President Lozada (The Politics of a National Messiah)

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Who is a Filipino like (Jun) Lozada so selfless, so brave, so patriotic, so willing to continue his lonely struggle for truth and justice even when the culture of impunity and indifference holds sway in a seemingly endless tunnel of darkness and corruption?  No one!  Then there is only one morally qualified to run for the presidency of our country; a true heir of Jose Rizal; a real brother of our martyr Ninoy Aquino.  Yes, Jun Lozada for president!

Raul Jose F. Alejandrino
Philosophy Department, Miriam College
Letters to the Editor, Inquirer.net, 2/11/09

I’m not one to deprive anyone of a political opinion, or an informed choice for who should be President of the Philippines come 2010.  In the Presidential tupada, where a Royal Rumble of political manok takes place, everyone has a favorite cock (so to speak).  Whether it’s a PR hackjob or a political opinion, almost everyone is selling – perhaps even over-selling – the chicken.

Really.  Seriously.  President Rodolfo Noel Lozada?

I support Lozada’s cause, but I simply do not see the wisdom in him seeking – if ever – the highest office of theland.  In terms of the realpolitik, Lozada does not stand a chance to become President in 2010.  The guy’s pretty much impoverished, relying on savings and the generosity of supporters who take up collections on his behalf.

Today, Lozada is pretty much political deadwood; a whistleblower who is pretty much forgotten, still confined to the modest quarters of La Salle.  There was a time that his crow was enough to wake any honest Filipino taxpayer at 3 in the morning to denounce corruption in This Government.

There was a time that the mere mention of Lozada’s name can invoke such strong feelings from a horde of pro-GMA loyalists that the man has pretty much been compared to Satanic rituals and the Biblical Antichrist.  For a time, Lozada was that single polarizing – and yes, paralyzing – figure; that one man who drew the line between who’s pro-GMA and who’s anti-GMA.

Nowadays, it’s pretty much, “Lozada who?”

It’s more of an amnesia – or an immunity, perhaps even an indifference – to random acts of injustice that makes us all forget what the message of Lozada’s whistleblowing was, or what issue did he blow the whistle on.  The lay Filipino demands justice, but has suffered enough of it to realize that the best manifestations and expressions of dissent and resistance should come from those without sin.  As institutions, dissent and resistance can no longer be expected from ordinary people: when a person digs dirt, people dig dirt on him or her too.  It no longer becomes an objective thing, but a purely subjective, showbizzy engagement of personalities, not issues.

Lozada: “so selfless, so brave, so patriotic, so willing to continue his lonely struggle for truth and justice.”  Then again, those platitudes are offset by allegations and evidence of his own corruption, marital infidelities, Satan worship, and whatever stone anyone can hurl on someone once praised and lionized.

Perhaps we’re not looking for a President at all, but the national messiah.  Someone along the lines of our own political Jesus;  someone who will save us.  All this talk about “choosing the lesser evil” and “the best among the worst” is bollocks, really, when all we’re looking for is someone – anyone – who won’t be martyred or ridiculed on an impeachment trial or Senate investigation.  Someone above scrutiny and doubt.

We bank on that one last saving grace – hope – that all this will pass, that we’ll find somebody who’s not corrupt, who’s not the archetypal politician, the political equivalent of a saint.

The good news is that we’re still a hopeful people.  The bad news is that our choices are grossly narrowed down, that we’re back to the politics of mediocrity, of lesser evils, of “we have no choice.”  In 2010, we’ll end up voting for another Herod.  Too bad.

Riding the taxi on the way to work, my conversation with the taxi driver turned inevitably to politics.  “Isang bala lang katapat ng mga pulitikong iyan,” the driver ranted.  “Tamang pwesto lang, bang!  Patay na iyan.  Presidente-Presidente pa, wala na iyan.  Kung tutuusin, di natin kailangan ng Presidente.”

I’ve never heard of anything amounting to regicide before save for my own mumbling, but then again… let’s just say that people drink from muddled puddles every now and then.

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