Sunday, March 7, 2010

Why I Can't Vote for Manny Villar

Our country is in critical condition. It’s been in bad shape for many years. Most Filipinos know what the problems are but we can’t seem to try a different approach, much like treating a febrile patient in a lot of pain with the same medications again and again.

Manny Villar can only continue the status quo. It is not within his nature to change his razor-sharp business instincts. He engineered his political power similar to the methodical, ruthless and unscrupulous manner he amassed his multi-billion peso fortune.

There is no doubt about his superior business acumen and he has been slickly packaged without regard to cost.

In the US, Villar would not have lasted the first primary because of the C-5 scandal. Public service is a sacrifice. It is neither a way to make a living nor accumulate a fortune. Since 1992, when Villar first became a Congressman, his wealth has geometrically progressed. This to my mind, is singular proof that he exploited his political power towards becoming the “Brown Taipan” he proudly calls himself today.

Politics is exceedingly personal in the Philippines. The most traditional of these politicians are thoughtful, generous, caring and friendly. I know of a city Councilor who has received small Christmas and birthday gifts without fail from Villar since she was elected in 2004. There is nothing illegal here, Villar supporters call this “doing homework” and it is commendable, under different circumstances.

If 100 Filipinos do not die from TB daily, or 18 babies do not die from infectious diarrhea every day, or our best teachers, doctors, nurses have not gone to other countries because of the chronic drought of opportunities, or there is no widespread hunger and demeaning poverty, or there is no systemic corruption that has sapped our moral character as a People, then Villar’s defense of the status quo would be acceptable and he should have every right to defend and continue this form of political culture.

But not like the US and other developed nations, where there is also corruption, Philippine society today is broken. Hardly anyone cares about the welfare of other Filipinos because most of us are on survival mode. It makes perfect sense to overthrow this transactional system prevailing in our country and replace it with an order that promotes justice and genuine compassion for the poorest and weakest Filipinos.

Unlike the Count of Monte Cristo or Simoun from El Filibusterismo however, who built their fortunes in other lands to force a day of reckoning, Villar attained everything he acquired from the blood, pain, sacrifice and loneliness of his fellow Filipinos without just a little help from the established political dispensation he has learned to master.

And this is why I cannot vote for Villar, for it is in his nature to continue and even strengthen the traditional patronage politics in our country that benefits the very few and mollifies the enfeebled masses with scrap and morsel.


Anonymous said...

With the current roster of candidates I don't think you can select one who have/will not do patronage politics since after all - politics is at most patronage.

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Michelle said...

You know what, there was a point when I would vote for him simply because someone told me that Villar has been really nice in some charities. But in reality I guess this is the government's funds that he is using simply to promote himself. I know it's quite sad that someone that is educated like me would fall for his trap even for a second, what more for our less educated countrymen? You have effectively swayed me into not voting for him. More so, I wish that you would win as senator. I really believe in your ideals and I still remember the time when I first listened to you in Ateneo. That was in the previous elections, I'm glad you decided to run again.

E David said...

It is when I come across people like you who show integrity, credibility and practical intelligence that my hope of a brighter Philippines remains to burn, or to be more precise, to flicker in an otherwise very dark state of the nation. While I have left the country for London in 2000, I feel no guilt as I have served the country as an educator for 8 years prior to that. It's high time that the Philippine government take education issues seriously and not just pay lip service to it. The post of education secretary must be entrusted to a practitioner who is well aware of the current issues in the country's education and the good models around the globe that may be modified to suit the country's needs. My support goes to you, Dr Bautista. Pray ceaselessly and go to that rotting place called the Philippine Senate and save it from decades of rotten politics for which it was subjected it.