Last call, last minutes of play
WE ARE a group of very senior “ladies who lunch,” and very concerned to the point of agitation over the May 9 elections. Can’t rally, can’t finance; what can we do? We can write, so each jotted down her last call, last plea, last prayer.
The lone male and Benjamin, Francis Caluag Cruz, says he “hates the election period with its hypocrisy, mudslinging, garbage, even the obnoxious possibility of giving trapos a new foothold in government, or going for a candidate because he appeals to our hidden, darker nature. But I’ve come to love this exercise of choosing our own leaders. It may be messy; it may be misguided; it may even be immoral! But THANK GOD IT’S FREE!”
In this mess, Dita Domogalla is “deeply struck by ‘decency,’ a favored word of Mar Roxas. Bombast, unrealistic promises, will bring us nowhere but backwards. Short cuts cannot take the place of long-term decency—i.e., integrity, sobriety, vision. Young and old, take a breather from the frenzied campaigns. Think carefully for whom and what you are voting into place. Do not get carried away by rah-rah speeches. Sober up. Prepare yourselves to endure hardships before we see results. Why? Our problems are so deep-seated, stemming from a so-called ‘damaged culture’: corruption, the absence of a sense of nation, failure to identify with our fellow Filipinos, always ‘me’ and ‘mine.’ We’re all guilty of this. For every corrupt official, there is a corruptor. Each corrupt official was put in office by us, the voters. Let’s bring decency back into our society.”
Glo Alcuaz advises to “choose wisely.” She feels it “an insult to be faced with a cast of candidates displaying huge doses of corruption, contempt for women, theft, lies. It will be a greater insult to ourselves if we accept any one of them.”
In her 85th year of living, Yit Natividad thought: “Everything was just dandy as I prepared myself for a peaceful and graceful exit. I thought wrong. The coming election has become a nightmare with all the horrors attendant to it. Listening to someone brag about a city he claims to have built, while evading serious issues of graft and corruption; watching the son of a dictator shamelessly attempting to change the history of his family’s greed and atrocities; hearing a goon make fun of a despicable crime and advocating killing like it was the most natural thing to do; seeing the possibility of having somebody with a questionable citizenship who pledged allegiance to another country—what future will my grandchildren inherit? I cannot just sit back and let such an unacceptable tragedy happen. What can I do? I can endorse the Roxas-Robredo tandem that has honesty, integrity and patriotism. They must win if we are to save our beloved Philippines from a dismal future. This is a desperate plea for the future of our country.”
Last December I took a straw vote of bright, first-time student voters. The majority was “undecided.” Alas, I could see from their nonplussed expressions that they didn’t know who Leni Robredo was. But last week all of them knew who Leni was and practically cleaned me out of ballers, fans, stickers, and pocket calendars. “We will distribute,” they said. The “impossible is happening.” Millennials, swing the vote on May 9 for the team with “the best man and woman standing.” Trends are not final. There can be “surprise, surprise!”
“Duterte’s open admission of his violation of women’s dignity” offends Sony Sison. “If he is elected president, his desecration of the honor of the Filipina can get worse. His split standard of morality may cause more broken marriages and families. Is this the country he envisions, when our youth are faced with a leader with very questionable moral integrity? Campaign against Duterte, Let us defeat him on May 9.”
Iding Llamas asked her driver about the presidential choices in his community. “Some liked Poe, Binay, and others, Duterte or Roxas,” she said. “His last comment struck me: ‘Magnanakaw naman silang lahat (They’re all thieves)!’ That left me speechless, until I found my voice to claim that, certainly, some politicians are honest and sincere. Pilate had asked: ‘Christ or Barabas?’ The response thundered, ‘Barabas!’ Are we all so desperate, so deceived? My fellow kababayan, I ask you, where are we in this world? Is this what we are? How we think? How we feel? And how we chuckle with delight over Duterte’s coarse and macho jokes? Or are we one with Hamlet’s enigma, ‘To be or not to be’?”
“Perhaps,” says Marcia Sandoval, “because I am now in the winter of my life, I find myself questioning God about the state of my country. I cannot possibly go to the next world without trying to help this country in the mess that it is in. I feel for the new generation; I yearn to do even a little ‘something.’ The best thing I can do is implore for a Miracle!”
We join in Marcia’s prayer: “In this crucial time of the elections, I ask you, Lord, to give us a president, whose love for his country is embedded in his heart. Give us the right leader to open a door to a transformation that our motherland needs. You know the person we want to bring to Malacañang. He is a man of upstanding character with unblemished record. We have carefully chosen him to be our Leader. Likewise, bless his running mate, for she, too, is of sterling character. Together they are ready to pursue a new governance and to carry the load before them. To gain this dream, we need a Miracle, that only You can gift the Filipino people!” Amen.
Asuncion David Maramba ([email protected] com) is a retired professor, book editor and occasional journalist.
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