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Opinion

Be wary vs ‘fake’ leader

COMMONSENSE - Marichu A. Villanueva - The Philippine Star

In this Lenten period, may I take this space to call upon my fellow Christians to reflect, discern, and if need be, seek spiritual guidance to select the most fit and competent out of the ten candidates vying in the presidential elections on May 9. But whether we are Christians or not, all of us Filipinos have our rights under the country’s 1987 Constitution to whoever we so choose to vote into office.

Although only one of them will win in the presidential race, we could not begrudge any of them for believing and telling voters he or she is the best of them all to lead the country in the next six years. After all, these ten candidates were first qualified by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to run for the presidency. What we cannot agree though is what any one of them will do in his or her campaign just to win the presidency, by hook or by crook.

What we have been seeing lately are desperate acts by the unscrupulous elements in these presidential camps engaged in gutter kind of politics and other forms of black propaganda. This is because we are now in the last stretch of the official campaign period of the Comelec before the May 9 national and local candidates. The last day of all campaign activities is on May 7 (Saturday), or two days before election day.

The pre-election mock polls have indicated five or half of the ten presidential candidates could not statistically even muster one million votes out of around 67.5 million voters registered in the Comelec. So the battle lines were drawn among the other top five candidates who have all been trying to prove who among them the real winner is.

That is via the real kind of survey – the election day itself.

In the rabid desire to win the presidency, the campaign camps have escalated their attacks trying to tear up each other’s candidates.

Faring low in these pre-election surveys, Senator Panfilo Lacson noted the latest antics now being employed by his rivals is to set him up in a corner that will compel him to eventually withdraw from the presidential race. Lacson recalled how former Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez suddenly withdrew support for him as the presidential standard-bearer of their Partido Reporma. After making him also as the chairman of the party with Alvarez as the party president, Lacson resigned in disgust from Partido.

Lacson sneezed at the claims of Alvarez that their partymates were worried about his low survey ranking and decided to shift party support to Vice President (VP) Leni Robredo. If the survey is the real reason, Lacson argued, shifting support to the presidential bid of VP Robredo does not hold water. Lacson countered VP Robredo can only manage less than half of the survey respondents who picked former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., or BBM for short, as the most preferred presidential bet if elections were held today.

Laughing off the alibi of Alvarez, Lacson revealed the campaign manager of Alvarez at the Partido Reporma was asking him to cough up P800 million supposedly to help fund their local candidates. On further investigations he did, and subsequent back-tracking of a series of incidents before, the retired top cop found out this was preceded by an offer from VP Robredo’s camp for him to withdraw from the presidential race. Then, Lacson observed there were also a series of public declarations of groups of allies and supporters of Mrs.Robredo for her to team up with his VP runningmate, Senate president Vicente “Tito” Sotto III.

With no more political party to support him, Lacson concluded, these were insidious attempts to weaken his resolve. But he proved them all wrong. Running again as “independent” candidate, Lacson declared there is nothing that would make him to back out from the race.

Other than these political maneuvers, there are now telltale signs of panic-stricken camps going down the level of personal attacks, no matter how false they may be.

These muck-rakings are mostly dished out in the social media where these paid hacks and “army of trolls” peddle their harmful trade using spurious names or identities. And lately, unleashing the worst kind of smear drive is even dragging into the political fray members of the immediate family and not just the presidential candidates.

Earlier, one of the three sons of BBM, William Vincent was quoted telling a TV media interview purportedly about the “cocaine” addiction of his father. The BBM camp though did not dignify the obvious social media troll attack on the 25-year old son of BBM who is not even involved in politics.

Last Monday, VP Robredo decried a social media video post allegedly showing her eldest Aika engaged in online sex. Running second to BBM in mock polls, the camp of VP Robredo and her allies denounced this odious video post that was obviously photo-shopped to put the face of her daughter. In an official statement from the camp of VP Robredo, they announced taking of legal actions against the perpetrators of this video post.

“I am not surprised because that is how my rival works ever since he lost in 2016,” VP Robredo told reporters embedded in her campaign in La Union sortie yesterday. She was obviously referring to BBM who ran but lost to her in the May, 2016 VP elections.

Vic Rodriguez, who is the official Marcos’ spokesman dismissed the suspicions of Mrs. Robredo as nothing but a “continuing deception” of the VP camp which he accused were actually behind the spread of a deep fake pornographic content. Rodriguez swore anew their camp is not engaged in any, fake or hateful campaign.

Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, who is the VP runningmate of Mrs.Robredo, best described the political battles as they go through the last rounds to win the votes. “Elections bring out the worst in traditional politicians,” Pangilinan commented in his Twitter post yesterday.

Let us be wary from being deluded by self-declared leader promising, among many things, better lives ahead for all of us. He or she is nothing but a “fake” leader. We need a servant leader. Because there is no other true leader except Him, our Lord Almighty. Amen.

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