Wenceslao: Missing

Bong O. Wenceslao
·3 min read

I WROTE a column about the passing of Cebu City South District Rep. Raul del Mar last week but somehow technical glitches made sure it got lost during the transmission process. Losing a column that way after around two hours of writing is really distressing. Anyway, I would like to offer my condolences to the good congressman’s bereaved relatives. I only knew him from afar but I am sure he was one of my readers. Godspeed, sir.

An interesting sidelight to the reports about the weather disturbances that hit Luzon days ago was the verbal exchange between President Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo, which included the former’s tirades against the latter for supposedly initiating the viral hashtag “Nasaan ang Pangulo” on Twitter. Robredo denied Duterte’s claim, but the President didn’t deny he wasn’t seen by the public for several days.

No matter how we look at it, this incident is really the result of voters putting in Malacañang an old leader as opposed to a younger one. Duterte, since he became president, has been slowed down by age and some illnesses. Younger leaders like Robredo acted differently when the weather disturbances struck. The VP was busy personally helping the victims of the typhoons and even visited their places.

We who once were enamored with Marxism call it the contradiction between the old and the new, or between the old and the young. That is partly why elections were introduced in our democratic process. Elections are meant to ensure that leadership remains dynamic despite the passing of the years. But maneuvering by the old has stunted the process of regularly replenishing the government setup with new blood. Thus our governance often ends up becoming moribund.

I don’t actually see this happening in the 2022 presidential elections wherein I see Robredo being one of the main players. The other presidential wannabes I see in our political landscape are younger guns like the President’s daughter Sara, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., (the real Macoy’s son and namesake), boxing legend Manny Pacquiao and Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano. They can’t find reason to be missing when disasters strike the country.

Of course, many of my readers know I am a progressive and am a bit of a “dilawan” being a liberal. That would make me a Robredo supporter. That was precisely why I was one of those who applauded the Democrat Joe Biden’s defeat of Republican Donald Trump in the US presidential elections. I also wished that the swing in the public opinion’s pendulum would happen here.

Of course, the country’s political setup is different. Our president is not allowed to run again after one six-year term. So no matter who becomes the country’s president in 2022, he or she will never be Digong again. The next president will surely be younger, unless we change our Constitution and allow the president to run again. By then, Duterte will even be older -- and weaker.

He will be missing from Malacanang for even longer stretches.