Editorial: Looking beyond the drama

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Sunday, June 22, 2014


ONE week has just started and we hope there will be no other week like what we had last. We can only have enough drama on television news and last week, Senator Bong Revilla dished them out with much flair and extended exposure, with his wife Lani Mercado trying to win over sentiments because of the heat Bong had to endure behind bars, and yes, the pests.

Amid all the drama, what the scriptwriters don’t realize is that they are painting the portrait of a Senator who doesn’t really have any compassion nor association with the poor “masa” except for expecting them to line up for his Panday series with their hard-earned money to delude themselves in his make-believe compassion for the poor, and line his pockets because of our box office contribution.

It seems that this senator does not get it when he earlier said he had talked to the CIDG chief long before the ombudsman filed the plunder and graft charges and had asked the CIDG that “he be afforded the respect given a senator as he reiterated his strong stand to face the matter squarely and not to evade arrest.” I will surrender but don’t treat me like you treat all other Filipinos who gets charged, that’s what he is saying.

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Many a time we are presented with a robbery suspect, a kidnapping suspect, all criminals who have swiped several thousand pesos to a million, and they are treated much like criminals are treated even before it is proven that they are indeed robbers or kidnappers. Now a senator accused of pilfering billions of people’s money is asking to be afforded respect given a senator. He also can’t stand roaches and rats. That’s his way of saying, he is not like us, he deserves better that what anyone of us can ever get.

But does he really deserve better? Isn’t this a corrupted and misplaced sense of entitlement. He did say he is willing to face the charges and to surrender to authorities, now why is he demanding special treatment? Somehow, this puts to doubt his self-proclaimed willingness to face his accusers and the courts.

Truly, many of us in our own circle of friends in our own social network agree, this senator’s acting is out of bounds. But we shouldn’t be deluded that the masses are just as aware and as infuriated by his and his wife’s posturing. We’ve seen how Senator Nancy Binay has been the most vilified in the last election, which made us believe she can’t make it to the Senate. But she did, among the topnotchers at that. We didn’t give much attention to Senator Grace Poe Llamanzares and yet the people placed her on top. We got lucky with Senator Poe Llamanzares because while she seemed too quiet for a politician, people voted for her, and now she’s proving her quiet stance hides a real leader’s heart and sincerity. Lucky, sheer luck, because we have to admit it wasn’t her track record in public service that brought her there, where she is now enjoying the approval of many. She made it because she is the daughter of Fernando Poe Jr. Whether she or we admit it or not, we know this is a fact.

We weren’t lucky in how the majority have chosen popularity and popularity by affinity over integrity and thus we have the likes of those linked to multi-billion plunder cases yet demanding special treatment.

What does this mean? This means, we as conscientious Filipinos, should go beyond our social network rants and go out to reach out to the broadest masses to educate them on what a real public servant is and who befits our votes. This becomes more crucial because this early, politicians are already positioning themselves as seen from the advertisements we are now fed with on free TV. Things will get more turbid as 2016 approaches and we will once again be fed with political propaganda pretending to be public service clips, just to circumvent the limits of political ad spendings.

There’s still time, not much, but there is time. Voter education still has to reach the huge mass who have the biggest power to decide who wins or who loses, but there is no such massive initiative as yet. We just hope a real movement for change that reaches out to the broadest of masses will rise up from all these melodramas and we hope this will start right away. Otherwise, we can see more of these, or even worse than these, in the coming years and generations.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on June 23, 2014.

Opinion

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