Debate of election candidates

ABOVE THE BELT | ALEX P. VIDAL

“A good leader can engage in a debate frankly and thoroughly, knowing that at the end he and the other side must be closer, and thus emerge stronger. You don’t have that idea when you are arrogant, superficial, and uninformed.” –Nelson Mandela

NEW YORK CITY — The upcoming debates among the candidates in the May 2019 Philippine elections will finally give the voters the opportunity to carefully choose their next leaders based on the following: 1. competence and qualification; 2. sincerity; 3. mental and emotional toughness; 4. character; 5. spirituality.

There are those who are competent and qualified like Eleanor Roosevelt, Einstein and JFK, but are half-hearted, confused, and downright insincere.

There are candidates who are sincere like Mother Theresa, Thatcher, Gandhi and Marcus Aurelius, but are afflicted with poverty of reason and common sense.

There are those who have been gifted with the qualities of all the aforementioned great men and women in history, but possess bad manners and are impaired by a dysfunctional character.

In a debate, the chaffs will be separted from the grains; the deranged, the anarchists, the ruffians, the mongerers, the jokers, the magicians, and the circus players will be unmasked.

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We are saddened to hear that Iloilo City’s Hope Hervilla is no longer with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in the Philippines.

With her background as eductor and mass organizer, Hervilla, a mainstay of the Central Philippine University (CPU), would’ve been the Duterte administration’s big asset in the continuing promotion of social issues and advancement of the rights and welfare of the marginalized especially in the countryside.

Hervilla and fellow undersecretaries  Mae Ancheta-Templa and Maria Lourdes Turalde-Jarabe, a former Gabriel secretary general, left the  DSWD in November 2018 or two months ago.

So many other Ilonggo appointees have been actively but coyly working with President Rodrigo Duterte since 2016.

Their appointments vary and the scope of their job is either “confidential” or liaison in nature.

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Some of them work “silently” (or nobody knows they are the “eyes and ears” or “moles” of the president) and have eschewed public attention, but they know a lot of things about certain individuals who are directly and indirectly involved in politics and public service. 

Compared to his predecessors, Mr. Duterte is patently unique when it comes to hiring subalterns or co-terminus minions who don’t need to report physically in Malacanang.

While his predecessors like FVR, Erap, GMA, and P-noy tapped characters who have been enormously exposed to glamor of politics, Mr. Duterte chose the lesser-known henchmen and women.

These nameless factotums, so far, haven’t disappointed their big boss; they have proven themselves to be worth of the president’s trust and confidence.

Unlike the VIPS and the politically inclined provincial subordinates in the past administrations, most of the Ilonggo presidential appointess, because they don’t have political ambitions, don’t cultivate bloated egos.

Even if Mr. Duterte wasn’t around during the recent Dinagyang Festival in Iloilo City, some of these Iloilo underlings made sure that the president’s most favorite senatorial candidate, Bong Go, was with the right local public officials, the right crowd, and given the right or proper media exposure.

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The bombing of a Catholic Church in Jolo in Mindanao that killed 27 churchgoers was an insult to all faithful regardless of religious denomination.

Pope Francis had all the reason to get angry even as he exhorted Catholics and all over the world to pray for the victims–the dead and the survivors, their families, as well as the cuplrits.

Since Mindanao is still under martial law, we expect the government to at least identify the group responsible for the carnage and bring them behind bars without ifs and buts.

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