with Homobono A. Adaza
“Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;
Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.”
-From A Psalm of Life by Henry
The political pot is already boiling. The followers of Mayor Sara Duterte of Davao City and Senator Manny Pacquiao of Saranggani Province started the whole exercise by hanging tarpaulins and bill boards in many strategic places in the country urging their idols to run for President of the Philippine in the 2022 presidential election.
The PDP of President Duterte added more heat to the boiling pot by passing a resolution urging President Duterte to run for Vice-President and choose his presidential bet. Then, Duterte came out with a statement that he had several presidential bets in mind – driving many people to think that Rodrigo is determined to run for Vice-President.
Since many personalities are ambitioning to run for President, it is important for voters to know what questions to ask these presidential wannabes so they can make the right choice come election time.
Questions: Here are the questions which voters should ask these possible candidates now on why they are running for President.
Purpose, vision and blue print: Why are you running for President? What are the specific reasons why you are running? What in very specific terms is your vision of the country? What is your specific blue print to implement your vision?
Cabinet: Do you have persons who are to be members of your Cabinet? Why have you chosen them? What are their specific qualities as the basis of your choice? Do you have any specific task for then to do within the first hundred days of your term – in justice, national defense, local government, legislative system, foreign affairs, finance, monetary policy, agriculture, national resources, public works and highways, agriculture, natural resources, education, energy, science and technology, trade and industry, transportation and communication?
What if they cannot do their tasks within the assigned period, what do you intend to do with them?
In very specific terms what are the revolutionary reforms you will introduce in the – justice system, national defense, finance, foreign affairs, legislative system, local government, education, monetary policy, agriculture, natural resources, public works and highways, energy, science and technology, trade and industry, transportation and communications?
Specific problems: What are your detailed solutions to the problems of graft and corruption, illegal drugs, insurgency, criminality, poverty, control of the economy and inevitably the politics of the country by Filipino citizens whose loyalty are to their countries of origin, mining industry, monopolies of various utilities and industries, recovery of the Marcos wealth and the treasures of Yamashita and West Philippine Sea?
Motherhood statements will not serve any purpose. We need solutions with very specific details.
System change: What is your position on system change – unitary to federal, presidential to parliamentary, capitalist economy to a welfare state? If you are – what are the specific structures of your federal government? If not – why not?
What are the specific structures of your parliamentary system? If not –why not? Will you maintain the defense alliance with the United States of America? Why or why?
What is your take on a total revision of the Constitution? What are the contents of the revised Constitution?
Are you in favor of a Constitutional Transition Government (CTG) for a period of six to ten years? Why? What is the detailed content of your CTG? If not – why not?
Are you in favor of divorce? Why and what are the details of the divorce in your mind and what are its detailed effects? Why or why not?
Are you in favor of restoring the death penalty? Why or why not? Are you in favor of continuing to maintain the Shari’ah courts? Why or why not?
Interminable: You can ask a lot more questions to the presidential wannabes but nobody is doing it for the enlightenment of the candidates, the voters and the people. A damn fool can just breeze through a presidential campaign – and presto, you have an ignoramus for a winner.
Time: It’s been a long, long time from February of 1986 to June of 2021 – thirty-five years. But nothing significant has changed for the better in this period of three and a half decades – a time of one and a half generation. How time flies, yet there is more criminality – extrajudicial killings, abuse against women and children, numbing poverty, graft and corruption, plunder, illegal drugs, unabated and unconscionable abuse of power, nonpayment of huge taxes, oppression and injustice.
It is like the river – the waters come and go but the bedrock remains, rotten and unclean. Presidents come and go like the waters of the river but the rotten elements remain – undisturbed, unmoved and seemingly permanent.
People and leaders: It takes more than prayers to change things in this country, especially so because many of those praying, including many leaders of churches, are unrepentant and habitual delinquent sinners. And worse – pretenders!
We need a national purgation. We need leaders, not pretenders. We should all be involved in serious reflection and introspection. We all should realize that most of our leaders are the problems and we put them in place for six years. And we allow them to savage, terrorize, bully and shame us. And to think that under the Constitution and the law – we are the sovereigns and they are our servants.
So we are primarily to blame. Why can we not stand on our rights?
As I wrote in many of my columns, articles and a collection of my speeches delivered in public during the Marcos martial law years – Freedom is for the Brave! And that too is the title of one of my twelve published books.
Relevant to the subject of our present condition, I am reminded of this line in Julius Caesar where Cassius told Brutus – “The fault dear Brutus is not in our stars but in our selves that we are underlings.” Why do we allow ourselves to be treated like slaves? Even the President is our servant – not our master. But President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has been treating us like his slave and we allow him to do that.
Thus, the need for us to awaken! And in so awakening, ask these presidential aspirants these questions to remind them that we, the people, are their sovereigns. And if they cannot give us satisfactory, intelligent and intelligible answers – they have no business running for President to make fools out of us. We will not allow it. Not this time!