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A Convicted Rapist, A Notorious Gang Leader and
An Anti-Crime Chief are Redefining the Old Politics

by Noel  Bava, ds

          "A leader is the one who knows the way, shows the way and goes with the way."

          Gone were the times when leaders were admired if not awed by the people they govern and so were the times when moral integrity, competence and capability were the criteria in choosing persons that would represent the masses in the policy-making bodies in the government. Today, the whole world has seen the absurdest form of mockery in the electoral process on the Philippine shore. The once prestigious component of the government known as the Suffrage has indeed been radically transformed into a mere circus arena where candidates not only perform acrobatic feats of sommersaults and backflips but as well as magic and enchantment.

          Nobody has so far outrightly spoken that actors, singers and performers are simpleminded and therefore "unworthy" to lead a flock of followers. They might even be better in playing the roles of good and honest politicians than the old politicos whose only mastered craft is graft and corruption.

          If a person is deemed commendable for a political exercise, no matter what his or her former profession is, let him or her be. Right? Naaahh!

          One’s profession or means of living should at least be decent enough to earn the peoples’ trust that one would protect and preserve the welfare of the Filipino people once seated in power. It is not really a question of whether you are once a public servant or a performer or a basketball player seeking higher office in order to serve your countrymen better. What is in question is whether your moral integrity is still intact and you can still look straight in the eye of anyone who would dare challenge your credibility. Today, the old familiar saying "Public service is public trust," still holds true.

          However, owing to the fact that our political system is far from flawless, it is quite disheartening to learn that people who promise us to uproot corruption, eradicate crime, put order and peace and end poverty in our country are the very persons who present us with a very unviable option leading to political turmoil, social malaise and economic debacles.

          It has been printed in the headlines of leading newspapers, the outright defense of Vice President Joseph Estrada, LAMMP standard-bearer, of his enlistment of notorious Kuratong Baleleng Gang leader Renato "Nato" Pajorinog as his official congressional candidate in Misamis Occidental saying that critics should first file a case against his candidate before they dismiss him (Pajorinog) or seek to disqualify him because of his alleged criminal records. Estrada was even quoted saying : "Unless the accused is proven guilty, he remains innocent." Quite logical.

          However, the mere thought that this was the same person his Task Force on Presidential Anti-Crime Commission took pains apprehending for the numeorus crimes blamed against his Kuratong Baleleng gang like bank robberies, kidnappings and hold-ups in the country, is quite disturbing. How can the law enforcer and the violator work together for the common good of the people? There are only two possible choices to this enigma: Either the law enforcer apprehends the crime perpetrator or he joins the latter as a partner in crime. In Estrada’s case we can only hope that he would opt for the former. But then again, who watches the watchdog? Estrada even admits that Pajorinog was the choice of the local population as candidate and he is merely heeding their call.

          On the other hand, Estrada’s preferrence for convicted rapist Zamboanga del Norte Rep. Romeo Jaloslos has also met some wild cry both from his detractors and from the CBCP. In the LAMMP’s effort to attain a sweeping victory in the coming elections, it has forgotten the value of looking for respectable, credible and capable candidates.

          It could not be denied that a leader is indeed someone who knows the way, shows the way and goes with the way as what Erap promises to do for our country once elected to post. But to which way is his chosen candidates leading us?

          It calls for a serious examination of conscience and common sense before we finally step into the precint to cast our ballots. After all, it is our destiny that we are writing on that piece of paper in the coming elections. I just hope that we may never commit a mistake that we would regret for the next six long years of our lives.

 

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Christian Action for Peaceful and Meaningful Elections
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