Wishes that should and shouldn’t come true

Wishes that should and shouldn’t come true Featured

OVER the years, I claim expertise at crafting beautiful and well thought out year-end resolutions — on weight loss, smoking, alcohol intake and diet — that I adopt seriously for a day or two and promptly discard. Thus, I save myself from undergoing similar experiences of friends who forge their own lists, religiously sticking to them for weeks and even months while putting themselves under tremendous stress, anxiety and panic attacks, before surrendering to the inevitable. A lesson well learned every year is to avoid the same mistake. Do a list, if you must, but give them up after a day. I think it takes courage, humility and perseverance to give up early — as I always do.

But I was inspired by my 1960s classmate Dr. Alvin Babista’s daughter, Ophelia, who did the Keto diet of high fat (fish and steaks) and veggies, low carbohydrates (rice and bread) and going into a state of ketosis regularly. She lost 90 kgs in less than a year. I attempted the same routine and for good measure, I threw in intermittent fasting protocols; no breakfast before 9 a.m., fruit juices and salads for lunch, no alcohol, no sex, and a meager dinner before 6 p.m. On to bed by 9 p.m. for prayers and sleep “…Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord, my soul to keep…” for 6 to 8 hours. I take two full glasses of water upon waking up, then do my Salat al-fajr “…Allahu Akbar Subhana Kal-lah hum-ma wabi hamdika…” I take a full glass of water before every meal and another 3 to 4 glasses to replenish my electrolytes during the day. After a few months, I ended weighing in at 247.50 lbs. I started my routine at 247.80 lbs. I lost a grand total of 3 ounces!

The next best obsession I do at year-end is to forecast what’s in store for us mere mortals next year. I claim no clairvoyance, but I think I have the perspicacity to feel the winds of change and read the political landscape.

I segment these “collective wishes” into three categories.

Wishes that will happen — but should not!

A little more than a year before the presidential elections, name brands are being projected by paid hacks and image makers positioning their “manok” through social and mass media to succeed Duterte to the presidency. Among them is Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio who could convert her filial relationship to a presidential run. A popular local executive with nary a national or international standing, she is touted as a female Deegong leading the pack with 26 percent approval rating in the Pulse Asia survey (Nov. 23-Dec. 2, 2020). Bongbong Marcos, coming in second with 14 percent, will throw his hat in the ring if only to redeem the soiled Marcos name as he is expected to.

In a tie with Bongbong is Grace Poe, a hardworking legislator nonetheless counting on the “masa-cultivated” image of her actor-father to carry her through. She does not have any managerial experience or international political exposure to speak of. And then we have Mayor Isko Moreno with 12 percent, simply popular as a local executive who is new, young and excitingly “simpatico.”

And with 10 percent is Manny Pacquaio who has just been installed as PDP Laban president, re-running the 2016 playbook when the Deegong was likewise recruited as party president with no ideological contribution to the left-of-center party save for the sinecures distributed to the leadership. Manny is one of the most popular Filipinos alive, a humble person, a deeply religious individual with a sincere heart and sympathy for the needy, the dispossessed and downtrodden.

But even this early, pundits and PR functionaries are not highlighting the real qualifications and chutzpah required for the presidency and what it takes to lead beyond their poll ratings. What are reflected are simply the voters inane clamor for another political circus.

And the criteria being touted are popularity, celebrity status, ability to attract votes and crowds, and their entitlement to the highest office as children of presidents or progeny of the Filipino version of political royalty.

Bereft of other qualifications than these, they should not run for the presidency!

Wishes that may not happen but should!

In the second category, I would wish for the Deegong to be successful in his much-publicized resolution to stop corruption. But I’m afraid he will not!

“Karamihan diyan sa DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways) mga project engineers [mga kurakot] …si Secretary Villar, maraming pera ‘yan…mayaman ‘yan. Hindi niya kailangan mangurakot,” Duterte said.

In the same breath, President Duterte, while also naming congressmen implicated by the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission, unilaterally cleared the head of this corrupt bureaucracy. This is unconscionable. I am not imputing corruption on Secretary Villar, but shouldn’t he resign now after the President publicly declared DPWH corrupt?

People are wary of presidential statements intended for shock value. His “Duterte Doctrine” of zero tolerance to “even a whiff of corruption” no longer has traction, what with arbitrary exculpations, firing then reappointing to other sinecures — Faeldon, Lapeña, Pompee La Viña etc. It takes more than bravado and sound bites to reinforce his alpha male image as tough against corruption. Nothing will come out of this.

Wishes that should happen, but…

Duterte has done well arresting the pandemic morbidity rates, comparative to America and the European countries. The Deegong’s painful decisions on lockdowns, quarantines and strict health protocols have cut our losses making us relatively safe, until the vaccines are made available. While he’s at it, he may as well finish what he started, crafting his legacy at the twilight of his term. I quote relevant excerpts from my column “Intimations of mortality — an immortal legacy” (TMT, Sept. 9, 2020).

“In a democracy under which we claim we practice, prudent laws are its foundation and the glue that must bind a civilized society. It is imperative that the laws laid down by the government must be followed by all its citizens. The simplicity of the concept of the rule of law is oftentimes made complicated by those authorized to uphold it… allegations of transgressions must be investigated in a transparent manner by structures legitimately sanctioned.

And the President who by virtue of his ascendancy granted by the Constitution is conferred on him its primary guardianship. He must therefore uphold its principles.

From another standpoint, nations with weak leaders breed weak laws and will find themselves in a quagmire of corruption and lawlessness. Nations with prudent laws but governed by leaders devoid of political will to implement such laws may only cripple the primacy of the rule of law. But strong leaders with political will, must understand that all are equal under the dominance of the Rule of Law; none above. President Rodrigo Duterte must aspire to be one of the latter.”

The President’s covenant with the people is at best fragile and the wrong choice between personal ties and public good could have a deadly impact on the majesty of the office of the presidency and more importantly, the “rule of law.”

This wish should come true beginning 2021, before he leaves!

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Read 93 times Last modified on Wednesday, 06 January 2021 11:32
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