A broken nation in search of an inspiring leader

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

This coming Monday, May 9, 2022, the whole nation of 112 million Filipinos, more than one half of whom are living below poverty line, will make a crucial decision, in a national election where about 68 million voters shall choose the next leader of the land. This election is very, very important because this is a contest between good and evil, between honesty and plunder, between truth and falsehood.

The nation is broken. The economy is devastated. We have a ?13 trillion national debt. The industries and business communities are in shambles exacerbated by a global pandemic, by natural calamities and disasters, but above all, by massive corruption, crime, and bad governance. There is nothing much wrong with the people, the problem is the people who are running the government. There is no clear vision, there is no moral leadership, the people are fragmented. There are very clear patterns of feeding the Filipinos with false information, with fake news. The wealth of the nation being plundered by family dynasties controlling the economic wealth, while political power and decision making are being controlled by greedy politicians who are milking the public coffers of the lifeblood of the nation.

The people are overtaxed, overworked, and underpaid. This is a government for the family dynasties, for the classmates and for the kababayans and for fraternity brothers. In this country, the poor are arrested when they steal bread. But politicians steal billions and they are called honorable. They are even appointed to high positions. The prices of oil keep rising every week, but the wages of workers are pegged below the poverty line and much below the threshold family income. The unemployment and underemployment rates keep on getting worse, and yet the politicians keep on claiming that they create jobs with their “build, build, build”. But the ones leading these projects have clear conflict of interests because they build infra projects to raise the prices and increase accessibility to their multi-billion subdivisions and housing projects.

The threats to national security and to peace and order continue to put the people at risk both from external aggression as well as internal subversion and insurrection. The NPA and the terrorists are still around, despite the billions spent by the military. The West Philippine Sea is virtually surrendered to China. Our national defense is limited to the toothless issuance of diplomatic protests which are just being laughed at by Xi Jinping. The International Court of Justice has been barred despite many issues concerning human rights and extra judicial killing. There are recurrent threats of natural disasters and calamities not to mention the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

There are threats to our food security. Our farmers and fisherfolks are ignored and set aside in favor of massive importation from China. Our rice and vegetable farmers cannot sell their produce because the markets are inundated by imported rice, chicken, vegetables, and other prime commodities. The rice tariffication system is favoring the foreign traders and fly-by-night importers and is killing our local farmers. Our oil security is being exacerbated by the Ukraine crisis and yet, the government refuses to suspend the VAT tax on oil products. The transport sectors are in disarray and Tugade, the transport czar only feeds the people with "bolatik" to make his classmate look good. Secretary Cusi of energy is favoring the oil oligarchs and leaving the people to fend for themselves.

We need a leader who can heal the nation and can inspire, and unite the people. It will not be Marcos because it is his family who caused our devastation. It will not be Isko because he has been unmasked as a Marcos clone. It will not be Ping because he is a good man who makes poor decisions. It won't be Pacman because he is a good man who is not prepared to lead a broken nation and manage a ruined economy.

It is only Leni Robredo who has the competence, the moral authority and the courage to do what is right. If we want to save this nation, Leni is the only solution. No more and no less.


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