in terms of meaningful accomplishments for his entire public life and who even has repeatedly lied about his higher education. This will explain why he employs an army of trolls to burnish his name by changing the narrative about his father being a hero rather than the plunderer who destroyed our economy and who was responsible for the death and disappearance of thousands of our countrymen. He tells us to move on while he files a claim for the rest of the plundered wealth that is not yet securely in his family’s hands. But he clearly still has more than enough means to revise history, delude our people and defame the opposition with his vast army of trolls. Means stolen from us. “Niluluto tayo sa ating sariling mantika.” Would it not be to our eternal shame as a people, admired by the world for our courage to have peacefully overthrown the failed Marcos regime, only to then elect the unrepentant son who is a convicted tax cheater to boot?

Do we really want more of these kinds of leaders in the next six years or more? Enough is enough! We have been made fools enough by these self-proclaimed saviors. Let us stop this cycle of electing politicians so they can enrich themselves while impoverishing the rest of our people with their misgovernance and corruption. We should by right feel angry, aggrieved and abused. Let us regain the moral compass that we have somehow lost along the way. Let us put faith in strength of character, competence, honesty, decency, and empathy for the poor as the attributes we want our leaders to have.

As a Father Villarin, S.J. meme that has gone viral, says in selecting who to vote for, “if you follow the commandments – do not kill, do not steal and do not lie – ‘dun pa lang iiksi na listahan.” In that “maiksing listahan,” of those who do not kill, steal or lie, Leni Robredo stands out. She is not a trapo and, importantly, does not belong to any political dynasty. She has shown that despite being provided limited resources and burdened by all the constraints placed on her by this Administration, she has nevertheless delivered for the country. Above all, she has shown with her track record, real and not feigned empathy for the poor and disadvantaged.

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