Paint it black

Sun.Star Pampanga - - TOPSTORIES! - TY­RONE VELEZ

WHEN Pres­i­dent Duterte joined the Hug­pong sen­a­to­rial sor­tie Sun­day, March 3, in Zam­boanga and mocked the Otso Diretso can­di­dates, I am re­minded of what he said in what of those old sor­ties when he was mayor of our city.

“That’s pol­i­tics. You paint your ri­val black to make you look good.”

He just did that on Sun­day. Painted each Otso can­di­date black, blue, yel­low and ev­ery color there is, and told the au­di­ence it will be a mis­take vot­ing for a party go­ing “straight to hell (Deretso sa Impy­erno)”.

It wins points for punch­lines, quotes for news and en­ter­tain­ment with those choice words. But the ques­tion is, are we here to be en­ter­tained? Does it give us a bet­ter choice of who to vote?

This has been the na­tional dis­trac­tion, this Duterte play­book. For the past three years, the Pres­i­dent, his on­line ma­chin­ery, even his daugh­ter, would go to this for­mula. At­tack the per­son, and not the is­sue they raised.

On Sun­day, Duterte pared down ev­ery Otso Diretso sen­a­to­ri­able in ev­ery way. He called Mar an op­por­tunis­tic fail­ure. Tañada, a lawyer of the left. Dio­kno, a pale copy of his pa­tri­otic fa­ther. Hil­bay, an un­known, and so on.

Mayor Sara also did her part ear­lier by calling the Otso Diretso “dark, delu­sional, fix­ated on de­bates”. It scored points in al­lit­er­a­tion, but not in ar­tic­u­la­tion of what her Hug­pong slate wants to ach i eve.

I get re­ac­tions from friends and on­line com­ments how this kind of name-calling, mock­ing the op­po­si­tion, mud­sling­ing, is mud­dling the is­sues we need to care about.

For the past years, when we try to dis­cuss Train, Mar­tial Law, hu­man rights, we get to be bashed and mocked by on­line Duterte sup­port­ers and paid hacks.

But let us not be dic­tated by this play­book. Some say that on­line bul­ly­ing is the re­sort of peo­ple when they ran out of ar­gu­ments.

We have to see the dilemma of the Dutertes as they paint the op­po­si­tion black, but their slate is not the op­po­site of that. They have a daugh­ter of a dic­ta­tor con­victed of graft, two re-elec­tion­ists fac­ing graft charges, two other re­elec­tion­ists who passed the Train Law, a po­lice gen­eral ac­count­able for hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions.

But the best ar­gu­ment comes from Chel Dio­kno, who re­minded the Pres­i­dent of his late fa­ther, Se­na­tor Jose Dio­kno what the op­po­si­tion is about. “Yes-men are not com­pat­i­ble with democ­racy. We can strengthen our lead­ers by point­ing out what they are do­ing that is wrong.”

So, we have a choice, get en­ter­tained and re­main in the dark, or try to see the brighter op­tions of al­ter­na­tive pol­i­tics.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.