Politicians who kiss babies (or drive them in sidecars), use the elderly as props and demonstrate the leakiness of their childhood residences leave a bad taste in my mouth. Clearly, even poverty itself is being exploited. Because majority of our people can comprehend little else than daily bread, the bid to demonstrate who can relate the most to the underfed has replaced substantive speeches and debates.
Since most of the candidates parade shamelessly in borrowed rags, I thought I would have to skip voting yet again rather than risk vomiting on those shiny new million peso counting machines. Recently though, the sidecar driver caught my attention and might just change my mind.
After spending an inordinate amount of cash that defies my ability to count on infomercials, shedding pounds of perfumed sweat driving two scrawny kids in a sidecar and soiling expensive soles on a wet market, Mar Roxas has declared his intention to withdraw from the presidential race in favor of Noynoy Aquino.
He doesn’t care that he is more qualified. He doesn’t care that Korina Sanchez will lose the chance to be first lady. If purging our country of thieves in high places means stepping down for a more popular, less experienced man, Roxas is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice even if it means having wasted campaign money and a weeping Korina.
It’s obvious. No one would have thought of pushing a reluctant Aquino into the forefront if Cory, his mother, had not died and if an emaciated nation had not been thrown into remembering the moving rhetoric of his martyred father. If not for the turn of events, Roxas would still have had a shot driving those kids all the way to the presidential living room. But I suppose Roxas is right. He does not matter. This country does.
I know what I do not want. I do not want a president who had a 2001 net worth of P67 million that ballooned like a gangrened foot to a 2008 net worth of P144 million. I do not want a presidential son who was worth P5 million in 2002 and is now worth more than P99 million. I do not want public officials with unexplained wealth even if they technically cannot be called thieves yet. No one wants even just the suspicion of thievery hanging in the air, not the hungry, not the silenced, not the oppressed. Getting what we want may mean shoving the reigns of leadership into the hands of a lesser but more honest man. Noynoy will not dare shame the ghosts of his parents or he’ll asphyxiate to death in a sea of yellow ribbons.
The question is whether Noynoy will step up and do justice to Mar’s sacrifice. We’ll find out in a day or two. It will take several years though to find out if we’ve been had by yet another unraveling circus side show.