• Out of comfort zone


    Ma. Lourdes N. Tiquia

    IN politics, the safe zone is one’s comfort zone. Comfort zones “expand or contract over time.” Conventional wisdom that says ‘stay out of comfort zone for three times’ is good enough for one cannot do much in a six-year, single term. For the 16th, it’s as if he was molded and made for the battle zone because he pops one too many every quarter.

    Duterte’s political comfort zone is disruption. He disrupts things from speeches, actions, policies, plans and programs. After a year in office, political watchers are becoming too tired to even bother with details while the opposition is on its fourth wind of attacks, hitting a few but most are duds. Why? Because their six years were defined as status quo. The propaganda line, “kung walang mahirap, walang korup” went kaput from Day 1 and “Tuwid Na Daan” became the political nickname of both of its candidates at the ebb of the Aquino administration. It was a novelty, the first time that a running candidate for president and vice president had programmatic nicknames in the certificate of candidacy.

    Would be interesting to see how much of the budget of government was used for Tuwid Na Daan candidates from 2014 to 2016. By using the phrase, one can justify the use of public funds and yet the Duterte administration never went out to release such information in his first SONA unlike Aquino in July 2010 with PGMA.

    And as Duterte works on one thing, he unleashes another trump card to create the ripple of change he wants done. From the changes in frontline services to the war against illegal drugs, to the declaration of martial law to finally arrest the decay in Mindanao, to getting an extension to signing legislation contrary to the recommendation of his economic team to pursuing peace with the MILF and calling a halt with the NDF to rebuilding Marawi and dealing with narco-politics and media lords who have seen better days and setting aside PPP for a government-led infrastructure plan and exposing Customs and corruption, etc.

    It has always been said that you do not need to be a disruptor in politics, leadership and governance. You do not need to fulfill a campaign promise. You do not need to do the Top 10 agenda in your platform but just limiting to a few is the way to go. A momentary sun outside of the comfort zone will do the trick and the rest is purposeful persuasion. Always stay in the safe zone. Do not rock the boat. What is there to rock when it is just a single six-year term? And that is why, everyday of Duterte’s term is crucial because the successor has to be at par with a Duterte. This early, people are wondering, who can Lady Luck touch come 2022? Why? Because Duterte is like a pinball, hitting everyone and letting the people do the follow-through.

    And as we think of 2022, we saw yesterday morning the INQ video of one Tisha Cruz-Bautista, the estranged wife of Comelec Commissioner Andy Bautista. She spilled the beans, all right. Information that had been whispered about for over a year now but put in a tight lid as parties tried fixing the sordid details of betrayals, from personal to campaign to election and victory, putting legitimacy to an operation that is about to unravel the sordid state of our election administration. The ripple provided by the wife could be the tsunami that could wipe out the incumbent commissioners and the “syndicates” that offer votes to the highest bidders. And Tisha is not even the Janet card.

    The same tools used against the former Supreme Court Chief Justice have been loaded: what Bautista has not reported in his SALN (cash on hand, money in bank and properties); the Laguna Development Bank, now known as Luzon Development Bank of the Limcaocos which AMLC has failed to issue red flags in the transfer of funds; the list of campaign donors of the Liberal Party which they submitted late and Bautista accepted without any penalties and the movement of certain candidates from out of nowhere and jumping to No. 1 in a late rally on the last week. And of course, there is Novotel, the four generals and Smartmatic. A few weeks ago, a trade fair on election systems was called by DICT and the Advisory Council of Comelec at Novotel and yes, Smartmatic was again the star of the show, presenting their applications.

    Operatives are now raring to throw mud at Tisha because of her exposé. Unfortunately, if they start operating against her, another personality will be dragged into the mess and this would not look good for a former presidential candidate and the Comelec Commissioner. And then, Comelec is a collegial body, so is the blame to be shared by all? We still have not even sorted out the ComeLeak that exposed all its database. Who’s encryption key allowed the leak?

    Digong, the disruptor, has brought us out of our comfort zones. Are we ready for this revolution?


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