[OPINION] The season of hope 1

[OPINION] The season of hope

Dean Dela Paz

Posted at Dec 22 2021 12:56 AM

(Disclaimer: The opinion expressed here is the author's and does not reflect the position of ABS-CBN Corp.)

During the incumbency of Rodrigo Duterte, the public seemed resigned to their fate, surrendered to the ugly realities of a democracy warping autocratic and authoritarian, police powers proliferating and overwhelming not just the justice system but health science as well. Domestic labor was threatened by armies of foreigners invading industries and retail businesses. The unqualified replaced the qualified while critical utilities, energy exploration , power transmission, telecommunications, even election logistics fell to inexperienced hands.

On a geopolitical scale, Philippine sovereignty was systematically peddled to a hegemonic hostile power who established weapons of mass destruction within our waters with sights pointed straight at us.

Like pathetic vassals, we even required plastic over our faces deemed only marginally effective not so much to prevent the pandemic we imported from China but more to fatten the pockets of peddlers, Filipinos, Chinese or even Indians.

Under Duterte, we imported both vices and criminality from mainland China just as we ratcheted up our indebtedness to them. We fused into our residential neighborhoods gambling operators, illegal in China but legitimized as Philippine Online Gaming Operators (POGOs) among us. Never mind that they brought with them human trafficking, prostitution, and gangland criminality.

Even where Communist China did not verbally threaten war, they militarized the West Philippine Sea, arming artificial islands they claimed were temporary storm shelters. And they invade with armies guised as gambling operators, construction and factory workers or fishermen. Each conscripted to the Red Army.

The message of a threat of war and subjugation is clear. Clearer where their threats are parroted and reinforced by a prostrated Philippine president who claims he is powerless against his newfound, self-declared bosom buddies.

Do the math. Count the years. It has been half a century since we suffered such loss of self-respect, shame, and indignity.

Many regret tinkering with the constitution when we decided to extend a presidential term to six awfully, and exceedingly long years. The previous four-year term empowered the electorate and afforded opportunities to continue with a good president or terminate a bad one. In that, it was profoundly more democratic. Unfortunately, we decided that expediency and thrift were greater values. Extending the term limits we thought that the constitutional verbiage barring sequential re-election protected us.

It did not. But today, we view 2022 as a light at the end of the tunnel, seeing in suffrage hope. Hope that ignites prosecuting systemic ills to catalyze the return to decent, honest, and accountable democratic governance lost in the last five years.

Emboldened and indeed inspired, our pushbacks include the filing of graft and criminal cases against those who would use their influence and powers to hock and handover our patrimony. It includes doggedly investigating anomalous deals that rerouted billions and enriched influential peddlers and poseurs who victimized the vulnerable amid a health crisis. It includes denying the president’s political party any credible candidate, whether presidential or vice presidential, although in this, admittedly, internal rot and shameless fishwife infighting had a hand. Like a derailed runaway train absent an engineer, the party cannot be used to railroad 2022 much less solicit campaign funding.

On the ground it includes training the electorate to recognize falsehoods and fake promises. It includes setting up anti-troll campaigns, policing social media and denying paid print and online tabloids and hate-speech media attention. It includes creating a unified critical mass among legitimate media, lawyers, the academe, business groups, the clergy, and lay communities, that each would collectively denounce state-sponsored criminality, harassment, and injustice.

In the political arena, there is the undeniable pink phenomenon - a bright and veritable Bethlehem star.

(Dean dela Paz is a former investment banker and a managing director of a New Jersey-based power company operating in the Philippines. He is the chairman of the board of a renewable energy company and is a retired Business Policy, Finance and Mathematics professor.)

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Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.