Carvajal: Never ever

Orlando Carvajal

I KNOW President Rodrigo Duterte slightly better than most because I lived in Davao when he was mayor there. As Chief of Staff of congressman Roger Sarmiento, I was with him in his official dealings with Mayor Duterte, whose Chief of Staff then was a fellow ex-priest and friend, Jun Evasco.

However, I am in support of the Duterte administration’s strategic thrusts not so much for knowing him as a no-nonsense disciplinarian and crime-busting mayor as for his having been elected by a big majority that until now continues to approve his governance to an unprecedented high degree.

Anybody with pretensions to work for social reform should heed the people’s voice. After all, they are the ones suffering under the prevailing social set-up. Much of the opposition to the Duterte government is coming from the political right that benefit from that (unjust?) set-up and from the political left that insist on changing society not by following the people’s will, but by the dictates of their ideology.

Still, it would be stupid of me to go whole hog for President Duterte’s programs knowing that, as an imperfect human being like the rest of us, he has his share of miscues and blunders. He is also not exempt, just like anybody with political, economic, and even religious power, from the temptation to abuse that power.

Thus, one of my biggest disappointments with President Duterte is his unabashed partiality to the Marcos family. I cannot reconcile his no-nonsense drive against corruption and his support of the most corrupt Filipino family the world has ever known.

If we cannot punish this family for the crimes of their father, we should at least not give them the power to revise history, declare their late father a hero, and erect statues to him all over the country. Which is what they will surely do if we elect any of them to the highest position of the land. Already Bongbong Marcos is demanding that textbooks are revised. Knowing how shamelessly thick-skinned this family is, I do not have any doubt his priority will be to rewrite history if he gets the position he obviously covets, the presidency.

This to me, who suffered under Martial Law and who had friends and acquaintances killed or made to disappear during that evil regime, is one big reason the Marcos family should never ever be allowed to rise to the top of the totem pole of power.

We must fear that because of Duterte’s popularity, his endorsement of a Marcos candidacy might make the worst of our fears come true. Besides, our elections are still essentially a buy-and-sell (of votes) affair and we know that the Marcoses have all the money in the world to buy out anybody (voters, judges, the Comelec, etc.) that stands in their way of getting back to power.