As Filipinos head to the voting polls today to elect a new government, on can only hope that the nation has learned its lesson the past six years under the Duterte administration. Popularity doth not a good leader make and neither does a popular mayor or governor a compassionate, objective, strategic or visionary head of state. The viciousness and corruption of the Duterte leadership within a six year timeframe surpassed even the Marcos dictatorship that spanned twenty years.
Is the Filipino collective consciousness finally ready to admit that it made a horrible mistake in 2016? Has the nation finally learned the painful lesson that bribery during the electoral campaigns did not translate into subsequent six years of progress, development, economic growth, diminished human rights violations and international respect and recognition?
What little gains the Philippines managed to obtain in international playing fields during past administrations were obliterated by the diplomatic crudeness and socio-political vulgarity of a man who took an oath as a lawyer to uphold the law, and as the head of state, to protect the nation and defend the country.
The sad part of the whole situation is not the multi-front political debacle, but the continued blindness of the masses who voted him into power. The fault of the current state of the Philippines cannot be entirely attributed to Rodrigo Duterte, but burden of responsibility must be shared by those who were blinded by the sociopath who was voted into power.
You would think that after a tragic and miserable track record failed presidencies such as the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo administration, people know better and are more discerning during elections. But the Filipino collective consciousness is masochistic and has a short memory, a deadly combination manifested in the failed poverty alleviation attempts of the government.
So I await the results of today’s elections with curiosity and desperation, my Filipino roots still deeply entrenched in the culture despite what my current passport says. When I left Manila in 2017I swore I would not return to the Philippines until the Duterte reign of terror was over. This self-imposed exile painful, and I do miss my homeland with passion, but if the next administration will continue the Duterte legacy, there is no way I am going “home” just yet.
Call me a rebel, but I have a cause, and I stand by it.
Mabuhay ka Pilipinas!