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Opinion

The ‘Solvent Gang’

CTALK - Cito Beltran - The Philippine Star

If you look up the meaning of “solvent,” the first one refers to financial capacity or having enough money to cover expenses, costs or debts. Being financially solvent means you have cash in the bank or a multitude of assets such as real estate, etc. The other definition refers to the chemical description of solvents, which are used in dissolving or dispersing other chemicals or materials or compounds. If one material is thick in consistency or strong, you introduce a solvent into the mix in order to thin out or to better spread the primary material.

In today’s column I refer to a particular group of “solvent” politicians who will be running and laughing all the way to the bank after they gather up all the campaign contributions they took from suckers who either believed in them or felt pressured to contribute tons of cash, vehicles, materials for their campaign. Alongside these political entrepreneurs are others who have filed their fake candidacy for the sole purpose of converting it to cash once they are paid to withdraw by a candidate who wants the position more or to ensure that they run unopposed. This group of people are those gunning for financial solvency after the elections.

Other members of the Solvent Gang are dissolving or dispersing votes and have stayed the course of the campaign in spite of the fact that they never stood the chance, had not made any long-term investments for a serious campaign and have recently been abandoned by their supporters, political party or groups.

They have now visibly down sized their so-called campaigns to nothing more than field trips, excursions and marginal direct media engagements. Most of their activity feature propaganda on social media, sowing intrigue and discord or discrediting an opponent. Most people simply dismiss them as stubborn, egotistic individuals who are too full of themselves.

If it merely involved one or two individuals, we could say it was just pride or delusions of grandeur, but when so many candidates run for senator, vice president or even president against all odds, you have to wonder if there is a “dealer” intent on stacking the deck against a particular person or group. Is this part of creating the impression that the ultimate winner won overwhelmingly over a wide selection of candidates?

The only thing I know is that solvents have very limited use and ultimately end up in the storage cabinet until they expire. As for those who have lined their pockets with unspent campaign contributions, Abraham Lincoln once said: You can fool some of the people all of the time and you can fool all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.

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With two months left in office, most people would think of President Rodrigo Duterte as a “Lame Duck President” but given his recent string of admissions, I’m beginning to wonder if he is simply trying to stay relevant or gently wash his hands as Pontius Pilate did regarding the controversies of the times. On several occasions, the President has talked about presidential candidate Bongbong Marcos as a “weak leader,” “a spoiled brat” coming from a family faced with different court cases. From there, PRRD confessed that he exaggerated his claim to defeat drugs and corruption in the Philippines in three to six months. The President attributed the mistake to campaign frenzy or bluster. PRRD has even recognized the fact that e-sabong or online cockfighting has resulted in serious social problems.

Like others, I have time and again been surprised whenever President Duterte would speak critically or badly of BBM and the Marcoses because at one point, many people presumed that they were politically in bed together, not to mention the fact that his very own daughter has teamed up with Ferdinand Jr. Why then does President Duterte hold back his “punches?”

If PRRD is truly concerned about a weak leader and a spoiled brat becoming the next president, why not make a real issue of it or go out and support the candidate who is better qualified? At the moment all he has said and done is equivalent to throwing glancing blows at BBM. Is the President really being honest about his view of Bongbong Marcos or just giving mere lip service to the issues so it can’t be said that he was silent as a lamb or, worse, an enabler on the sidelines.

If PRRD really believed that BBM would be a bad choice for president, then Duterte should speak out and not comfort himself with the assurance that his daughter could simply take over if things go bad in the future. Or is that the idea in the first place – to make a contrast between “weak” BBM compared to tough as nails Sara?

As for his anti-drug war, there is nothing much that the President can do to cap his six-year battle against the drug problem unless his administration can actually find, capture, convict or kill a genuine Big Time Drug Lord or a national figure that no one ever suspected of being in the drug trade. People have become desensitized with the kilos and billions worth of shabu regularly captured by law enforcers, but what we have not seen is one real big-time drug dealer. Come to think of it, I just realized that the government and the anti-drug enforcement groups have never really paraded or flashed the names and images of any such individuals, unlike the FBI and the Interpol.

Meanwhile, the President has given instructions to put a stop to online sabong. As the saying goes, better late than never. But the question is HOW SOON will Pagcor act on the President’s directives? That is the multi-billion peso question!

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E-mail: [email protected]

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