"This is politics at its lowest and dirtiest."
President Rodrigo Duterte exemplified how not to run an election campaign. For him to extol the virtues of his administration candidates is fine and par for the course in the midterm elections. But for him to rip into the opposition’s candidates and downgrade their qualifications in a negative tone is certainly foul. It does not at all help voters know what the real issues are that affect their daily lives.
There are certainly an array of issues the Duterte administration has to answer. To be fair, both sides of the candidates still do their song-and-dance routine to win votes. Those who neither sing nor dance but who are rich can simply buy votes.
This is the kind of politics going on in our country. As someone said: “pera-pera lang ‘yan.” This is sad but true, and this is why the people get the leaders they get. Money, rather than true qualifications, speaks volumes.
But to focus on the supposed shortcomings of the opposition candidates apparently is a distraction to avoid the administration’s failure to address gut issues like high cost of living due to its runaway TRAIN Law and the excise tax on gasoline and other petroleum products. Metro Manila’s monstrous traffic problem was brought about by the lack of an efficient public mass transport system. Poor public housing and the unemployment/ underemployment of millions of Filipinos are also issues the administration has to address.
It’s time to stop blaming the previous Noynoy Aquino administration for the ills now being experienced by the people and the Digong government. Duterte and his gang of underperformers have had more than two years to fix these problems. The government with its Build, Build, Build approach to ease the traffic problem and at the same time provide jobs for construction workers has only aggravated the traffic problem with the closure of many main roads for the planned skyways and expressways.
Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar should take a cue on how Bangkok did it. Travel time by land from Bangkok to the airport used to take three hours, but not anymore.
Transportation Secretary Art Tugade who guested at a CNN Philippines TV program last Wednesday spoke like he knows his job. But his suggestion of emergency powers for the President only proved he cannot do the job at his level. His “basket of solutions” to handle the traffic problem seem more like a basket-case approach. Unfortunately, interviewer Cherrie Mercado did not push the issue.
If Duterte believes his candidates are more qualified than the opposition’s, then let them take them on in a live debate covered live on TV. Duterte openly endorses former Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go and former Metro Manila Development Authority head Francis “Tol” Tolentino.
Can Tol defend himself in a debate with the opposition who would certainly bring up his role in the traffic mess in the metropolitan area? Lest I am labeled as a loyalist of the much-vilified Liberal Party “Yellows,” I would like to make clear I have no love for most of them, particularly a certain accidental president named Noynoy “Know-Nothing” Aquino.
A public debate would give Digong’s candidates an opportunity to bring out the malfeasance in the Aquino administration for the voters to recall. Speaking of which—this was how the former Davao City mayor came to power and on to the gates of Malacañang. If prepared, administration bets can speak on various issues during a public debate, and they can also get elected. So, why skirt the issues if they can be answered?
In a clear demolition job, President Duterte and PDEA chief Aaron Aquino announced that they will reveal a list of candidates in “narco-politics.” The list to be made public two weeks before the May 13 elections allegedly involves several names in the opposition slate.
If the government has a solid case,, why not file charges against them now ? Does it have to be done at the homestretch of the poll campaign when those involved do not have any more time to challenge the allegations in a court of law?
The motive is apparently to put a stigma of drug involvement on the candidates that will hang over the heads and minds of voters. This is politics at its lowest and dirtiest.