(If you support other candidates, feel free to stick around, even if you’re not the intended audience. You might pick up a thing or two worth thinking about. )
Let’s face it: None of us want a Duterte presidency to flush this country down the toilet.
We can already see the signs: Phil Stock Exchange is going down, international media, think-tanks and even ambassadors have spoken out against an impending Duterte administration. Unconfirmed reports of people losing employment over Duterte’s gaffes. Foreign governments considering legal action for Duterte camp shenanigans.
Duterte is already a national embarrassment, but voting him into office simply means we, The People, become an international laughingstock.
From Rising Star of Asia in six years to International Black Hole in six months. Cool, no?
I’m sure by now you think, “Oh Sweet Jesus, he’s going to try to sell Roxas! Fuck, I’m outta here.”
Calm down. I’m not gonna sell you Roxas. I don’t even like the guy. “Colossal douchebag,” remember?
Instead, I’m going to remind you why you’re so passionate about these elections over and above all of the other past elections we’ve had.
Whether you like it or not, we have come a long way since 2010. Our macro indicators are good. Highest growth rates in decades. Lower unemployment, factored with a still-growing population, means we’re generating jobs. Lower inflation means prices aren’t rising as high. Lower debt-to-GDP ratios mean we have more resources to utilize towards development rather than debt servicing. In the last six years we’ve managed to lay down more road infrastructure throughout the country – the type that stays, mind you, not the kind that washes away after a single typhoon season. So many other indicators, all of which say one thing: we’re better off now than 6 years ago.
And now Duterte has a real chance of getting into Malacanang and undoing everything we’ve accomplished since 1986.
What does this have to do with Llamanzares? Well, see, people this odd notion that only Llamanzares can beat Duterte. And I say “odd notion” because the survey trends don’t support that view (then again, what do we know, right?). But the more important reason why I find that odd is that Duterte himself doesn’t seem to think Llamanzares is much of a threat. Beyond the first time Duterte said he’d run for President, claiming he doesn’t want an “American” to become President, Duterte hasn’t really given Llamanzares much thought.
And it’s not wonder. When Llamanzaes had the opportunity to confront Duterte about his misogyny and the rape joke, she barely pressed the issue, with “perhaps women will appreciate more respect even a little restraint” being the best she could do. When Duterte’s bank accounts issue exploded in news media and throughout social media, Llamanzares was absolutely nowhere to be found. A full day later, Llamanzares says, “Kung hindi naman kanya yon, eh di ilabas na lang na hindi kanya yon, mas makakatulong pa sa kanya.”
Medyo mahina at mabagal bumangon si Llamanzares.
I think it’s because at the end of the day, Duterte’s strongest point is that he presents himself as the antithesis to the status quo – “Change Is Coming.” And as candidates go, Llamanzares does not typify the status quo, nor does she really represent significant change. And Duterte knows it.
You see, I totally get it. Llamanzares doesn’t really represent change for you either. She represents safety. All of the benefits of this administration, with none of the associated hang-ups like unpopular Cabinet Secretaries or perceived large-scale failures.
Certainly, compared to Duterte, Llamanzares appears to be a “safe” choice.
But, is Llamanzares really safe?
If you haven’t already read my previous blog entry, here are some choice cuts:
Speaking of product: what is Grace Llamanzares, really? She had a forgettable stint as MTRCB Chair, after which she rode on Liberal Party machinery to ride to the top of the Senate polls in 2013. She’s had a lackluster half-term as Senator. One of her few claims to fame is how Sen. Enrile managed to arm-twist her into reopening the Mamasapano probe – which resulted in no new findings and was a complete and utter waste of time and taxpayer pesos. What makes her think she’s qualified to become President?
x x x
Whenever she talks, she speaks nonsense. Multiple war rooms in Malacanang? Check. Regional Malacanang offices? Check. 4Ps without conditions – which defeats the whole point of the 4Ps? Check. Non-existent provincial hospital in Maguindanao – even when there actually *is* one? Check and mate.
The few times she talks some sense, she wants to implement things that already exist or are already under implementation. “Department of Emergency?” NDRRMC. An agency to tackle economic issues? NEDA. Zero-billing in hospitals? Already done in government hospitals. A third bridge, mass transit in Cebu? Already in the pipeline. Mass transit in Metro Manila? Already in the pipeline under the Metro Manila DREAM Plan. CCTVs for crime fighting? DILG’s Safe KAm. Greater police visibility? DILG’s Oplan Lambat Sibat. Greater grassroots participation in governance? Bottom-Up Budgeting.
Llamanzares is not the safe option. Not by a long shot.
If you ever criticized the Aquino administration for being a “Student Council” administration, then all the more you should be frightened by the prospect of someone far more woefully inexperienced getting voted as Chief Executive of our government. Advisers? Forget about it: they aren’t democratically elected, where do you think their loyalty will lie? Local chief executive support? We know how fickle they can be.
Most of all, Llamanzares is not the safe option because at her core, she is the epitome of “personality politics.” She has no higher philosophy behind her Presidential run other than “she can win.” She has neither plans nor platform beyond her “Google Search Results for ‘Top 20 Issues Filipinos Are Talking About in 2015.'” She commands no actual political loyalty; at best, she can command some loyalty based on all of these resources and projects and programs she’s been promising all over the place – and what do you think will happen the instant she cannot deliver?
Hell, the only reason she chose “Galing at Puso” as her slogan is because it forms 2/3 of her initials. She has never explained how, exactly, she exemplifies either quality – beyond, “My father FPJ taught me…” Who’s running for President anyway: Llamanzares or FPJ?
We want the same thing: someone who really exemplifies “Galing at Puso.” Someone who is intimately familiar with our current state of affairs, who can hit the ground running upon assuming office, and who has the courage to stand up to oppressors, both local and foreign. Someone who genuinely cares about the less fortunate and who is willing to spend political capital to uplift their lives. You know as well as I do that we don’t have time to waste going back to Square One.
Grace Llamanzares is clearly not that person.
Mar Roxas is.
I know, I know. “I hate that guy!” So do I. Can’t stand him. But guess what: we’re not electing a BFF, we ‘re not electing a date, we’re not electing a boyrfriend, girlfriend, or even a spouse. We’re voting for a President of the Republic of the Philippines, and the only thing that President needs to be is capable, hardworking, and dependable.
“Pero palpak siya!” The only things Roxas has really failed at is in controlling his public image. He allowed the media – which in case you haven’t noticed has been clearly partisan since 2010 – to kick him around and make him the butt of jokes because he thought working hard and producing results would speak for themselves. Obviously that hasn’t worked out for him, but does that mean we should take his image at face value and decide from there? No, dear reader – you’re smarter than that. You don’t fall for cheap memes and blind items. You want to know more before making your decision.
So here’s some assistance.
You said you wanted “Galing,” right? Well, check out what Roxas has accomplished at www.marroxas.com and see for yourself what “galing” looks like. I also invite you to get the real scoop on Roxas at www.fightformar.wordpress.com to separate the wheat from the chaff.
You said you wanted “Puso,” right? Well, unlike *ahem* some people who returned to the Philippines for convenience (and to claim a multi-million peso estate), Roxas left a comfortable life in the United States to take up the cudgels of public service here. He didn’t have to, but he did. And if you take a look at his legislative record, you can tell that his “Mr. Palengke” moniker isn’t just for show – many of the laws he helped pass directly benefited the less fortunate. That’s Puso for you.
Llamanzares isn’t the safe choice against Duterte. Roxas is. So today I ask you, consider the real Galing at Puso. Consider Roxas.
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P.S. “Hold on, you asshole. You said you weren’t going to sell us Roxas!” I didn’t. I simply showed you that by wanting a candidate who exemplifies “Galing at Puso,” all along you really wanted Roxas.