EDITORIAL - Openness needed in choice of leaders

The Freeman

The situation of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is similar to that of Donald Trump – he is being demonized for something people fear he might do as president even if he is not yet the president. Duterte is offering himself up for election. He is not imposing himself on the people. As Duterte himself is saying, if the people find him unfit, then reject him in the polls.

That is a far more straightforward way of dealing with the public than most other candidates who promise the moon and the stars but could not even deliver a bag of cement. Duterte should be appreciated instead of ostracized for opening up his thoughts to the public. At least the public will know what they are getting if they vote for him.

Such openness is essential in a democratic exercise such as an election. It allows people to make informed choices. It eliminates chances of being shortchanged or being consumed by feelings of regret. If people insist on truth in advertising when it comes to their choice of products, the more they should insist on truth in the political agenda of candidates for national leadership.

Most of the other candidates are so concerned and protective of their own images that they make it a point to stay clear of anything controversial. They manage their campaigns in a cosmetic manner. The result, intended or otherwise, is that the people never get to know the candidate, never get to know what they are getting into, and thus will likely live to regret the next three or six years of their lives.

Filipinos have already lived through this same ordeal many times over, including under the present leadership. The present leadership, rather than being promoted in a fairly open and honest manner, was crafted and packaged neatly such that it appeared to be a great buy. The present leadership was promoted as something that was akin to heaven, where nothing could go wrong.

But alas, as with the way of all things, what could go wrong always will, and in ways that prove too terrible for the gullible and unsuspecting. And so the nation suffers for six agonizing years, six agonizing years that, fortunately will be about to end. And then another cycle will begin, leaving us grappling with the question at its threshold – will we commit the same mistakes as before and as always?

The answer is, of course, we do not have to. The choice is always upon us. Nothing is thrust upon us for our unknowing acceptance. We are always in charge of our future. We are always the master of our destiny, or at least to that point where God himself does not intervene. And so, if there are candidates out there who open up about themselves, let us welcome them. And let us demand of other to do the same. We owe it to ourselves to demand truth in the campaign.

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