Beware of the Scribes, beware of tradpols
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez (The Freeman) - November 11, 2018 - 12:00am

Today, the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Mark 12:38-44 tells of first, the admonition given by the lord to beware of the Scribes, and second the story of the widow’s offering. In today’s political season, we can compare the Scribes to the traditional politicians, or tradpols who are self-righteous and hypocritical. The widow can be compared to poor but deserving candidates who honestly offer time, talents, and whatever little treasures to serve the people and the nation. Voters must be wary of politicians who have no basic respect for human dignity and the rights of the electorate.


Let us take a look at the many tradpols, most of them members of well-entrenched political dynasties. They believe they are God’s gift to Filipinos. They have this mindset of superiority over others. They believe that they and only they can serve the people with competence and effectiveness. For instance a mayor in Metro Manila has a brother who is a senator and another who is a congressman. When asked what his opinion was about public outcry against dynasties, he said dynasties facilitate synergy. When he needs more budget his brothers can augment his city funds to serve their constituents. The nerve.

A candidate for senator who is facing a plunder charge is asked why he and his half-brother are both running for the Senate, he nonchalantly answered that it is the people who decide to elect them. His father is a former president and now a city mayor in Metro Manila and his own daughter is running for mayor in their small city also in Metro Manila. He claims that their clan has served the people well, hence they are always supported by voters. This, to me, is the height of callousness and indicates the very distorted political values in our society.

On the other hand are there candidates who, like the poor widow, have no big taipans financing their campaign. They have only close friends and relatives who believe in their cause. I remember in the mid-seventies when young Cebuanos, calling themselves Pusyon Bisaya dared to stand against the giant KBL of President Marcos. Here in Cebu, all the big tradpols composed of the Osmeñas, Duranos, and all other dynasties were supporting KBL and running under its banner. The messianic and quixotic idealists like Hilario G. Davide Jr. and Marcelo B. Fernan fought and won.

Thus, today, the people in Cebu and all over the nation should have the gift of wisdom and discernment. And having these gifts, they should reject tradpols and support poor but deserving candidates. I call on Cebuanos to reject all candidates with more than two family members running at the same time. I know of a family that has been running since the time of Moses. They want to have one governor, two congressmen, and two mayors at the same time. I love this family, but I ask all my friends and relatives to teach them a lesson. Do not elect any of them.

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