Alan breaks my heart
I share the frustrations that Claude Lucas C. Despabiladeras expressed in his letter “Alan’s lame reply” (Opinion, 10/13/17). While reading it, I found myself nodding in agreement and at the same time lamenting the present-day Alan Peter Cayetano, who I considered to be a promising newcomer in Philippine politics a decade ago.
When Alan rose to national prominence as a newly elected senator in 2007, I started to observe him more closely. I learned that he earned his undergraduate and law degrees from no less than UP and Ateneo, respectively. When he spoke, he struck me as a lawyer with a top-rate legal and political acumen. Intelligent and eloquent, he articulated his ideas and position on issues impressively on the Senate floor and before the media. And to add, at the risk of sounding superficial, he was also not so bad to look at, had a dignified bearing, and was personable. For possessing these attributes, he had a well-wisher in me. He was proving early on that he could stand on his own, that he was not just merely the son of former senator Rene Cayetano and younger brother of then Sen. Pia Cayetano. Amidst several clowns and pretenders that had already penetrated the Senate then, Alan’s presence added credibility to it. He could be the hope of the country, I thought.
Now in 2017, here’s the kicker: He has gone off track.
Alan has the right ingredients to be a respectable, awe-inspiring statesman. But these things—educational attainment, intelligence, eloquence, and even bearing—all come to waste when the person’s moral compass is askew.
I myself was dismayed with his Al Jazeera interview. He defended the Philippine National Police’s ruthlessly unjust antidrug operations, maintaining that all their targets were— “YES!”—involved in drugs, and that for pointing a gun at the police during their arrest, they had their deaths coming. Really, seeing him dodge the rebuttals of host Mehdi Hasan made me squirm. By being disingenuous in that interview, he was also being heartless and insensitive toward the kin of those suspects who have been gunned down.
Now strangely devoted to Marcos-loving President Duterte, this present-day Alan is hard to reconcile with the Alan we all saw at last year’s vice presidential debate, where he really went after Bongbong Marcos on live television, lambasting him and his family (deservedly so) for the many human rights abuses during his late father Ferdinand Marcos’ dictatorship, among other sins.
I recently turned 60. At this stage in my life when I think about my own mortality more frequently, I wonder and worry about how my two children (in their late and mid 20s) and the rest of the younger generation will survive and succeed in this chaotic society when my husband and I, and our fellow oldies are gone. So I pray all the more for the Philippines to be led by public servants with unquestionable character and who are truly procountry. In my estimation before, Alan Peter Cayetano belonged to that category. But now is a different story.
Alan, my heart is breaking for you. I’m missing the old you. What happened? You know you’re better, waaay better than being Mr. Duterte’s…. haaayy…. never mind!
You need to do a lot of soul-searching.
ELLEN P. ABESAMIS, firstname.lastname@example.org
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