Not lesser evil, but good
Many people say that next year’s presidential elections will be a fight of good versus evil. I agree. Absolutely.
Then in my early teens, I was largely insulated from the impact of martial law. But I heard about student activists disappearing, “enemies of the state” being tortured and jailed, the Marcos family’s excesses, and the unbridled corruption of their cronies. I have hazy memories of eating rice with corn, of the hunger in Negros, of speaking in whispers, of living in fear.
And then the leading opposition figure Ninoy Aquino flew home, and the rest is history. During the years 1983-1986, the peso tumbled and inflation soared. I remember having my can of infant formula snatched away by a supermarket staff because he had to change the price. Life grew more difficult daily.
In February 1986, we got our democracy back. But truth be told, while our neighbors prospered, we floundered and earned the dubious title of “Sick Man of Asia.” Until Noynoy Aquino came and turned the country around. By 2015, we had become “Asia’s Rising Tiger.”
And then Rodrigo Duterte happened. His brilliant “Change is coming” promise swept the country. Drugs to be gone in 3-6 months, corruption to be eradicated, criminality to be eliminated, jet ski on standby. He won handily.
Five and a half years later and our country is back in the hospital, maybe even in ICU.
The 2022 national budget sees a total outstanding debt of P13.42 trillion by end-2022, compared to P5.9 trillion when PNoy left office. We all know how the drug war panned out; the ICC does, too. We also know what happened to the jet ski, and China’s largely uncontested claim over our waters. Corruption? Still very much around. Just look at Pharmally and the picture is very clear. Or rather, very murky and unbelievably dirty.
Change indeed has come. And it has been a horrible disaster.
Current surveys show Ferdinand Marcos Jr. leading, with Leni Robredo or Isko Moreno a far second. With Sara Duterte running for VP, we are faced with a formidable tandem of the children of the two worst presidents we have ever had.
Even if we set aside their parentage, what qualifications do they offer?
One is a proven liar who continues to swear by his degree from Oxford. He and his family claim they have not stolen from the national coffers, when the records of the PCGG and international courts show otherwise. His record as a government official is less than sterling.
Sara Duterte conjures up images of a toughie punching a court sheriff. In an exposé made prior to the 2016 elections, she was alleged to be holding several joint bank accounts with her father that regularly received millions of pesos in deposits. In March 2019, she was quoted as saying that honesty should not be considered an issue for politicians, because every candidate lies.
So, yes, this is a fight of good versus evil. One meme says, why choose the lesser evil when you can choose the good?
This is where my candidate, VP Leni Robredo, comes in. This administration has done everything in its power to trim her wings: no Cabinet position, a laughable budget, no acting-President stint during the President’s absences, and petty as it may seem, few if any invitations to important events like the SONAs.
Despite all these, she has proven that she is no spare tire. Her anti-poverty program, Angat Buhay, benefited close to 84,000 families just in its first year of implementation. Her office is always among the first responders during natural calamities.
During the pandemic, she was even quicker to act. She provided free shuttle services to frontliners, supplied personal protective equipment to health care workers, and provided free swab tests, telehealth services, and mobile vaccination services, primarily funded through donations and staffed by volunteers. Her office got the highest ratings from the Commission on Audit for three years running.
Why am I campaigning hard for Leni Robredo and Kiko Pangilinan? Because they represent all that is good. Because they are our hope that our country can rise from the quagmire it is in now. Because they will finally give us the government our incredibly beautiful country deserves.
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Gigi Bautista Rapadas is a retired IT professional.
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