All is fair | Inquirer Opinion

All is fair

When it rains, it pours. And I do not mean only the rains that poured in the Visayas and flooded so many towns and triggered some landslides, I mean figuratively speaking, too. Political noise in the Philippines, a brutal war in Europe (yes, in the 21st century), and a threatening economic contraction. Thank God that Covid-19 is on a serious pause.

On the home front, my mother-in-law passed away, a full life of 95 years. Healthy all her life then contracted the pandemic virus 3 months ago, it was downhill after that. It was a peaceful death that was kind to her and to all her children as well. No doubt that she prepared well.


The Holy Week allowed us to rest, even from campaign dynamics. But, of course, which is old news by now, Easter Sunday began with a bang and not the nice kind. A presscon called by 3 presidential candidates signaled that a brief truce was over and the fireworks were not celebratory at all. Anyway, as they say, all is fair in love and war – and politics is war.

When I look at Ukraine being mangled by Russia, I remember the words of a wise elder who often referred to man’s exploitation by man from greed or lust for power. The war inflicted by Russia on Ukraine is causing horrible devastation and wanton killing of innocent people.


I was thinking that, in another form, the 2022 political campaign is no less than a war but without the bloodshed – yet. We are killing one another with thoughts and words that eventually will find translation in action. Thus, I am so amused when some politicians accuse a presidential candidate of threatening trouble should she lose. I think everybody except Leni is building up an emotional cesspool that will erupt into radical expression by the way we trade insults, ill will, and fake news. Except Leni because she says “mas radikal magmahal” (it is more radical to love).

Well, to be fair, another candidate chose the theme “unity” as their camp’s campaign slogan. I wish I could see and feel what I hear and read. There are too many trolls that have spread not only fake news but dirty ones as well, including those targeting a daughter of Leni Robredo. With tens of thousands of identified fake news that have overwhelmingly helped the unity candidate, the slogan is self-contradictory.

But then again, all is fair in love and war, and politics is war. I know Leni is consistently exhorting her followers not to engage in negativity and instead focus on the brighter aspirations of our people. She is surprisingly effective in toning down ugly rhetoric but cannot totally stop retaliation against troll attacks. And even if most of the pink army are restraining themselves, it does not mean they are not prepared to explode.

It is the entry of young voters, many first timers, that has added a new aura and dynamics to an otherwise contentious campaign. These young volunteers of Leni are driven by inspiration, not animosity. That is why their energy is light and exciting, quite attractive to their fellow youth, and effective in winning people over. Their dominant presence in rallies and the ongoing house-to-house campaign for Leni is negating much of the traditional tension accompanying Philippine politics.

It does not matter if it is Marcos, Isko, Manny, or Ping, but the candidate that the youth are actively and passionately campaigning for will win the war. Have we ever read of any war won by older adults without the 18 to 35 years old doing most of the fighting? The only question is whether, with election day just two weeks from now, will they have enough time?

The answer is an unequivocal yes. The explosive nature of the young can turn things upside down in a day, especially when they are invested and emotionally pumped up, and when digital communication technology allows them to instantly know and act – as one. The rallies may have primed them but their house-to-house campaigning is preparing them for ground movement. Innocent just months ago but now ready to do much more.

May I suggest to the politicians and the authorities who point to Leni as threatening trouble should she lose that they focus on the Filipino youth campaigning for Leni instead. Leni is there to placate them, not to rabble rouse. They do not need to be provoked by Leni, they will be provoked enough by clear signs of cheating. Because it will be they who are cheated, not Leni. The young who are making ambag, who are abonado, will demand the resibo of their work.


We seniors are looking at two large groups below our age range, the 18-35 years old, and the 36-59 years old. It is what the majority of them will do that will determine who will win and what will happen to our country in the immediate future. They have the numbers, they have the energy, they have the power. The rest of us who are older or younger than them will only follow their initiatives.

There is, of course, the women, the mothers. If there is a group that the youth will listen to even in the heat of their passion, it will be their mothers. I hope the mothers will understand that their children are on the war path since politics is war. I trust the mothers will guide or temper their children because, most of all, they really want what is best for their children. And mothers are their children’s first teacher, the one who makes them understand about the evil of lying and stealing in the home.

I had written earlier that the awakening of the youth in the campaign, those who aspire for change and a brighter future, those who demand from their peers the authenticity that they themselves are giving, will guarantee both disruption and the building of a new national home. I affirm it.

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TAGS: #VotePH2022, 2022 elections, youth
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