MANILA - Academic experts have disapproved President Rodrigo Duterte’s personal tirades against a local official in Metro Manila, saying that such low level of discourse distracts Filipinos from the real sense of public service.
Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila President Emmanuel Leyco and Political Science Prof. Dennis Coronacion said Duterte's remarks about a local official's old sexy photos would result in less critical voters during the election period.
While Duterte did not name the official, many surmise he is referring to Manila City Mayor Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso, who appeared in some sexy movies before becoming a public servant.
“Unang-una, wala namang bawal sa kanyang (Moreno) ginawa… Ang ano lang, inilalagay sa isang masamang perspective na masama, bawal, krimen," Leyco, who a public administration expert, told ABS-CBN News.
(He did not do anything wrong. His actions (Moreno) were just put in a bad perspective.)
"Hindi naman krimen yun… Ang mas masama, dapat sana, ilagay kung ano ang pamantayan sa mga pinuno na yun," he added.
(It was not a crime... It should be about the standards of leaders.)
What should be used to assess politicians, he said, should be the quality of their service to the people, aside from their track record.
“Ano ba ang paglilingkod na dapat mong gawin? Ano bang mga pangangailangan ng mga mamamayan?” said Leyco.
(What kind of service should one give? What are the needs of the people?)
Duterte’s controversial remarks came amid talks that Moreno might seek the presidency next year, just as the former's daughter is also being encouraged to run for the same position.
Moreno and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio have so far posted relatively high ratings in election-related surveys.
Aside from raising the official's past, Duterte also said he will not grant the latter's local government the right to distribute the "ayuda" due to alleged lack of an orderly distribution system.
For Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, the Manila City government is more capable in distributing aid to its constituents than the national government.
“Yung big cities and provinces have division size personnel. Tapos papalitan mo ng isang platoon of clueless people who don’t know the terrain," Recto said in a statement.
(Big cities and provinces have division size personnel. Then you will replace these people with a platoon of clueless people who are not familiar with the terrain?)
"Mas kabisado ng city hall people ang mga kasuluksulukan ng kanilang lugar, pati mga eskinita saulado, kaysa naman doon sa mga central office bureaucrats,” Recto added.
(They know the very detail of their areas compared to central office bureaucrats.)
IMPACT OF MUDSLINGING ELECTORATE
Leyco reminded the country’s leaders that non-stop mudslinging as the election nears lowers the level of political discourse, down to the electorate’s mind.
“Talagang ibinababa ang consciousness sa pagpili ng kanilang mga pinuno… Sana ang pinagtatagisan, yung galing ng track record at yung galing, yung promise ng kanilang plataporma," he said.
(This lowers the consciousness in choosing our leaders. Leaders should be presenting their track record and performance, and the promise of their platforms.)
"'Pagka-ganyan ang labanan, mahihirapan tayong makapili ng pinuno na magdadala ng plataporma na magsusulong sa kaunlaran."
(If that's only the way they will present themselves, it will be difficult for us to choose our leaders who can promise progress in their platforms.)
Both Leyco and Coronacion believe that bickering in the country’s political arena could also result in many voters choosing less qualified leaders than the more competent ones.
“Pagkaganito na ang takbo ng usapan sa pulitika, hindi na ho ito nakakatulong sa ating mga mamamayan, kasi misleading ito eh. Saka hindi ito nakakatulong, lalo na sa darating na halalan," said Coronacion, who chairs the University of Santo Tomas - Department of Political Science.
(This type of conversation will not help us in politics, because this can be misleading. Certainly, this will not be helpful in the coming elections.)
"Kung saan, ang mga mamamayan sana ay magi-isip o mabibigyan ng tamang impormasyon kung sino ang pipiliin nila,” he pointed out.
(We hope that conversations will center on helping our citizens think critically based on correct information that they have.)
Coronacion reminded politicians that reliving a public servant’s past would also not help address the pandemic.
With just 9 months before the May 2022 elections, Leyco and Coronacion gave these reminders to the electorate:
“Ito ang pinakamahalagang eleksyon sa ating kasaysayan. Ito ang napakahalaga, bakit? Kasi bagsak ang ating ekonomiya. Bagsak na bagsak… Napakalahaga ng eleksyon na ito na lumabas ang pinuno na mag-aangat sa ating ekonomiya,” Leyco said.
(This is the most important election in our history because our economy is down. We need to choose our leaders who would lift us.)
“Kung sila ay naka-upo ngayong panahon ng pandemic, ano ba ang nagawa nila upang maibsan ang ating problema sa pandemic?… Kung wala, siguro panahon na para palitan natin sila," Coronacion said.
(What did they do during their term now that there is a pandemic? Maybe it is time to replace them if they did not do anything.)
Coronacion pointed out that it is high time that each voter takes the pandemic issue personally, before casting their vote.