Tuesday, May 17, 2016

People create a good government

By Alfredo C. Garvida Jr.

With only a week left before the Filipino electorate goes to the polls to finally render its verdict as to who will govern this nation for the next six years on the national level, serious questions have started to arise which could still alter the course of the voters' preference along the projections of the election surveys.

Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, the intemperate political warrior from Mindanao, who has widened his lead over his closest rival even after his reckless joke about that raped and murdered Australian woman inside a prison cell in his family's political fiefdom that is Davao City, appears on his way to becoming the next Philippine president after the May 9 elections—if the latest ABS-CBN-sponsored Pulse Asia survey remains unchanged up to election time. This would mean that those who voted for him were not affected by his reckless words and dispositions in public: because he is their "man" who will solve their woes against criminals and corrupt people in government "in 3 to 6 months."

His rhetoric is tantalizing, and his presentation of himself as an honest man in the public service, who would "cut off the balls" of a dishonest cabinet undersecretary, was pleasing to the ears of people who have been overdosed with the licentious existence of corruption in government. 

The problem with Mr. Duterte's rhetoric, however, lies in his inability to explain how he will wipe out criminality in the land in 3 to 6 months' time. True, he is long been perceived as the main man of the Davao Death Squad that has been blamed for innumerable summary executions in the city, all in the name of what he calls summary justice. He has admitted, without any reservation or traces of compunction, that he has killed hundreds of man on suspicion of being criminals. And people love him for this. He is their savior, their shining knight in armor; but he has not solved criminality in Davao City—where he and his family have ruled for more than two decades on—within a period of 6 months, lest this vaunted city of the South would not be listed yet as the no. 4 crime-infested area in the whole of the Philippine archipelago by the Philippine National Police to date.

Sen. Antonio Trillanes just last week came out with an explosive revelation about Mr. Duterte's bank accounts where the fighting mayor of Davao City did not declare on his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN). The anti-graft advocate senator, who is also running for vice president, is alleging that about P4.2 billion have gone through his bank accounts' deposits since 2006 and he wants to know if taxes have been paid out of these transactions and/or whether they have been declared in his SALN during these periods, as required by law. 

Most importantly, Mr. Trillanes wants to know where did all these monies come from? If they came from business dealings, why is Mr. Duterte pleading to the people that he is no rich man? If they came from other sources, like contributions, donations and whatever else, under what basis were they given to him for? And were they properly declared as income and assets during all those transaction years?

The big lesson here, that the Filipinos must keep in their hearts, is that they should not become captive to their emotions; that reason must reign over passion when passing judgment over a candidate. 

Mr. Duterte must come out clean and precise in explaining his side about the Trillanes expose. Otherwise, if he gets elected as president, he had taken the people for a ride. Judgment rests accordingly on the Filipino electorate then comes the 9th of May. It is the people who create a good government, because as Thomas Jefferson once said "a just government derives its power from a just people."

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