27 November 2003

aka: Insert right foot in mouth without removing left foot

First off, I've been gone for a couple of days without a connection. Yup, been beating Praetorians on hard level. Defense is the best offense I always say.

I am digressing. Where was I? Oh yeah, what happened during my "dark" days; Fernando Poe Jr. has declared his intention to run for President. Manila Hotel. The Champagne Room. Mrs. FPJ crying. The whole show. Pomp, glamour, drama... Now all gloves are off. The dollar went down. Everyone including the kitchen sink is lamenting the next few years under another actor turned President.

But, how different would it be with the other presidentiables?

Everyone else who are running are not exactly immaculate themselves. A very close Gentleman relative who hit the Germans for US$500 million or else the airport won't open (I guess they didn't pay). An Educated Politician full of himself, who had one of his officials tie his shoe. Let's not even touch the Dumb Not-So-Bright Anchor (yeah, take off the doorknobs to prevent SARS), the Military Dudette. And the rest of the gallery, whoever they may be. Most of them have relatives or friends who they placed in positions. Most have properties and amenities way beyond their means. Most of them have approached a lot of religious groups for endorsements. And all of them profess their love of our country and are just there to better it. Right, pardon me while I exchange all my dollars to pesos, all five of them.

This is not about them. This is about FPJ.

Why are we so against FPJ? I myself am against him running until it hit me the other night. Would the Philippines be rid of corruption, scandal, bribery and mismanagement? We have had all that since I was born. It gets worse and worse. We survived the few years of Erap, so what's a few years of FPJ? What would change if FPJ won? What? What? Then, it dawned on me. One thing that would disappear; Connections. It happened during the Erap years, it will happen again if FPJ wins. A new clique would appear. A clique that is outside of the present government who will be ruining running things for the country. A gaggle of (I would assume) ignorami that will pretend to understand the idiosyncrasies of running a government.

Everyone is at least three degrees away from someone in power. What if someone new, and not knowledgeable in government comes in. What will happen to those precious titos, titas, kuyas, ates, lolos, lolas, yayas, etc. etc who are in position? Gone. Gone. Gone. Just like during the Erap days. The juicy and powerful positions would be up for grabs. And who will a President give it to but to people he knows and trusts. Does FPJ really know anyone in the present structure, aside from old Erap cronies? And I don't think he's THAT stupid to put them back in. He might? Oh well, same old... same old.. I just got one come back for that: Chavit Singson. Heh? Wah?

Everything will be in chaos. Who will be in charge of what? A former driver? A close friend? Or shudder... the return of Future First Niece Sheryl Cruz?

"It's the economy, stupid".

Yeah, right. But then again, what economy? We haven't had one in ages. Face it people, we have been on auto pilot since the day Cory declared that we will honor all the debts of the administration before her. We hit rock bottom and all we did was bring out a shovel and started digging. How many of you have been checking the Phisix? Know what the current unemployment rate is? How about interest rates? Know it? No? The only reason you check the dollar is because most of you have some and are secretly praying that it goes up so you can exchange it for a higher rate. So, what's the deal with the economy? I'd even bet our news shows don't even know what's what regarding the economy. Try asking them and I'd bet their retort would be is that we should print more money, literally. So, who's following and understanding the goings on of a country's economy except for a few Business clubs. Yeah, BUSINESS Clubs. Business clubs, who are worried about the state of our country? Bet they're more worried who their neighbors would be in the next few years in their protected villages than who my neighbors would be when I can't pay for a living anymore.

"So moron, you're not worried about the crime rate?"

Crime rate?! Crime rate?! Kidnappings are up. Bank robberies are up. Isn't it weird that it's so close to election time? Why, if I had a brain or two, I'd think it's to finance those in power to stay in power. What you call Crime, I call Indirect Fund Raising Projects. How many school shootings have we had? How many serial killings have we had? Tell me, has anyone in your neighborhood been house-robbed? We haven't had a decent Police Protection Program since Jueteng. Now that's the kind of protection that would prevent crime. Donchatink?

All I hear now, is that it's time to pack up and leave the country. Go ahead, leave. I've been there and done that. Lead that well-off, comfortable but boring life. Once old age hits you, make sure you don't come back and pine for the comforts of this wonderful country. Yup, wonderful. I stand corrected, it's way past wonderful. Despite all this, living here in the Philippines is a blast. The only place where people really help one another. Where people are honest enough to pay that jeepney driver their fare even when the driver is oblivious to who paid or not paid. Where we call people who serve us ate, kuya, boss, bossing, sir, manager without feeling inferior. Where we know the people who live around our community and greet each other everyday with smiles. You know what I mean.

I'm here for the show, baby. And I'm riding it up to the end.

I'm babbling. I know. So what's your point oh-so-knowledgeable-pure-kind-concerned jobert? Want FPJ to win? Want to drag all of us down to an all time low? Are you not concerned about your kids? What's up with you? Have you suddenly had a lobotomy cocktail?

My answer to all that? No. All I'm saying is that this is our system. If an action star can run and be voted in to office by a majority, I say that is democracy in action.

If our country really flounders like a goldfish out of it's bowl with a hungry cat approaching, we've been through that. This time, we don't get shot, arrested or tortured for speaking out. Three years ago, I was broke and down on my luck. I had a family to feed and two kids to send to school. I was down to my last twenty pesos but I managed to fight and win back all that I lost. That is what we are. Fighters. Smiling in the light of oppression. Scratching our heads. Wondering how we got to this but still trudging on.

If a movie actor ruins an already tattered country, then I say that is what we all deserve. Why do we deserve it? Well because we never once thought of EDUCATING the poor masses. We never once thought of TEACHING them what it means to vote because of popularity. We never EMPOWERED them with positions higher than Traffic Enforcer. If these impoverished masses had half of our education, would they vote the same? Education is a privelege here. True story: before I left for the US, a Social Studies teacher I had in high school taught us that the Republican and Democratic Parties are parties. Real Parties. I mean, literally, cocktail, beer, music kind of parties. Now, we are aghast that the majority believe that an actor can run a country? I'm not surprised. I'm amused, but not surprised. EDUCATION. EDUCATION. EDUCATION. That should be the platform of our next President.

But for a small minority (and I'm stretching it here) to dictate the majority, skewed voting reason or not, that is wrong.

At the least, if FPJ wins, we'll have a First Lady who looks good on camera.

I'll leave this with a question: What would you proudly choose? FPJ winning through an honest election. Or an honest competent politician winning by cheating the election. You decide.