by Mei Velas-Suarin
Our voting history somehow does not give much hope. We say, “We need change.” Unfortunately, it seems that such a statement for hunger for change is just a lip-service. We are not serious about wanting change. We just like how the words sound. As if by saying those words, we are truly becoming nationalists. Are we, really? I don’t think so.
Because come May 10, 2010, we are still voting for the old politics. The old bananas. Noynoy Aquino. Manny Villar. Gibo Teodoro. Dick Gordon. Loren Legarda. Mar Roxas. Bong Revilla. Lito Lapid. Juan Ponce Enrile. Ralph Recto. And the list is endless. I give my thanks and respects to the old guards like Sen. Enrile but…
What is the most tragic part here? We are voting for a president based on popularity and emotions. Not by platform or a genuine promise for a new day. (I certainly do not favor a Villar presidency. Let me reiterate my stand once again: I am voting for Nicanor Perlas.)
And so today, I woke up with sadness. Because I realized that Noynoy Aquino may just win the presidential race. The latest INC endorsement for the presidential bid of Noynoy Aquino may have just clinched the tide in his favor.
I fear another Aquino presidency.
Why do I fear his brand of politics?
I fear his brand of politics because it looks like it is based on opportunism. With all due respect to him and his Mother (I am still a Cory fan), I really think that deep in our hearts, we know that Noynoy will not even consider running for President if his Mother were alive. And that if Tita Cory is still alive now, and her son still decided to run, I am fairly sure that she will not give his blessings to him. Why do I believe so? Because Tita Cory is a woman of intelligence and discernment. She knows the capacity of her son and being a president is certainly not one of his strong competencies.
Sadly, however we look at it, the death of Tita Cory gave him the idea and motivation to run. Not even the dreams of Mar Roxas stopped him from wanting the top post. Never mind the ultimate dreams of Mar. The swelling of yellow colors right during Tita Cory’s funeral march told him, “run, run, run!” These yellow-bearing people need another hero and you are the hero, Noy! Are you, really?
In the deepest of your heart, do you really think you are the hero that we are hungry for? In the deepest of your heart, do you honestly believe your Mom wants you to run? Mga kababayan ko, is he really “the One”? Why are you voting for him?
Popularity? The emotional pull of Tita Cory’s death? His ‘clean’ image? Are these reasons enough? Aren’t we looking at the wrong reasons? We certainly need honesty and integrity. Oh, we are all crying for that! Making it No. 1 criteria for choosing the next president. But is Noynoy the only one who has that? Look at the other candidates: Nicanor Perlas, Eddie Villanueva, and JC de los Reyes; they seem to me people of integrity and better yet, had not been tainted with the colors of old politics. They are new and fresh faces. Why couldn’t we try them?
Oh yes, we go back to popularity. See now? We always end up to voting for those who are popular. And then later we blame the government for the poverty around us. Haven’t we learned enough? We certainly deserve the government we voted for. We voted for popular names and so we live with it. This is not even about Noynoy per se. It is about us, Filipinos. The way we squander our voting power.
Under a Noynoy presidency, you give up the right to complain if you voted for him. If our poverty level remains the same during a Noynoy presidency, I will blame you for it. Because you, the majority, those who belong in the yellow army, took away my voice.
Noynoy reminds me of an old salesman who never really sold anything in his long career as a salesman but will suddenly earn the CEO post in his company because the owner (who is loved by millions) suddenly died.
So the millions who are enamored with the dead owner cannot let go of his memories and suddenly, just like magic, turn their hearts and souls to the son whom they think will save the company from downfall. Because he is the son of the old hero.
Sadly, the voice of the minority who knows a much better and competent manager (but who is not a relative of the dead owner) will just slowly fade away in the deafening and almost-hypnotic screams of the millions who believe that the son is indeed the savior.
Is Noynoy really clean? No one can judge. But what is ‘cleanliness’ really? Is it enough that he did not steal? That he was never associated with any scandalous transactions in government? I don’t think so. Cleanliness and integrity, when it comes to the top post in the political ladder, should always be associated with making one’s powerful position very useful. I said it once before: positions of power are privileges. You are not voted into power and then just sit there, listen, vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ or ‘abstain’, go home, and sleep contentedly at night. The votes were given to you because you are entrusted with the task of making a BIG difference. Voting for laws is NOT making a difference. Not stealing from the public coffers is certainly NOT making a big difference. Being honest is certainly not something that should earn our politicos the accolades. We thank Noynoy and vote for him because he is clean and honest? Napaka-baba naman yata ng standards natin for a President!
Let us not forget that Noynoy had three terms in Congress and one in Senate and yet we all know he did not really deliver exemplary performance. He is talking so much about corruption in his TV ads but what did he really do while he was within the system? Suddenly, now, he is talking about corruption? Naman…
Please think about your vote for another Aquino. Noynoy is of the same mold as old politics. He is not the ‘newness’ that we say (?) we need now, more than ever. He comes from an old lineage of politicos who own vast tracts of land and who up to now, refuse to relinquish ownership that would have otherwise improved the lives of thousands of farmers and workers. This is not even about the rich and the poor. I also believe that all classes should have equal rights. I never liked the campaign lines that say, “Para sa Mahirap” because it is already divisive. It is like saying one’s poverty already earns him certain privileges. I do try to avoid that kind of thinking. But yes, it is important for a presidentiable to know what to do when he is in the seat of power. Noynoy had the chance to work for meaningful changes while in Congress and Senate. At least he could have tried to do something for the farmers of Hacienda Luisita.
You may say, “But he has promised to distribute the Hacienda Luisita to the farmers in five years!” Really? But why is he saying that only now?
Because he needs your votes and sadly, you will give it to him. *
This essay is not a work of Pinoy Panitikan contributors.