THERE are a dime-a-dozen opinions. And there are expert opinions. Say, of Moody’s Investor’s Service, Standard & Poor’s or Fitch Ratings that somehow gauge a nation’s state of economic health that can guide investors worldwide where to plunk down monies for better returns.
Too, a physician’s diagnosis is, arrived at following a battery of tests and examinations, merely medical opinion; the ailing can seek another specialist, go through the same tests and examinations, and cough up some more monies for a second opinion. Or a third, a fourth or so on and so forth to confirm what the already confirmed sickness is.
In the course of marriage annulment proceedings, a clinical psychologist was called to provide expert opinion on one Rodrigo Duterte y Roa. Expert opinion was trotted out, found Duterte sick. Maybe, a misfit, something is not right in his cranium. But sick in the head isn’t exactly a terminal disease. And one psychologist’s pronouncement can differ from another’s. Truckloads of such experts can be hauled, each one can – at gunpoint, of course – be made willing to pronounce him fit for public office.
By the way, most of the top 500 corporations in the country would rather rely on the prognosis of their clinical psychologist on candidates for top-rank, high-pay employment; they’re still in adherence to that human ideal, mens sana in corpore sano, a sound mind in a sound body. It would be a waste of money hiring any retard or candidate for commitment to an insane asylum.
But, a large portion of our 54-million-strong voting populace aren’t that choosy, too rash even, when it comes to sizing up or running a fine-toothed rake over a candidate’s competencies and, uh, questionably good moral character that are sought for a position of responsibility.
Expert opinion indicates Duterte y Roa’s downright inability to “remain committed to a person or a relationship.” (That word “committed,” however, can also be used, as in, “commit adultery, commit a crime, or committed to an insane asylum.”)
Further, that court-appointed clinical psychologist opines that such malfunction of Duterte y Roa’s psyche stems from “a gross indifference to others’ needs and feelings, heightened by lack of capacity for remorse and guilt.”
Two words come to a layman’s mind to describe such a pitiable soul. The first: ruthless. The other: inhuman. A populace in desperation and ignorance needs such a sorry excuse for a human as a flock of sheep needs a butcher to lead them to their slaughter, right?
Forewarned is forearmed, but that clinical psychologist’s forewarning must have been thrown out the window. Who would have known any better? So it came to pass after collating data over the years and working on the ground, an alarmed global organization Human Rights Watch concluded that most of those slaughtered during Duterte’s rule over Davao City were “young men or youths who had been known in their community for involvement in small-scale drug dealing or petty crimes, such as stealing cell phones, and using drugs… street children (some of whom are youth gang members), and low-income blue-collar workers such as informal car washers, jeepney and tricycle drivers, construction workers, and fishermen.” Verily, these are the dirt-poor, the destitute folk that every two-bit seeker of public office woos to his side for their votes.
Maybe, even Jesus Christ would have approved of such large-scale cleansing, why, a tax collector-turned-preacher named Saint Matthew quotes The Messiah as plying out an opinion: “Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye did it unto one of these my brethren, even these least, ye did it unto me.”
That Messiah reminder won’t be a crowbar or cattle prod meant to prick those endowed with thick hides, even something called conscience. Groupies and fans ubiquitously rising to the defense of the Davao mayor would – everyone went on a high gear to gang up on him – likely point out that “even the devil can quote the Scriptures to suit his ends.”
And it has not occurred to the 54-million-trong electorate that they are not sending just one man to occupy Malacañang or any elective post to chart the destiny of this nation, our community, or what you may hope for, our collective lives. Voters will be sending an entire team, plus a gaggle of hangers-on that will see to the manifold functions of statecraft. Wouldn’t it be a dream come true to have the Davao Death Squad hold the entire nation under their heels?
BTW, the column title “Two cents” doesn’t refer to the worth of opinions. It is derived from the Aramaic writing on the wall addressed to a doomed king, “Mene tekel upharsin” – “you have been weighed in the balance and found wanting” is one reading. God’s sense of humor and retribution shines through in a more radical interpretation, “You’re a putative leader, you’re worth two cents.”