PRESIDENT-elect Rodrigo Duterte can cuss and speak out his mind (media is corrupt, the Church is a hypocritical institution) because he is very well aware of one painful truth.
Right now, with the level of his popular support, there is no countervailing force that can make him stop. After swamping his presidential opponents with votes and after finding out that his colourful words and expletives never disturbed his political base, he continues to upend the status quo with his provocative pronouncements. The Digong is not bothered by the UN. From a personal realm, I am not bothered. I flunked my good manners and right conduct (GMRC) in elementary and, at 63, my rough edges have never deserted me.
But wait. Where is Mr. Aquino ?
Where is the stern hectoring from Mr. Aquino, his usual inspired advisories to the nation on what is right and what is wrong, at this time that his people need it most? Where is Mr. Aquino, the irrepressible national scold? Where is Mr. Aquino, the self-described paragon of all virtues? We have not heard from him, not even a gentle reminder to Mr. Duterte that a President’s language should be of great nobility and purpose, not about bounties and dead bodies and a corrupt media and a hypocritical Church.
I know the answer. Mr. Aquino, right now, is afraid to get in the crosshairs of The Digong. Lest he gets branded as a sore loser and a failure as President. (At the slightest criticism, The Digong, I am sure, will go ballistics and humiliate Mr. Aquino. How he mocked the Wharton-trained Mr. Roxas is a classic.) To temper his scolding nature must be very frustrating for Mr. Aquino. But right now, at this level of popular support for The Digong, Mr. Aquino has no option but hold his tongue against The Digong and go into a press tour about the supposed accomplishments (the President of the top 1 percent, first and foremost) of his presidency .
Wait. Where is the usually assertive and holier-than-thou ‘civil society’?
Where is the “civil society” that collaborated with Mr. Aquino and his supposed crusade against official corruption? Where is the self-proclaimed vanguard of official and personal virtues? Where is that outspoken pillar of Daang Matuwid that propped up the Kangaroo Court, which impeached the late former Chief Justice Corona and carried out the long sliming of Mr. Binay? Where are the talking heads cum university professors who bloviated about corruption in high places and even graphed the so-called economic depressions (very inconsequential) brought about by official corruption? On crusades most likely funded by the superrich to highlight the sordid acts of politicians—and their penny ante crimes—to divert the nation’s attention from the true evil brought about by the rapacity of the superrich?
And to make sure that a man of “integrity” like Mr. Roxas got elected President in lieu of the ghastly and dreadful alternatives like Mr. Binay and The Digong.
Why is the so-called “civil society”—which is supposed to be the repository of national virtues—silent and probably cowering as The Digong is pushing the nation to make “kill”—and not GDP growth—the most acceptable word in governance ?
The audacity of The Digong and the surprising timidity of the supposed paragons of virtue are simply mind-boggling. As mind-boggling as the failure of the Church to counter The Digong’s accusation that it is an irrelevant institution of hypocrisy. But there is an explanation for that.
“Civil society,” the paragon of virtue, is a hollowed-out group of poseurs and phonies. It lives off a single issue, the crusade against official corruption, to wag-the-dog, to divert attention from the real issue that cripples the economic, political and social fabrics of the country—the control of a few families over the wealth, assets and income of the country.
While 40 or so families control 70 percent or more of the country’s wealth—and that nothing much can change the lives of the vulnerable unless the brutal arrangement is reordered—the country’s “civil society” is focused exclusively on the evil of politicians and their penny-ante scamming. Never on the real issue, which Pope Francis and President Obama both called “the defining issue of our time.” Even if our country were to elect a new crop of politicians with across-the-board integrity, nothing would change when the state came out with policies on either redistribution or predistribution.
As Mr. Aquino reordered the country’s vibrant Keynesian policies along his preferred social Darwinism, the phony “civil society” cheered him on and vested on him the highest leadership ratings. Not one mentioned that beneath the glossy charts of Mr. Aquino was the brutalization of the underclass not seen in any of the previous administrations. Not one mentioned that Mr. Aquino’s Ayn Rand worship had more brutal impact on the vulnerable than the penny-ante scams of the thieving politicians.
The growth rates have been sustained, yes, but so is the intractable poverty in the blighted rural areas and the damned slum colonies in the urban areas. That some 10 million families or so suffer from involuntary hunger was the stark reality beneath the growth rates and credit upgrades of Mr. Aquino. How many families are squatters in their homeland? Even the celebration of Independence Day looks like a farce under these conditions.
The Digong realized that the crusade against corruption was just a cynical scam to lump all evil in the country under the label of one sub-sector, the penny ante politicians. And leave the malefactors of great wealth under the radar and unnoticed. And fully served by their waterboy, Mr. Aquino.