Willie and Miriam

OFF TANGENT - Aven Piramide - The Freeman

What is this thing called viral? Among us, the senior citizens, it refers to an outbreak of a disease that wipes out a huge sector of the human population. It comes from the word virus. The coronavirus, for instance, has gone viral as to claim the lives of millions worldwide. The millennials though look at this term in an entirely different context. This word is an IT matter coined from the internet. To them viral is spreading very quickly thru communication from one person to another piece of information.

The other day, there was the millennials’ viral of famous showbiz Willie Revillame. Actually, his physical movement alone could not engender public attention. Revillame did not do any high wire act that would make people gape. He simply sat behind an unnoticeable table and talked to invisible thousands, if not millions, of viewers directly from his heart. The language he used revealed more sterling humility than showbiz humbug.

What did Revillame tell the world? That he resisted the urging of his adoring fans to run in the coming 2022 elections. While he did not say it in unmistakable terms, it was clear that people around him tempted him to run for the Senate. He refused an otherwise certain electoral victory. This popular personality knew his limits and he was not ashamed to admit it. Revillame told us, his stunned audience, that he clearly understood the work of a lawmaker without having to spell in legal lingo that the job of a legislator was to make, alter or repeal laws. He admitted that he did not have any background in law. He lacked the kind of education needed in crafting laws.

That was the act that made Revillame’s declaration viral. His honesty was numbing, his sincerity stunning. His message was aimed at people wanting to become lawmakers even if they do not know the meaning of the term law nor have the knowledge on how to make a law. It was worth sharing among all cell phone holders. While he admitted that if he could get elected, his incompetence would just be a wasteful expenditure of our taxes, Revillame said that it would be the same if incompetent men and women become lawmakers.

Years before the Revillame caper, a learned legislator came forth with a fire brand statement. The late Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago figured in another millennials’ kind of a viral. She spoke unequivocally of academic credentials for people seeking government office. Appropriate education for appropriate government position. Her logic was clear. If a lowly office clerk would require education, how much more for a congressman, a senator or a president. Santiago said that only competent people can run the government well.

Revillame and Santiago want us the voters to discern who among the candidates are competent to do the job they are running for. They say that while it is our right to vote, it is our duty to make sure that the candidates we cast our votes for are competent not just qualified. They spoke in different times and in different podiums but they both correctly equate competence with academic preparation. A candidate who is mismatched to the position he is aspiring for will be incompetent to do the job and in the millennials’ terminology will become a bench model and eventually a waste of taxes. It is about time we heed Revillame and Santiago.


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