Saturday, March 8, 2008

My Diagnosis

Less than a year ago, Jess Paredes, Adrian Sison and myself were going around the country essentially telling everyone that we volunteered for a suicide mission precisely because we needed to have the right to say “we told you so”. There are so many Filipinos who can contribute much to our country but who have their personal reasons why they choose to stay out of the fight. These are the same Filipinos who are now counting upon their religious leaders, officers of the armed forces and ironically, their elected traditional politicians to deliver themselves from the dishonest dispensation of Gloria Arroyo. What can be more na├»ve? It’s certainly more of a stretch than my dream of a Raul Gonzalez conversion (for some reason, looking back on better days, I haven’t lost hope in this).

To those of you who voted for the “opposition”, did you really expect them to disrupt their preferred positions in the political food chain? And to those administration loyalists, were you seriously expecting the likes of Senators Joker and Zubiri to fight for the education and healthcare and ultimately for the lives of the millions of poor children at the expense of their personal friendship with Gloria and Mike?

We are all schmucks, we are all underlings if this had been our collective delusion. And I am not sour-graping, that millions more would have supported us three to give real change a chance because I myself had to rush back to the US after the elections in order to make a living for my children. I realize we all need to protect our own little interests and it is to the desperately hungry and the chronically ill and the truly poor and dispossessed people to rise and right this disastrously unfair, unjust, and abysmally anti-life system that is killing them.

And here is where the gastroenterologist makes his diagnosis: because we do not have sufficient love for these, the very least of our brethren who consistently sell their votes and behave like wild beasts concerned only about their day to day survival. I am doing good, my kids are going to good schools and they are well within the normal curve of the growth charts, my responsibilities are met and I sleep well every night.

We have seen the enemy.


pian said...

These administration Senators are certainly better than the PLUNDERER-backed opposition Senators, though I don’t think they have what it takes to change the system, for they have been in Philippine Politics too long. We need new blood. It’s not a question of saying ‘We told you so.” It’s mainly a question of ‘Who said what?” In other words, most of our voters don’t know you guys at all. You need only to make valid noises to make yourselves known.

Anonymous said...

Just kill them all. They are all the same. New blood is what we need. New Law: Nobody in public office more than 30 years old. No Generals older than 30 years old. Experience is important, but at what age do you start gaining it anyway, and how long before you have enough? This is not practice of medicine we are talking about.

JayM said...


Such is the nature of being in opposition!

Look, HRC has had to go through a lifetime in years, and triple that in bittersweet experiences, and she hasn't even established she will get the nomination! And you're nowhere near as good looking as she is!

Leaders have rarely had a clear run, the history is clear on that point.

I support you in your endeavour, but it does your cause little credit to chide the electorate for the collective and individual failure to recognise the change you champion. Your message was not heard or not heeded.

If you want to prevail, you'd better be on the hustings now rather than three years hence. You'd better work on your campaign network now, to be ahead of the game. You'd better do your post-mortems now, etc etc. Have a cold hard look at the gameplan going forward. And I do sympathise, because I, like yourself, place my family responsibilities necessarily before all else.

Martin, it's a noble and worthy cause you embarked on, and as much as words can sustain you, know me as one who supports you and your cause.

Have a stiff drink - I can tell you don't mind that! Get together with your friends and curse the fates. Then get back to work and bend your back to the burden once again.

Martin D. Bautista, M.D. said...

many thanks for the advice, Jay-mate, I knew I needed that stiff drink! look at the post once more though, nowhere did I chide the electorate, that would be an exercise in futility. Pogo made the diagnosis.

Anonymous said...

i envisioned zubiri to do justice in the senate (taga-UPLB pa naman sya!) but shame on him and joker (and defensor santiago) for sucking up to pgma.

people, us, are losing not them so sad.

Anonymous said...

No more trapos. New blood!!

Anonymous said...

And no relatives of trapos either. Genuine new blood.

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benny said...

Hi Martin,

We're in the same generation, in fact must have moved in the same social orbit at some point, presently live abroad and share the same hopes and passions for the country. I myself have decided before the onslaught of this political tempest to bring back my family home and stand firm on the decision.

I can understand the dilemma between looking after little self-interests (and maintaining the family's middle-class comfort is not necessary bad) and taking on the seemingly quixotic cause of changing this intractable society.

Having been newly enfranchized by the absentee voting law, I would have voted and campaigned for you had I known about you in the last elections.

Though the overseas Filipino vote is so far making very little dent,with low participation yet, I believe you can make use of this medium to mobilize this electoral sector. I believe that with the proliferation of the internet, more and more overseas Filipinos would like to have a say in the affairs back home. After all, you're one of the overseas Filipinos, and our vote has multiplier effect because of our financial clout with families and relatives back home.

Anonymous said...


"Financial clout"???

You wish for overseas Filipinos to exploit their "financial clout" with relatives and family in order to influence (force) them to vote a certain way? Seems a bit arrogant to me.

Dr. Bautista - I follow your blog. I think you have the determination, the understanding, the means and the intellectual ability to make serious changes. Please continue to write about the relevant issues. The internet is a wonderful thing... if I point a few friends towards this blog, they will do the same... your readers will increase exponentially, and over a few years, this could increase your following. More power to you!

benny said...

I only meant that breadwinners have potentially suasive, not coercive, power over the family and extended families as far as political decisions are concerned.

I believe the authors of the Overseas Absentee Voting Law are well aware of this. Unfortunately, as the low registration turnouts attest to, OFW influence still has to make an audible rustle in politics back home.I believe the problem is not so much the OFW's innate indifference as logistics and dissemination.

It's an irony how the US$14 billion in OFW annual remittances have saved the day for us from the aftereffects of the US subprime crisis and earlier regional financial turmoils but the people behind this huge foreign exchange inflow are largely politically voiceless still...

Dr. Bautista could come as a very credible voice to speak for this yet inchoate political block if the right political network and machinery could be established... As a visible springboard for a political career, I think he can start right here where the electorate needs a recognizable face that they can identify with, not to mention that the field is wide, new and not crowded with trapos...

Martin D. Bautista, M.D. said...

Benny, thanks for your confidence. I will do my best to earn your trust.

benny said...

Hi Doc,

The issues of health care for the poor, alleviation of poverty, change from traditional politics, etc. are the oft-repeated mumbo jumbo of every Juan dela Cruz in the hustings. I know you are sincere when you espouse these causes, but I think you should take a more distinct platform to define your debut into Philippine politics ... something that defines where you come from but also resonates to the heart of every Filipino overseas and at home... The title of this blog seems to me a good starting point... "Dahil uuwi ka rin, paghahandaan natin...", etc, etc. A simple slogan or jingle is sometimes enough to make you rise above the sea of platitudes in Philippine politics.

There is an angst in every one of the 8 million Filipinos who have to work overseas to provide for their families as well as in the families left behind who are torn away from their breadwinners. As a doctor, and an OFW to boot, I believe it is this "heart problem" that you have to diagnose and address... and I am sure you will touch chord with every Filipino electorate...

That, and of course the logistical network to spread your message...

nestor said...

dr. bautista, good luck in your pursuit for a better philippines. your idealism, am sure will serve you in good stead in the future.

i think we all are part of the same generation who grew up wishing for a better philippines during marcos' authoritarian rule. am sure we all spent considerable time on the streets to "makibaka" leading to edsa 1. i am part of that generation with sincere and genuine nationalism who somehow ended up in a foreign land.

we both graduated from medical school in 1989. i stayed to practice medicine in our country for several years only to be disillusioned of the system. it is hard to practice medicine in our country without losing your ideals. i tried but i found myself in a situation wherein i have to choose the path of least resistance for myself and family. as humans, our instinct to survive takes over when we are pushed to the edge. this might be the reason why am still stuck here in my neurology private practice in texas. unlike you who acted on your inner desire to be of service to our country now, i could only look towards where you are thinking when i could do the same without regards for my own and of the people who look up to me. the annual medical missions and teaching sessions during my visits will never be enough but am hoping it would make a difference somehow for the meantime.

anyway, it took a lot of courage to do what you have done during the last election. unfortunately, as you found out the hard way, our people is immature politically. no candidate can hope to win an election based on ideals and "plataforma" alone. no, not at this time. the populace is not ready for that, especially if many of our people have empty stomachs. why do you think estrada has a good chance of winning again if he runs for president today despite his conviction? you need money and organization. of course, it would help if you are popular.

and here lies the tricky part, how do you make yourself popular? well, your blog which my good friend from high school, benny, has shown me is a good place to start. if all right minded filipinos will latch on to this, the middle class, not to mention the millions of ofw, can be mobilized to slowly but surely help change politics in our country. the internet is an uncharted territory in politics which might give us the edge in the next election. the time to start mobilizing and organizing for the next election is now.
we need to somehow make our message be heard loud enough for people to start listening.

and when they start listening, are you all ready to act on your ideals?

Jaywalker said...

A level political playing field is what we envisioned when we advocated for the Absentee Voting law, unfortunately the trapos will not allow this to happen thus the contentious "residency requirement" was insidously inserted at the last minute. One of the main obstacle thrown in the way of active participation by Overseas Filipinos coupled with loss of confidence and apathy towards our political system under the stranglehold of the trapos resulted in dismal number of registrants and those who actually voted.

As long as we have a fraudulent electoral system it will take a miracle for a genuine leader to get elected.

Patronage and personality based politics thrive in a poverty stricken society where 1/3 of the population are poor.

There should be a way to reach out to the more than a million who voted for you, Jess, & Adrian in the last election...... get them involved and if they can get 3 more voters that will increase your supporters to 3 million and come 2010 I see a much stronger and viable organization challenging the powers that be.

Adrian Sison said...


Jess and I, Adrian are hosting a cable TV show every Thursday at Global News Network since April 17, 2008 on Destiny Cable Channel 3
from 615 to 715 pm.
Hurry back, so you can co-host with us brother.
Adrian Sison