Morals and principles, not gender, are what’s important in choosing next president | Inquirer Opinion
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Morals and principles, not gender, are what’s important in choosing next president

04:00 AM January 22, 2021

It is not surprising for a misogynist President to put down the capacity of any woman, including that of his daughter. His mouth once again spouted derision against women, saying, “Alam mo, the emotional setup of a woman and a man is totally different. Maging gago ka dito.” For the macho President, the job is not for a woman.

He has no sense of history, and how the country’s women heroes have exemplified bravery and capacity.

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The Office of the President or any other office must be reserved for people who put the highest value on human and people’s rights, and respect for women, the LGBTQ+ community, and marginalized sectors. It should also be led by people who have a sense of nationalism and uncompromising principle to defend our sovereignty, as well as a genuine interest to serve the people. We need a leader—woman or man—who is respectable and of whom we will be proud as a nation.

We need a leader—man or woman—who:

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1) Does not pretend to be pro-poor. Until you “smell like sheep,” you are not truly pro-poor. The pastoral advice of Pope Francis to pastors and priests that they should smell like their sheep is also true for leaders of our nation.

2) Does not use women as entertainers or sex objects in electoral sorties.

3) Does not attack political opponents on their personal weaknesses or physical appearance, but engages in intelligent, sensible, and meaningful debate.

4) Does not “keep the option open” on issues that matter most to the life of the nation and of the people. When asked about his or her position on the Mutual Defense Treaty or foreign policies like the Philippines’ relationship with China, the United States, and other nations, onerous debt payments, freedom of information, peace talks, accountability on drug-related and political killings, etc., the country’s leader must answer directly with a YES or NO, or Support or Non-Support, then explain why. “Neutrality” is merely an escape from principled option and accountability.

5) Does not promise people peace when he/she means the surrendering of the people’s democratic rights or the option of the people to take the path of resistance, rooted in the historical tradition of Andres Bonifacio, Macario Sakay, Gabriela Silang, and other heroes of our land. A leader must know that peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front are to address the root causes of the armed conflict, and not to make the other party surrender to the other.

6) Does not use the name of God in vain. Spare God from manipulation.

7) Does not use the poor and promise them the moon and the stars. What they are interested to know is whether the country’s leader will increase the salaries of workers and emancipate farmers from centuries of feudal bondage. Farmers and workers are the majority of our people. They should be part of any political and economic platform.

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8) Does not teach people to forgive and forget matters that offend the people and the nation’s pride. A leader should make sure that corrupt officials, plunderers, violators of human rights, and traitors to the people are made accountable.

9) Does not preach about the virtue of being patient, unless he or she has stayed in an urban poor community for at least one week, has scavenged through garbage to feed one’s family, and has queued in the long line of people trying to get water every day. Anyone who wants to lead this country must ride the LRT or MRT at 8 a.m. or 5 p.m. for at least two weeks to understand that patience is not the solution to the transportation problem.

10) Does not forget that running for a public office is already a responsibility. He or she must have a heart for the people and not abuse privilege.

Whether you are a man or a woman, you are fit to be a leader if, at the very least, you have this character.

Norma P. Dollaga,
Kapatirang Simbahan Para sa Bayan,
[email protected]

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TAGS: Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, pro-poor, women leaders
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