Dark horse

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Friday, August 15, 2014


He is admittedly better than many of his predecessors. But President Benigno Aquino III is far from being the great president we had hoped him to be. He has done much but not nearly enough and not nearly as well as he could. He missed many opportunities at greatness. And when he admitted openness to a second term, he confirmed his status as essentially a traditional politician.

For only a traditional politician’s narcissism could make him support such a move, the same narcissism, only more extreme (“I am the best, I alone can do it”), that made Ferdinand Marcos declare Martial Law to extend his term. A selfless statesman would always entrust the future of his country to the smooth running of the democratic institutions he should help strengthen and refrain from unthinkingly tinkering with.

That brings us to the issue of his successor. Obviously he or she should be a person with the heart, wisdom and integrity to improve on PNoy’sgoodperformance.But the more we vet contenders JejomarBinay and Mar Roxas the more they demonstrate unfitness for the position. Both are currently trading common decency and moralityand throwing away all principles for a win.

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Binay is so intent on winning at any moral costthat he feigns support of PNoy’s programs even as he relies mainly on the support of convicted plunderer Joseph Estrada by openly endorsing the son Jinggoy, in jail to await trial on plunder charges, as his running mate in 2016. Of course, there is also the matter of Binay himself facing graft, corruption and possibly plunder charges.

Mar Roxas for his part is so intent on winning that, first, he blurted out a rather sinister proposal to give PNoy a second term.He probably thought this would for now close the door on Binay and give him a better chance at the presidency later, after the second term. Second, when the idea backfired he threw principle to the wind by suggesting that he is open to a Binay-Roxas tandem.

It is quite apparent that we have two unprincipled personalities vying to succeed PNoy whose term just happens to be coming to a tottering end.

Still, this is no excuse to weaken the country’s democratic institutions by tinkering with the constitution just to accommodate an individual even if he is a good president. We should just collectively and ever so determinedly seek out and ask somebody who fits the bill to run for the presidency.

We certainly do not want this country to continue being the playground of the corrupt. A second term, fueled by personal and collective narcissism will make it just that. So will a first term for either Binay or Roxas. We need a dark horse to break through the moral haze that envelops the country on the eve of elections.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 16, 2014.

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