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CHASING THE WIND - Felipe B. Miranda -
No pomp, just the bare ceremony of being sworn into office is supposed to be the immediate concern of those who would govern for another six years. With election fever subsiding and the legislative canvass of presidential and vice presidential votes an unabashed fait accompli, the authorities would have the nation believe that politicking is a thing of the past. In its place, they pledge a no-nonsense, competent , delivering and patriotic leadership — the kind this country has not had in the last forty years and which other countries in the region had been blessed by.

Bandying six and ten-point programs of governance as provisional panaceas in solving the multiple crises of this "strong" republic, these authorities would have Filipinos believe that only one thing — national unification – separates them from their deserved destiny. Thus, the public is exhorted to exert yet another effort towards this holy grail. Filipinos must learn to unite with each other and, most critical of all, must learn to collaborate and be supportive of their well-meaning authorities. With this incredible union bonding an exploited people with their inveterate exploiters, a victimized citizenry with its perennial victimizers and those preyed upon with their historical predators, a new Philippines is supposed to arise.

Economic viability, political stability and social justice are all held up as the exemplary attributes of this promised land. Poverty will be on the retreat and, in its train, would follow corruption, criminality and anarchy. Greater compassion, higher spirituality and all the virtues that attend a society’s humanization will definitely grace this utopian land. The chicken may then share a coop with the fox, the lamb can snuggle in the embrace of the lion and the citizens may sleep restful nights knowing that their politicians, their judges, the military and the police are keeping watch.

The rhetoric of every incoming administration is completely predictable. Excellent visions, strategies, programs and similar commitments serving the public good are staple items of every president’s inaugural speech. Crafted by excellent wordsmiths, such a speech makes those on the receiving end of it feel grateful that indubitably visionary, articulate and noble leaders are taking over their governance. If national development were simply a matter of presidential rhetoric, no country in the region would be better developed now than the Philippines.

Sadly, the history of just about every post-war administration in this country has been as dismal as its principal’s inaugural speech had been inspiring and optimistic. No president in this country has significantly reduced mass poverty or irreversibly curbed corruption and other forms of criminality; no administration has enabled economic growth or political stability to become enduring characteristics of Philippine society. Despite dramatic pledges by their logorrhea-prone leaders to give those with so much less in life so much more in law, no material gains have accrued to most of the public on account of the law — in marked contrast to the cornucopia of largely undeserved benefits that the already wealthy, well-established and socially well-regarded regularly receive both as matter of fact as well as matter of law.

Such being their history, Filipinos cannot be blamed for treating presidential inaugurations with much skepticism. Truly, for as long as the promises of their elected leaders — their presidents in particular – remain not only largely unredeemed but actually somehow degenerate into perversions that brutalize their nation, Filipinos would have a sense of inaugurations that is distinctly ominous, that augurs badly for their country as a whole.

With this formidable sense, Filipinos could view the installation of their leaders not simply as an occasion for swearing them into office. It may just as well be an opportunity for them – the much tormented public – to swear at those who brazenly foist themselves as this nation’s legitimate authorities.

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