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Will ‘Wisely’ win at last?

/ 05:01 AM July 31, 2021

The longest-running mismatch in Philippine history—“Wisely vs. Dumbly”—will be fought again in May next year when Filipinos return to the polls to cast their votes in the national elections, with nothing less than the presidency at stake. It’s a mismatch, because between Wisely and Dumbly, the results so far have been predictable one-sided beatings. We only need to look into our current miserable state of politics and economy to see proof of Dumbly’s success.

“Vote Wisely” is the battle cry that we hear every election day, but it is Dumbly that almost always finds a way to win. The problem lies with the electorate, because no matter how much they’ve been bombarded with reminders to Vote Wisely, the voters easily forget what they’ve been told and still vote Dumbly anyway based on wealth, popularity, good looks, and campaign rhetoric.

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The year 2016 saw probably the worst trashing Wisely ever got. There is no clearer evidence of the massacre that took place than the government we have right now, a government that not only lacks the moral integrity to do the right thing but even the common sense to do things right.

If you were to rob or kill, commit treason, or just do something stupid, you might want to make it a little less obvious. But no, this government revels at flaunting its incompetence and lack of decorum—in words, thoughts, and in action.

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At one point, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, campaigning for president, publicly expressed his lust over the cadaver of a young Australian missionary who was gang-raped and had her throat slashed during a prison riot. He also cursed at the Pope. (Then as now, he passed off such outrageous remarks as jokes or banter not to be taken seriously.) Any of this would have been the kiss of death for his presidential ambition. But somehow, Mr. Duterte won, and after that, he launched his drug war and got thousands of people killed.

Bringing up the past is not such a bad thing if it helps to correct the mistakes that shouldn’t have happened in the first place, like putting someone like Mr. Duterte in the highest seat of power.

Until now, already in the dying days of his presidency, he hasn’t changed at all. For one, he still keeps cursing the hell out of everybody. You wonder if the President, by pushing his luck every time, is out to prove that Filipinos are dumb beyond salvation, and while at it, he might as well indulge his craving for power and his fantasies of himself as a great man bound for immortality.

There is however a limit, a time, and a season when all things must come to an end.

Mr. Duterte’s endorsement of his own daughter Sara as presidential standard-bearer, with himself moving down to vice president—this nepotism of absolute embarrassment—may just provide the catalyst for the awakening of the nation from six years of suffering in silence through all the insults, the betrayal, and the brutalization perpetrated by the clique in power.

Sara’s continuation of what her father started would mean more institutionalized corruption, more of the violent temperament, the sense of accomplishment in having people killed, etc. Nobody wants six more years of this. Many more people are hungry and angry this time.

Will it be Wisely’s time, at last? We can dream, right? It’s free and it’s beautiful, especially when it’s within our grasp to make it come true. Like this dream of a well-deserved victory in 2022 for Wisely: Let’s make it happen.

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Adel Abillar is a private law practitioner with a small office in Quezon City where, he says, “I alternate between being boss and messenger.”

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TAGS: 2022 elections, Duterte, Elections, Philippines, president
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