Why do ex-presidents still want to run for lower posts?

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez - The Freeman

There is no more delicadeza. There is no more sense of honor and “hiya” or “kaulaw”. It is pure “pakapalan ng mukha.” If you have reached the apex, why do you have to go down from Mount Olympus and compete with the “hoi polloi”? Why don't you stop while you're on top? Well, we cannot just focus our raised eyebrows on President Digong. He was only joking, of course.

Remember that GMA ran for representative after the presidency and even became the speaker of the House, ousting Bebot Alvarez. Erap, after being mayor for San Juan from 1989 to 1986, senator from 1987 to 1992, vice president from 1992 to 1998, then president from 1998 to 2001, lost the presidency to PNoy, ran for Manila mayor, won and then lost to Isko, former handsome street urchin from Tondo. That's the agony and ecstasy of too much greed for power.

I remember that our Cebu's pride, Chief Justice Marcelo Fernan, resigned from the Supreme Court and ran for vice president under the banner of the late Senator Ramon Mitra. They both thought that president Cory would endorse them. Lo and behold, Cory opted to endorse FVR, and Mitra and Fernan lost. They both later died, most probably broken-hearted, abandoned by Cory whom they have supported all the way and for whom they have sacrificed so much. Had Fernan stayed in the Supreme Court, Narvasa perhaps would not have become chief justice, and the ascension of our other pride, Hilario G. Davide, Jr. might have been delayed, if at all. Why do people who were already on top go down and venture across uncharted waters? Well, perhaps, for love of country, or for love of power, prestige, and glory. Or, for lack of anything else to do, like Juan Ponce Enrile who was defeated for senator by Bong Revilla, Bong Go, and Bato dela Rosa. Enrile did not dance the budots, nor was endorsed by Manong Rody.

If we look elsewhere, President William Howard Taft (after whom Taft Avenue in Manila, from Luneta to Pasay, was named), the 27th president of the US, from 1909 to 1913, later became the chief justice of the US Supreme Court from 1921 to 1930. He died in office. In the US, there is no retirement age for Supreme Court justices. They served until death, resignation, or incapacity. Actually, he was a judge first, when President William McKinley appointed him as chairman of the Philippine Commission to head the civil government in the Philippines after the USA bought the Philippines from Spain, for a measly sum of $20 million along with Guam and Puerto Rico. He became the first civilian governor of the Philippines. President Theodore Roosevelt wanted to appoint him to the Supreme Court but he refused to leave Manila. He fell in love with our country and the Filipinos loved him too. Roosevelt did not run for reelection and endorsed Taft. He won, defeating Democrat William Jennings Bryan.

Back in the Philippines, many are asking why the president is planning to run for vice president. Well, he might have been joking when he said he wanted immunity from suit. As an experienced lawyer, he knows that such immunity only applies to the president. He is not stupid, although he may appear incoherent or babbling some times, but actually, he is really very smart, wise and, if you may, clever and even deceptively cunning. If GMA could run for representative, Erap could run for mayor, and Chiz could become governor of Sorsogon, while Loren could be representative, just to circumvent that stupid term limit, then, why prevent him from gunning for the vice presidency? Well, many say not all things legal are ethical or moral. But who are we to claim the right to become judges on morality? Are we all clean and immaculate? Let the people decide. If that is “pakapalan” or “lack of delicadeza”, let him. That’s his own honor at stake.

At the end of the day it is not the politicians who are crazy. It is the people who can be charged with stupidity. That is the very weakness of a democracy. A million stupid and corrupt voters can win over 999,000 upright geniuses. In a democratic country, a rich and handsome moron or an imbecile can win over Albert Einstein, Aristotle, or Leonardo da Vinci. The voice of the people is not all the time the voice of God.

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