Sen. Bong Revilla Jr. sneering in surrender behind what can only be a scripted smile before his fans is a sorry spectacle. It tells of the national tragedy of clueless millions who idolize “generous” leaders who are actually nailing them to the cross of perpetual dependence.

Ostensibly well-fed and finely dressed, the senator arrives in a caravan of luxury cars. He waves at poorly dressed and undernourished fans who arrive in cheap public transport. They cheer him on, shouting to media their matinee idol has “done a lot for us.”

Such tragedy. A marginalized people adoring political leaders who, by neglecting to act at the core of national problems, refuse to liberate people from lives of poverty. Instead, they treat symptoms by being “generous” during emergencies of the poor with dole-outs in medicines, temporary or casual jobs and outright cash using funds taken, legally or illegally, from the nation’s coffers.

The only way today to win an election is to be more “generous” with cash to voters than your rivals. Once in office, you work for re-election by being “generous” with “casual” and “temporary” jobs, with scholarships and free medical services,etc. As Cong. Lani Mercado once woefully admitted, “how can we do all this if we don’t have the PDAF?”

In this tragic scenario, all politicians do a lot for the poor. In fact, they do just about everything for the poor except liberate them from a life of poverty, ignorance and poor health. It’s a false and self-serving “generosity” because it is done only to get votes. Our “generous” politicians would rather keep people happy by throwing them the proverbial combo of “bread and circus” than by implementing the fundamental reforms needed to free people of the bondage of poverty.

Actors used to be just hired by politicians to provide the matching “circus” to the “bread’ doled out during elections. They have since realized that the game of Philippine politics is not played with brains and heart but with cash and entertainment, with “bread and circus.” Consequently, they have since “circus-ed” their way to power where the “bread”they use to stay in power comes easy.

Prisoner Bong Revilla’s plan, therefore, to run for the presidency might not be as delusional as some people think. After all, Erap almost won the presidency and became a mayor after prison. If we are not watchful prisoner Bong Revilla might just become a morbid joke of a president.

If, to borrow Ninoy’s words, Filipinos are worth dying for, then they deserve more than the “bread and circus” of traditional politicians. But we do need to strive that the arrest of allegedly corrupt officials should mark the beginning of the end of this national tragedy.