“To be or not to be?
That is the question.
Whether it’s nobler in the mind
To suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles And by opposing end them.”
From Hamlet by William Shakespeare
I have already written the sequel to The Age of Pretense and Cowardice: From Cory To Noynoy Aquino and should have been published today but because of the hottest man in town – Mayor Rodrigo Duterte of Davao City – I moved it for next Saturday. My interest in Duterte is not only because he is the hottest man in town but primarily because, like me, he is a Mindanaoan and Mindanao deserves the presidency of the Republic this time.
Why? That is the question. First, because in the history of the presidency in this country, Luzon has had twelve Presidents – Emilio Aguinaldo, Manuel Luis Quezon, Jose Laurel, Sr., Elpidio Quirino, Ramon Magsaysay, Diosdado Macapagal, Ferdinand Edralin Marcos, Corazon Cojuangco Aquino, Fidel Valdez Ramos, Joseph Ejercito Estrada, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Noynoy Cojuangco Aquino; Visayas has had three – Sergio Osmena, Sr., Manuel Acuna Roxas and Carlos Polistico Garcia. Mindanao? None!
Probably the most brilliant Mindanaoan of his time was Vice-President Emmanuel Neri Pelaez from Misamis Oriental, my home province. Unfortunately, for him, he lost to Marcos in the Nacionalista Convention in 1964. If Pelaez had won the NP presidential nomination, he could have been handily elected president. Most likely, he would not have declared martial law and the history of this country would have changed probably for the better but that is a lot of historical guessing game. It is too late in the day for that. Your guess is probably better than mine.
Second, Mindanao constitutes the third biggest voting population in the country. Third, it contributes to about one half of the national revenues in the national coffers. Fourth, it has vast natural resources, more than any island in the country and Luzon is no exception. Fifth, the future of this country is in Mindanao that is why the Americans and the Malaysians are out to Balkanize Mindanao so they can have exclusive privileges in the exploitation of Mindanao’s natural resources. Sixth, if Mindanao cannot have a crack at the presidency of this country, the option is Mindanao independence.
Now is the time to give Mindanao a chance to have someone become president of this country. And considering the present circumstances, the Mindanaoan who has a chance to become Philipppine President or the national leader is Rodrigo Duterte of Davao City, a Mindanaoan.
The Hamletian question
I cannot help but be emotional about this Hamletian question: to endorse or not to endorse Duterte for President. Duterte and I have one thing in common: we both believe that to solve our country’s problems, the national leader should head a revolutionary government. But the similarity ends there. The differences are as wide as the distance between the Earth and the stars. It is delineated by more than hundred million stellar parallaxes. First, Duterte believes that he should be President first before he should declare a revolutionary government; I don’t. This distinction simply means that Duterte is a traditional politician, not a revolutionary. If he is a traditional politician, he cannot change this country even if he lives a thousand years or even a million. The revolutionary option now is to lead a peaceful constitutional revolution within the ambit of sections 1 and 3 of Article II of the Constitution. Because if you want to change the country and our people, you need systemic change; and to have a systemic change, you need a transition period to cleanse the country of its ills and the people of even worse ills.
That is why every time I am asked whether I am running for public office, my simple immediate answer is I am tired running, I just want to sit, whatever that means.
Second, why spend so much time, money and energy just to get elected? Everyone knows that elections in this country are criminal exercises. As a rule, the candidates buy votes; the voters allow themselves to be bought. These are criminal offenses. As a rule, the teachers who participate as members of the board of election inspectors allow themselves to be bought this is a criminal offense. As a rule, members of the military and the police allow themselves to be manipulated by politicians and other partisans. This is a criminal offense. Businessmen and like others of their kind contribute a lot of money to candidates and they do not report this to the BIR. This is a criminal offense. Candidates overspend but they do not report this to their statement of expenses to the Comelec. This is a criminal offense. Public officials and employees are involved in partisan activities. These acts are criminal offenses. I can go on interminably with miles and miles of enumeration but I don’t have to do that.
The indisputable fact is that election in this country is a criminal process. In a sense, we are all criminals by allowing this criminal process to continue from 1949 until today without let-up. So why is Duterte running when the exercise is a criminal process, it is, I repeat, because he is a traditional politician. And traditional politicians as I said cannot change this country not in a thousand or a million years.
Moreover, as one great Indian leader and universal humanist, Mahatma Gandhi, once said, “Bad means never make for good ends.”
Third, why are you, Duterte, using vulgar, gangster and criminal language every time you open your mouth? Every time you open your mouth, as a rule, you commit a mistake. Even a fish if it keeps on opening its mouth will get caught, as popular wisdom intones. That kind of language maybe good for Davao City but it is not good for this country and the presidency. You want to be President? Speak like one, not like a gangster in a grade B movie. Exercise discipline on your mouth. If you cannot do that you have no business running for president.
Fourth, you have not defined your vision for this country. As biblical scholars keep on saying, without vision the nation will perish. The picture that you paint is your ability to kill, kill, and kill criminals. That is not a vision. That is not a program. That is a blueprint for murders. If you do that, you have no place in a democratic country that sanctifies the rule of law, not the rule of men. Your place is in jail.
Historically, you remind me of Adolf Hitler. He mesmerized Germany after her humiliating defeat in the First World War. In the well remembered statements of the German scholar, Reinhold Niebuhr, in describing Hitler’s Germany and I will paraphrase them: When Hitler persecuted the socialists, the Germans did not protest because they were not socialists. When Hitler persecuted the communists, they did not object because they were not communists. When Hitler persecuted the Jews, they did not protest because they were not Jews. Finally, when Hitler persecuted the Germans, there was nobody around to protest.
Without having to cite Hitler, does anyone remember Saloth Sar, also known as Pol Pot of Kampuchea? He, like the Pied Piper of Hamelin, initially made the Cambodians march behind him. He, like Duterte says he would make the Philippines, made Kampuchea a killing field.
The difference between Duterte and Hitler and Pol Pot is that Duterte has no known ideology unless he has adopted the Maoist ideology of the Maoist CPP-NPA whom he publicly proclaims as his friends. But Hitler and Pol Pot had well-defined ideologies. In the case of Hitler, he defined it in Mein Kampf, the story of his life and the body of his beliefs. In the case of Pol Pot, the revival of legendary Kampuchea rendered immortal by Angkor Wat.
The mere intoning to change from a unitary to a federal system, without specifics, is a lot of moro-moro or mumbo jumbo.
I could go on and on, and I will bore you to death, and you might also conclude that I am anti-Duterte. I am not. I just want this fellow to change because he has the greatest potential, votewise, to have a Mindanaoan as President of the Philippines. And if he does get elected, though I do not believe in elections for now, I will be happy to have my dream fulfilled, even if Duterte is the one to fulfill it. But he cannot be president unless he changes his ways. If he does not change between now and Election Day, if by some miracle, elections will be held, he should be ready to be thrown into the dustbin of history. It is not lonely because there are many have been and who should have been who are there.
The way to change
It does not take miracles to change, if you know how. Stop talking like a mad man or top dog in an insane asylum. Submit a vision to the country and a road map as well as a blue print to get there. Get a group of fifteen of the best and the brightest of the country to help you steer the ship of state if you get to be the captain. Be presidential, focused, disciplined and committed to God, country and our people, instead of to yourself, to Viagra and your women and mainstream media. If you do that, you’ll get there if the election will be clean and honest. That’s a big IF because you know, as everybody knows, it will not be.
So we are back to square one – a revolutionary transition government. Do not fritter away this golden opportunity for Mindanao. If you can’t do it, somebody will.