Indifference is worse than hatred
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez (The Freeman) - September 28, 2020 - 12:00am

To be hated is a better treatment than to be ignored. When a mayor ignores his vice mayor, or a governor is indifferent to his vice governor, or a president does not give importance to his vice president, that is a virtual Siberia or a freezer. If that happens in the private sector, that is the beginning of a case of constructive dismissal.

To my mind, one of the most painful experiences is to be ignored by a friend, or to be totally neglected by a spouse or a lover. In the parlance of labor laws, that could be construed as a virtual cutting off of employer-employee relationship. And the employee can now file a case of illegal dismissal, with a prayer for reinstatement, or separation pay in lieu thereof, when such return to the position is virtually made impossible due to strained relations, or when a silent animosity has pervaded the relations and made it untenable. And if the jilted employee has suffered mental anguish and serious anxiety, wounded feelings and social alienation and besmirched reputation, there could be a ground to demand for moral and exemplary damages so that the said reprehensible employer's behavior would not be emulated.

When one is hated and scolded, and even charged with any misdemeanor or an offense, at least, the respondent can be heard, and there will be exchanges of communication which may culminate into a solution to the problem. But when one is given a cold shoulder, excluded from significant and important activity, not invited to join collegial functions, and practically deprived of any meaningful participation which used to be done together, these are telltale signs of a serious fission in the bond. A sensitive person who has self-respect would know that his friend and long-time ally has already broken ties de facto, although there is apparent lack of candor to declare a separation de jure.

I remember how President Carlos Garcia, a Nacionalista, totally ignored Diosdado Macapagal, a Liberal. It gave the vice president much time to go around the country and campaign for the next elections. Macapagal defeated Garcia. Erap, a PMP member, won over Joe de Venecia, but when his vice president lost to GMA of Lakas, there was animosity but not indifference. GMA later on replaced Erap but GMA also had a falling out with her chosen vice president, Teofisto Guingona, who charged her with election anomalies. There was the same friction between Cory and Doy Laurel. Thus, GMA selected a non-threatening Noli de Castro. Then Pinoy's vice presidential bet, Mar Roxas, lost to Jojo Binay. There was civility but there were undercurrents exacerbated by political intrigues.

Today, we have a president who does not trust his vice president, not without good reason. They do not belong to the same party. VP Leni was the running mate of Mar Roxas. President Digong's VP, Alan Peter, lost to the widow of Jess Robredo. These conflicts between the number one and number two may also happen to the province and city of Cebu. To avoid these nasty and unproductive relationships I have a proposal to amend our electoral system. We should adopt the US system. Whoever is elected president, governor, and mayor, his or her running mate automatically wins as vice. I am happy that Mayor Edgar has finally given Vice Mayor Michael Rama the role where he is best at, the stewardship of next year's Sinulog, sans any other parallel group to duplicate his work. This is a good sign that the tandem will hold.

Many political partnerships do not last, maybe because in this country, political parties are not based on true ideologies and principles. They are based on personalities and conveniences. What we should amend is our character, not the electoral system. The fault, my dear Brutus, is not in our stars but in ourselves, that we are underlings. Shakespeare knew the answers many centuries ago.

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