"This is the only script that matters."
It’s a few days before Nov. 15, the last day of substitution of candidates for the May 2022 elections.
As the different national candidates begin making their presence felt online and offline, other politicians wait for the last minute to bare their real election plans, keeping the public guessing about what is to come and what the final lineup will be.
Just yesterday, for instance, the daughter of the President, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, said she was withdrawing her re-election bid and that her brother would substitute for her. Another ally will substitute for the brother.
That’s all she has said as of press time Tuesday evening.
The public, meanwhile, is left speculating about who will end up running for what post, and who will eventually decide not to run, after all. At this point, anything can happen. Allies can turn into bitter rivals. Opponents can go together for convenience. Placeholders will eventually yield to whomever it is they are waiting for.
Amid this contrived circus, our problems remain.
COVID-19 remains a threat, businesses have suffered, people have lost jobs, government corruption remains rampant and progress, if any, has been uneven and sporadic.
These problems will not be solved by the playbook that is being foisted upon the people. Neither will these be addressed by distracting the people who are now talking about who will do what next instead of exacting accountability from the leaders who are, right now, in a position to make a difference — but haven’t.
The harrowing crisis brought by the COVID-19 pandemic should prompt Filipinos to be wiser and more circumspect this time around. We should ignore the hype and the drama, and focus on the qualities we want in a leader.
For 2022 onward, we should draw up our own playbook that includes measuring candidates’ sincerity, truthfulness, integrity and preparedness for the job. It is a playbook that will tell us how best to choose public servants — not lords or saviors or heroes or entertainers. It would be a guide to how we can claim our future, once and for all.