Seeing red

“The proliferation of political dynasties has become big family business. Only in the Philippines!”


First, there was the Red October plot to oust President Rodrigo Duterte. The military with Armed Forces Chief General Carlito Galvez himself dismissed the plot as spawned by Palace spin doctors. Now comes another alleged conspiracy to topple Duterte in a so-called Red December. It is beginning to look like the ones purveying the Red scare are the Palace people themselves. Is it to distract the people from inflation and the high cost of living?

There are no weapons of mass destruction in the latest concoction about a Red December plot. The only weapon being used here is one of mass distraction to draw away the attention of the populace from the real gut issues of hunger and high prices of basic commodities. These are what make people see red.

My God, what will they think of next? If reports of the President’s failing health (not cancer) are true, then those who want to see him go do not need to oust him by force. Those who don’t support the President should just bide their time for nature to take its course or wait for 2022 at the end of his six-year term. Then, voters can commit the same mistake—as they did when they elected an incompetent Noynoy Aquino and a Davao mayor to the presidency. The “masa” voting bloc is our own worst enemy. This mass-based voting bloc elect candidates for their popularity instead of their competence, as they did former actor and college dropout Joseph “Erap” Estrada.

Political dynasties are able to perpetuate themselves because voters themselves allow them to thrive in practice of political patronage. Look at the Binays in Makati, the Cayetanos in Taguig, the Estradas in Manila and San Juan, etc. If all three win in the 2010 elections we are going to have two Estradas in the Senate ( JV and Jinggoy), a Cayeteno in the Senate and in the House, plus former vice president Jejomar Binay as Makati Representative in the House, a Nancy Binay in the Senate and either Abigail or Junjun Erwin Binay as Makati mayor. The proliferation of political dynasties has become big family business. Only in the Philippines!

Filipinos suffered and survived 300 years of Spanish rule and a half century under the Americans The last foreign forces here were the Japanese who occupied the country during the Pacific war. The question being asked by students of history is this: What took us so long to rid ourselves of the invaders?

Vietnam fought two major wars and won against the powerful armies of France and the United States. Modern-day Vietnam is now ahead of the Philippines economically and politically. Never mind what the pollsters tell you that we have the fastest-growing economy in Asia. Why then are we still importing rice from Vietnam and Thailand? These two countries, together with our ASEAN neighbors Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and Indonesia, have a more stable political system.

There are dark chapters in history that take long to unravel. A revolution is not always the answer. A case in point is the decades of racial apartheid policy of South Africa. Black political prisoner Nelson Mandela and white President F.W. de Klerk worked together and ended apartheid. For their non-violent way of waging a political sea change, Mandela and KlerK were declared joint winners of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.

In nearby Myanmar, the military junta prevailed but later eased its grip over the country. The people of Myanmar have come to accept the rule of the generals with some semblance of free voting and press freedom. There are now a few newspapers in Myanmar allowed to operate with little restriction. Several years back when I visited Myanmar, the only existing newspaper was the government publication called the New Light of Myanmar. Light has indeed come to Myanmar albeit only through shafts in the window. For this small gesture of liberalization, the United States lifted economic sanctions against Myanmar and opened diplomatic relations with the country once known as Burma.

Topics: Alejandro del Rosario , Seeing red , Red October , President Rodrigo Duterte , Political dynasties
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