Political awareness has never been this extreme, thanks to the Internet. Specifically, the social media has become a very effective and influential tool in shaping opinions and creating bets for the local and national elections. And, both public and private issues involving aspirants are never been highlighted and talked about at this level.
Interestingly, our presidential race comes into teleserye turn worthy of primetime spot. Netizens tagged the title of this soap “Duterserye,” which religiously follows the plight of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte as one of the first candidates to test waters, to his “in and out” of race plans, until the recent developments which made him perhaps the most talked-about candidate of the country, with audience participation reaching as far as Vatican. And it is still a month prior actual election period, two months prior campaign period, and five months prior casting of votes.
With a colorful lineup for the presidential race, Mayor Duterte, although himself creating a murky image as a private person, is said to top NCR surveys. Public clamor for him is of no surprise. As many appears to accuse the present administration passive and incompetent in handling hot, “oppressive” issues, majority identifies this thug candidate as a flicker of hope that would deliver results the same way President Vladimir Putin of Russia would: tough, hard and with finality.
The clamor remains and expression of support intensifies even after his most controversial issues to date, which include his admittance of being a womanizer, photo ops with different female supporters on his lap, and of the recorded curses thrown to the pontiff. This development pales in comparison all other issues involving him, even of alleged human rights violation, which others would easily forgive, or celebrate even, as collateral damages in pursuance of peace and order.
Apparently, out of this created desperate atmosphere, many would rather abandon morals and decency for the hope of radical change.
This is a serious turn of evolving culture worthy of pondering. In a Christian nation, predominantly of the Roman Catholic Church wherein priests are considered holy, Mayor Duterte is more defended than Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) President Socrates Villeges, with the latter’s tasteful and bull’s eye commentary on Mayor Duterte’s vulgarity.
Tolerance is a coy word to describe our current behavior. Are we indeed ready to employ evil to fight against evil, as this “Dirty Harry” has been successful in keeping an exemplary track record in Davao? Do we embrace with realization the seeming contradiction in employing lawlessness to implement law, of encouraging this one man to take away the evil of the country at the expense of his own goodness, morality, decency, soul?
Even as I write, I hear an overwhelming answer of “yes.” Few in confidence, many pausing in doubt perhaps, yet finally decided as Mayor Duterte’s “deliverables” are no longer an issue of giving a try, but more like bringing something tested country-wide. Apparently, the people’s clamor for a leader can no longer be gauged by principles, godliness, decency, intellects and pleasantries, but output. Of the end justifying all means.
Should majority of the voters choose Mayor Duterte to be the next president, pray that it should be a conscious, well-meditated and fully informed decision. Further, there must be an independent study to review, assess and publish the true condition of the country to finally aid us in making the correct decision, albeit trend in the net. Because we have to admit that the Internet is very susceptible to manipulation. No longer do the church and mainstream media shape our emotions, choices and thinking—social media has become our new mentor.
Perhaps these lines excerpted from Bishop Villegas’s words are telltale sign of where our country is heading:
“Vulgarity is corruption. When we find vulgarity funny, we have really become beastly and barbaric as a people. When a revered and loved and admired man like Pope Francis is cursed by a political candidate and the audience laugh, I can only bow my head and grieve in great shame.”