IF YOU ask many sectors of today’s Philippine society, the handwriting on the wall is readable. Like in Babylon’s King Belshazzhar time, this administration has been weighed many times over and the result has always been the same: it’s not what the doctors ordered for the country.
In a word, unfit.
The solution is a no-brainer as far as former Supreme Court justice Antonio Carpio is concerned: dump it, along with everything and everyone that has something to do with it.
We need, he says, a better alternative. There are other alternatives, of course, but not the kinds that our country needs in the face of the pandemic, the continuing assault on human rights, the unbridled incursion of China into our territories and the continuing soft stance, even subservience, of Philippine officials to this attack to the country’s sovereignty.
Speaking of alternatives, there are at least two ideas being market tested: 1) the President’s daughter as presidential bet and Sen. Bong Go as vice president or 2) Bong or Sara as presidential candidates and President Duterte as vice president. Senator Manny Pacquiao, let it be known, is also having a moist eye on the presidential possibility next year.
Carpio doesn’t mind as long as they, meaning Bong, Manny and Sara, are not running under the rag tag opposition coalition he is forming to challenge whoever Duterte will anoint to run for the top post. No way any of the three will be accepted by the coalition.
The best selling American novelist Kurt Vonnegut once said he didn’t want to be alive when three powerful men were named Bush, Dick and Colon. Does Carpio have the same sense of dread to three powerful names being proffered in this neck of the woods as presidential proxies?
With this position, Carpio is violating a cardinal rule: politics is supposed to be an addition. Apparently, he is no disciple, too of China-s former premier Deng Siao Ping who thought the color of the cat didn’t matter as long as it caught mice.
Obviously, political color is non-negotiable with Carpio, the staunchest champion of Philippine rights over its territories in the South China Sea China is claiming to be hers, fencing them off with militia ships and preventing the legal owner to even catch fish there. And China is generous?
The dilawans are okay, looks like it. Vice President Leni Robredo is part of the coalition. So presumably are other stalwarts of the tattered Liberal Party. Other opposition groups will be likely embraced, like long lost political kin.
The three stooges, Sara, Bong and Manny, are not welcome to the club of patriots. With Sara, it’s easy: the fruit doesn’t fall too far from the tree. Nor a durian bears a mangosteen. An authoritarian will not beget a democrat. The grafted ones will be almost the same.
Bong and Manny may not have the old man’s genes, they are dyed-in-the wool disciples. The boxing champ oftentimes quotesthe Bible to support his pro-Duterte positions. But as a wise and learned man, Carpio should know by now that the devil also quotes the Scripture to mask or shield its real agenda.
Bong? He is the perfect specimen of a stick-to-it loyal man. Except that, his unabashed loyalty to an authoritarian leader automatically disqualifies him in Carpio’s terms.
So the battle line is drawn: no Duterte men or women and pets allowed in Carpio–lead coalition. Pets are not necessarily the four-legged ones.
Carpio, given his stature, must be a man of principles, a man of ideals. Political pundits must be shaking their heads. Ideals are fine, one thinker said, except that as realities rub in, the costs become prohibitive.
Your reach must exceed your grasp, the British poet Robert Browning motivates, or what’s heaven for.
Heaven may not be Carpio’s goal. At the moment, what’s happening around seems to fulfill the truism that a nation of sheep beget a government of wolves. Carpio has had enough.
The bloody war on drugs, the unrelenting killing of suspected outlaws and enemies, real or imagined, of the state, the unending assault on Constitutional processes and the continued diatribes and insults against leaders and experts who simply have different but better ideas.
Carpio, in addition to his firm political conviction, must have a good feel of the public pulse, especially in the light of the government’s lapses and failures in dealing with the pandemic, from delayed vaccination to demoralizing vacillation
The word has been going around that many erstwhile Duterte fans are no longer as mesmerized as before by their idol. Woke is here. By refusing to even consider the possibility that a Duterte supporter will be accepted in the coalition’s fold, Carpio is not disregarding the addition dictum. He’s just careful who to add to the team.
By defining who’s in or out in the coalition, Carpio is defining decency and morality in politics. A caveat: Machiavelli long time ago had disabused that notion. The rough ahead will be tough for Carpio and company.