Paint it black
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.