The president: A curse or a blessing?
Ruben Almendras (The Freeman) - December 7, 2015 - 9:00am

The current state of the Philippine presidential race up to this point, the first week of December 2015, is so confusing and convoluted. It is funny and could be ascribed to a struggling young democracy in a developing country. But the US elections which is eleven months away, farther than our May 2016 elections, are also at a confusing stage with their candidates also looking like a lot of comedians. I guess these must be what they refer as a lively democracy. Still, even with all the confusions and political shenanigans, it is still better than the dictatorships and other undemocratic governments in places like North Korea, Russia, China and some of the Middle East countries. 

The past week in Philippine politics was particularly interesting with the entry of Mayor Rodrigo Duterte in the presidential race and his sudden self-destruction with his acceptance speech, which was peppered with too much expletives and a hit on the Pope. During the week, Senator Grace Poe's travails were also highlighted with two conflicting rulings on her qualifications and eligibility to run for the presidency. These events and the fallout of these events will surely affect their poll ratings and the viability of their candidacies.

The aspiration and the decision of Duterte and Poe to run for president is the issue we want to explore.  Is their running for president a curse or a blessing to them? And if they will win, is it a reward or a punishment for them? The actions of Poe from the beginning of her political career and up to this point betray a hidden reluctance on her part to commit completely to the endeavor. That she mistakenly and maybe subconsciously filled up the forms in filing her certificates of candidacy as senator,  her careless use of her Philippine and US passports in her travels, and even the hedged citizenship status of her husband and children show that she has not totally committed to her presidential ambition. On the other hand, Duterte's actions and words since he started to be talked about as a possible presidentiable, have always been ambivalent. He had so many conditions before he will commit to run, he wavered in his decisions so many times that he finally missed the deadline for the filing for the presidency, and filed as candidate for Davao Mayor.  When he finally decided, there is still a legal issue if he will be able to run as a substitute of a candidate who has erroneously filed as mayor of Pasay. Then, he lets out a barrage of speeches full of cuss words, expose and displays an amoral lifestyle, and attacks the Catholic Church. And dares the people to vote and elect him for the way he was and is, if they want him to be president. It is starting to make me believe that Duterte is purposely sabotaging his own candidacy, because of some doubt on his ability to deliver the expectations of the people on him as a candidate, and as a president should he win. 

Poe, Duterte, Mar Roxas or Vice President Jejomar Binay may win the presidential election and become the next president of the Philippines, but I have always wondered if all of them are happy where they are right now, and will they be happy and fulfilled if they will win the election? Do they really want where they are right now? Do they really want to be president?

Last week I received the same email from two people about this kind of predicament which can be a lesson for all the candidates and for all of us. Here is the story:

Aking had a servant who always said, "My King, do not be discouraged because everything God does is perfect, no mistakes. One day they went hunting and a wild animal attacked the King. The servant managed to kill the animal but the king lost his finger to the animal.               Furious and ungrateful, the King said, if God was good I would not have been attacked and lost one finger. The servant replied, "despite all these, I can only tell you that God is good and everything he does is perfect. He is never wrong." Angry, the king ordered the arrest of his servant. On another day, the king left alone for another hunt and was captured by the savages who use human beings for sacrifice. On the altar, the savages found out that the king did not have one finger in place, he was released because he was considered not "complete" to be offered to the Gods. On his return to the palace, he ordered the release of his servant and said, "My friend, God was really good to me, I was almost killed but for the lack of a single finger, I was let go.  But I have a question, if God is so good, why did he allow me to put you in prison? His servant replied, My King, if I had not been put to prison, I would have gone with you, and would have been sacrificed because I have no missing finger. Everything God does is perfect. He is never wrong. 

Now, I wonder if our politicians really know what is good for them or for our country. Is being a candidate for president a curse or a blessing? And will winning or losing the presidency a reward or a punishment to them?


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