Friday, May 15, 2009


How can anyone get excited about the presidential primaries, if the ANC Leadership Forum at the Ateneo were to be the gauge? One candidate had his fiancĂ©e chosen by his stage mother who went around inquiring about a prospective daughter-in-law who can draw the masa to their camp. Another is an unapologetic nominee of a ravenous oligarch; while yet another is this same oligarch’s estranged nephew who has now turned to suckle from his midget mama’s bountiful milk. There, too, was the “cry baby” of Philippine politics-- who embarrassed himself for hamming up with tears over the Red Cross workers’ kidnap in Sulu that drew flak from the AFP. 
Then, there’s that newcomer whom everybody knows is kicking himself upstairs because he failed to fulfill the expectations of his provincemates who helped secure his fluke of a slim win, who wouldn’t be able to win again given his situation today. This fellow, a priest whom we laud for his personal integrity, is sadly possessed of a hyperbolic perception of his own significance, who clings to an ideology that is too limited to the anti-corruption issue, betraying an ignorance or denial of neo-colonialism, as well as, corporatocratic feudalism as the real problems of this country. 
As you know, I don’t follow presidential debates, even those in the US , for statesmanship cannot be reduced to oratorical or debating prowess. If only such were the case, then snake oil salesmen would have made for great presidents. Yet that’s what the system today is all about--a system run by mainstream media, which in today’s so-called “democracies” are controlled by none other than the oligarchs and their neo-colonial masters. 
Because of this, discussions or debates are tightly controlled. In the case of the ANC Forum, we were correct in expecting the moderator, Tina Monson-Palma, not to ever ask what the presidential candidates would do about the highest Asia-wide power rates of the biggest distribution franchise in the Philippines for the simple reason that this would be against the oligarchic media owners’ interest. 
Monson-Palma’s questions did revolve around Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, however, and no doubt, Gloria worsened the national crisis by leaps and bounds. But all of the nation’s deep-seated problems preceded her and will continue long after she’s gone unless a fundamental redirection of the structure of this society is instituted. Unless we raise the people’s welfare to the highest priority of government, we will merely continue to relinquish control of all our political and economic affairs to the “money masters” and the political charlatans serving as their puppets. 
I set very high standards for leadership. I must first see these qualities indubitably proven by those seeking my support. I must first see the clarity and consistency in these people’s principles, along with their obstinacy and readiness to face any odds to see these through--traits commonly seen in revolutionary leaders like Fidel Castro, Mao Tse Tung or Ho Chi Minh; and in the likes of the US’ Founding Fathers or the heroes of the Philippine Revolution that culminated in the 1896 anti-colonial uprising. In today’s world, there are also elected leaders who exhibit these traits, like Venezuela ’s Hugo Chavez, who first suffered incarceration, or Bolivia ’s Evo Morales, who previously faced persecution. 
Most leaders of western democracies since the 1960s, in contrast, have been weak and opportunistic charlatans engineered by the power of money through the Bilderberg Group and its ancillary councils such as the Royal Institute of International Studies in Britain and the Council of Foreign Relations in New York . 
The real guiding lights in the West today are those in the anti-establishment socio-political movements--from the anti-war protesters like former attorney-general Ramsey Clark and Cindy Sheehan, to former Marine Scott Ritter and Fil-Am Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba (who’s leading the torture charges against Bush and Co.), to alternative media leaders like Michel Chussodovsky and Alex Jones, and the many groups around them. 
The neo-colonial reality in the Philippines sets the limits for Philippine political leaders. Thus, only a few have dared to challenge this. From the Lava and the Taruc brothers to Recto, Constantino and Lichauco, to Ferdinand Marcos and Joseph Estrada, the tradition of defiance against neo-colonialism has been sustained albeit costly. 
Marcos fought in the Second World War for the country and put forth RP’s economic development, which no amount of demonization can erase. Although he danced to the West’s neo-colonial tune for a while, he eventually asserted Philippine sovereignty and was deposed by a conspiracy of foreign and domestic forces. 
In similar fashion, Estrada championed the welfare of the masses and asserted Philippine sovereignty in Mindanao by demolishing the MILF, despite a note of warning from then President Clinton. By facing the wrath of the almighty US, he ended up with a coup and almost seven years of illegal incarceration. Earlier, Estrada had already been arrested and detained twice for defying Martial Law, but his real test came after his fall from power, where, despite Mrs. Arroyo’s twice-offered lures of comfortable exile, he chose incarceration while arguing his case before Gloria’s kangaroo court. And, as we now can see in the aftermath of the MoA on Ancestral Domain imbroglio, the MILF and the US are definitely in cahoots! 
The other leaders who have shown proof of their dedication to their principles are the likes of Gen. Danilo Lim, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, the Bagong Katipuneros, Capt. Dante Langkit (the only one detained in Ft. Bonifacio), the group of Gen. Renato Miranda, the groups in Camp Aguinaldo and Tanay, many of the leaders of left-wing movements, and my own colleagues in Edsa III who have faced harassment, arrests, abductions and torture but who have remained true. If only these were the leaders being considered, I’d wake up and take notice.