Looking for the alternative
I promised myself I’d write this the day after New Year’s Day. That is the search for an alternative for 2016—an alternative, that is, to Mar Roxas and Jojo Binay.
But surely May 2016 is still a long way off?
True, but it can’t hurt to talk about it this early in the day. The last time around, there was a paucity of talent by the time elections drew nigh. The chief contenders then came down to Manny Villar, Chiz Escudero and Gibo Teodoro. All of them labored from one thing and another.
A year or so before the elections, Villar was fending off a congressional investigation for being king of the daang baluktot: He had bent the C5 to run through his properties. No one quite knew what Escudero represented, he was not associated with any issue or cause, he was associated only with Danding Cojuangco who was associated with Ferdinand Marcos. Teodoro was Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s chosen; he tried to give a face to technocratic efficiency only to freeze with “Ondoy.”
You weren’t even sure there would be elections. Or if there were, if Gloria wouldn’t be one of the candidates. She had already served two terms without once being elected. She looked determined to stay longer, if not forever.
It took serendipitous accident, or providential design, to get the country out of that rut. Cory Aquino succumbed to cancer in July 2009 and changed the political and moral landscape overnight. Her passing brought on her son Noynoy’s coming, rebooting the entire electoral process in one fell swoop.
But we can’t always trust in dumb luck or Providence to see us through quandaries of our own making. Providence is providential only to those who provide for themselves. And dumb luck is, well, dumb.
Why an alternative to Roxas and Binay?
Because I personally wouldn’t want to live in a country run by either one of them.
I keep being asked by friends who between them I’ll go for at the end of the day. I keep answering, “Neither one.” Why on earth should I be limited to them? Why on earth should we be limited to them?
Roxas is about as welcome as a flash flood in summer. He came to mind just a few days ago, during Rizal Day, that day having been branded in my mind as the day Gloria swore on the national hero’s grave not to run in 2004. She did anyway. Roxas also said early on he had no plans of running in 2016. He will anyway. Of course after Tacloban he’ll be lucky to win in a barangay election, but that is neither here nor there. I’ve always thought the concept of “winnability” sucked, and I have gone for candidates I thought deserved my vote whether they were winnable or not. In Roxas’ case however, it’s worth noting that his current “unwinnability” is not the product of being quixotic, it is the product of being despotic. He didn’t start out being unwinnable—he has always had P-Noy behind him—he just made himself so.
If the point is to enlarge the scope of democracy in this country, indeed if the point is to promote true democracy in this country, democracy defined as the people actively participating in their governance, then Roxas would be the last person I’d want as president. He can’t abide dissent. He can’t even abide discussion. It’s his way or no way. The way he has tried to push out everybody in Malacañang should give an idea of how he will run the country. And he’s not even elected, he lost the elections. Give him the powers of a president and heaven help us.
Jojo Binay is about as palatable as he. Look at the company he kept during the last elections, it gives you a good idea of the kind of people who will be running the country if he becomes president. The troika that headed the United Nationalist Alliance (Una) was he, Erap and Juan Ponce Enrile. Enrile is one of the three senators accused of plotting with Janet Napoles to fleece the citizens. His son, Jackie, one of Una’s senatorial candidates, lost after WikiLeaks reminded the world he remains the prime suspect in the murder of a youth during the pit of martial law. Erap is a convicted plunderer. His son, Jinggoy, is another of the three senators accused of plotting with Napoles to defraud the public.
Binay himself has been hounded by accusations of corruption throughout his political career.
Una’s senatorial slate included as well Migz Zubiri and Ernesto Maceda. Zubiri was the fellow who served out four years of Koko Pimentel’s senatorial term, and quit only when he felt justice, or the electoral tribunal, was closing in on him. Maceda has distinguished himself only for two things. One was to have mounted a zealous crusade not against the corrupt but against the Brunei beauties. Two was to have been called by Arsenio Lacson “so young and so corrupt.”
This was before Binay’s own son, Junjun, figured in a scene in Dasmariñas. Of course the story was maliciously spun two weeks after the incident happened, and of course a mayor has the power to have a gate opened. But as a friend told me, why insist on something like this when you can always take a small detour like others do? P-Noy himself, my friend said, goes through the process: Each time he needs a permit for his guns, he applies for it, gets fingerprinted, and undergoes drug testing. It’s called setting an example.
The need to think about the next president even this early, indeed the need to find an alternative to the two prime contenders for the position, takes on some urgency in light of the fact that he—or she—will be coming after P-Noy. I myself think that P-Noy will come back this year with a vengeance, which will bring back again the question of who can be trusted to preserve the economic and moral gains his administration has made. Or at least who can be trusted to not mess them up. Where I stand, neither Roxas nor Binay fits the bill.
Time to search for an alternative—while there’s still time.
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