Le clique cheek

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Where is Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro (no relation) getting the audacity–the sheer cheek — to run for President of the Philippines? And what led the Lakas-CMD-KAMPI executive committee to endorse his nomination?

It’s certainly not from the results of the surveys. Every poll ever taken since a year ago and until the other day puts Teodoro among the least preferred successors to Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo, together with sidewalk vendor terror and footbridge builder Bayani Fernando. Teodoro is in fact running neck and neck at last place with Fernando, Jamby Madrigal, “Don’t know,” and “No preference.” In some surveys his name doesn’t even appear because no respondent mentioned him at all. So scratch the surveys out as a source of Teodoro’s and the Lakas-CMD-KAMPI executive committee’s optimism.

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Power

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In much of the conflict-wracked areas of the world, it’s the women who’re keeping things together despite civil war, ethnic cleansing, terrorism, and the other ills failing and failed states are heir to. They manage households despite tremendous odds; they nurture children in violent and threatening environments; they keep families together even when forced to flee their communities.

In the Philippines it’s mostly women OFWs who’re keeping many men of the house in idleness and gin and the children in school–and incidentally keeping the economy afloat too. Without the Filipinas willing to immerse themselves in strange environments and to risk beatings, mayhem and rape, the economy would be coughing its last and there would be rioting in the streets.

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The political church

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We could charitably grant that some of them were genuinely grieving. But the attendance of politicians of various stripes, including Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, at the wake and/or interment of Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) Executive Minister Erano Manalo was nevertheless a political act.

INC control over 1.5 million “command votes” could make and probably has made the difference between losing and winning at the polls, especially in such closely-contested elections as those of 2004. One survey says some 84 percent of its members vote for candidates endorsed by its leaders, in keeping with the INC doctrine of “religious unity” that the late Manalo once said was “essential to spiritual salvation.”

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In our dreams

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If morality in politics and governance sounds like an oxymoron, it’s because of the way politics has been practiced in this country and how it’s been governed by what’s proving to be the most rapacious and most shameless political class in Asia.

Although she couldn’t stop many of those around her from grabbing what they could while the grabbing was good, Cory Aquino did demonstrate that it’s possible to be honest even while being President. But so rare is a President who didn’t enrich herself in power that her case has tended to prove that you can’t get corruption and dishonesty out of politics and governance. Just like her predecessors, her successors seemed the rule, validating through their example the common view that everyone cheats to win power, and steals once he or she has it.

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