Say what you will about everyone having a “mode” these days (work mode, petiks mode, acads mode, and a’la being my favorite mode), but Pampanga Governor Eddie Panlilio has his own: Presidential mode. To get to that… modality, the priest-turned-governor invokes another mode: degreelessness. God mode, in more ways than one.
Yep, Panlilio’s Presidential aspirations… wait, calling, is now backed up by the infallible will of God. At the very least, I think that Among Ed is not using the name of the Lord in vain; when you’re a priest, you probably know where the line for blaspheming is drawn.
Panlilio’s gubernatorial Administration has been plagued left, right, and center by opposition. Back in 2007, Among Ed stood as a political golden boy: he represented the desire and demand for good, ethical government. Yet with that support came the criticisms later on, that Among Ed probably wasn’t cut out for Governor. Now, at least from the ground, you’ll find a good number of Panlilio critics.
I think that at the core, Panlilio’s Presidential bid is aimed at the majority of God-believers who may compose his constituency when he does run, and when he does succeed. Yet as a friend says, the “God card” may be a strategy put in play: Panlilio’s voters will come in the form of Catholics who may, in many ways, think of him as the “lesser evil.” To be uncharacteristically cynical, the “lesser evil” will still have a lot to do with our next President come 2010. It doesn’t have anything to do with credentials or platforms: Panlilio himself knows that step in Filipino politics all too well.
At least in this country, God has a ballot. It’s not the first time we had priests or ministers run for political office, and it’s not the first time the world has heard of a President-priest. I think that the problem some people have with Panlilio is that in a predominantly Catholic country with deep-seated religious feelings, religion and politics are kept separate. Many priests may speak of political issues during the homily, and many priests may take active stances and roles in politics. The clear indication, though, is that the people want to make the clear distinction between a deeply-personal relationship with God, and an intensely-social involvement with politics.
It remains to be seen whether Panlilio emerges as a definite Presidential contender, or if he can get his machinery together, but politics is still a nasa-Diyos-ang-awa-nasa-tao-ang-gawa deal. After all, “God-fearing” is something almost every candidate with a religion includes in the campaign pamphlet.
Panlilio, rather unfortunately, is no different. At least for today.