TURNING POINT: An Impossible Dream, A Blinkin Goner, A Land of Disappointment

NAAWAN, Misamis Oriental (MindaNews / 30 March) – In recent memory, Marcos trampled on the rights and freedoms of the Filipino people in rushing forward his New Society whose harrowing impact haunts to this day. Dangled before us at the moment is another brand of New Society which is potentially more toxic than the first. It is tragic and ridiculous that a bandwagon welcomes it with Easter-like joy and riotous adulation. Are we becoming a nation of amnesiacs?

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Ending the evil of corruption and the drug menace in six months? Why not under a federal system of government (the new qualifier)? OK, but can a federal government be had within six months from the claimant’s assumption to power? Impossible.

Corruption will not be stopped by a corrupting process. To be clear, corruption is not simply a transaction that involves the transfer of money or material resource from one hand to another to secure one’s interest. Manipulating the will of the people to support one’s ambition and goal, by titillating them with fabulous promises, a heaven on earth, which by all logic and standards is impossible to happen, is in itself corruption, perhaps in the highest abominable order. The other name for that is SCAM; in the Cebuano dialect it is known as “ILAD.”

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Advocates of death penalty believe that this extreme measure will deter criminal acts. Far from it. It used to be that in order to discourage if not stop pick-pocketing, in London at some time past, pickpockets were hanged in public squares. The opposite instead happened. With more hangings, more incidents of pick-pocketing were reported to the police, and to add insult to injury, the commission of the act occurring at those very moments when the hangman was to execute the penalty by which time the attention of the viewing public was completely focused on the felon, his reaction to his eminent end and behavior thereupon.

Also, despite the great humiliation that goes with the public execution of convicted corrupt government officials in today’s communist China, corruption has not ebbed a bit there as evidenced by the regular report on such execution.

Those who commit crimes, I suppose, believe that they would never be caught and therefore death has no fangs on them. If from the start they believed otherwise, they would not have committed the act. Not death but perhaps, the certainty and assurance of capture and conviction is dreaded by criminal offenders. Curbing criminality lies in effective law enforcement and consistent and reliable justice system.

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I’m no longer keen on spending P950 to watch the third encounter of Pacquiao and Bradley in pay- per-view TV. Age is obviously catching up with the Filipino boxing icon. He’s beyond his prime eons of years ago. His marvelous speed and the mega shock of his punches were all gone. To many of his fans, not only his age but also his new faith has contributed to his decline. Time was when, before the bell rang to signal the start of the first round, the Pacman would kneel in his corner, touch his rosary and end his prayer with the sign of the cross which for many of his opponents foretold the ultimate rest from their boxing career – the devastation was final to such boxing greats as Morales, Barrera, Hatton and de la Hoya. The sign of the cross had been dropped from his ritual to the consternation of his primary cheerer, Mommy Dionisia, thus closing the killing field. Manny’s new found, born-again religion that emphasizes loving not hurting one’s fellowmen has apparently softened his heart a and robbed him of his killer instinct. Not one of his opponents in his last fights was damaged or floored to oblivion. In fact, he was the one given by his nemesis Marquez his first sleeping pill. Almost all his rated opponents remained standing and beautiful after the fight. Consider, for instance, the loving and hugging Mayweather.

Great boxers do not seem to know when to call it quits. The adulation of the crowd in every victory is pleasantly sweet and addictive. They wish to remain at a far higher pedestal and for a long, long time, without realizing that the higher and longer they wish to stay up there, the heavier their fall and the louder the thud.

If ever Manny wins his incoming Bradley fight, it would likely be another lackluster victory. His star, in boxing as well as in politics, is fading. His miserable performance or none performance at all in Congress as a member of the House of Representatives is educative. It enlightens the electorate, even his worshipping fans that boxing and politics do not mix. His being a preacher in his new faith does not help in any way in his current bid for a senate seat. For instance, the rigid judgmental statement he made affecting the LGBT community alienated its bourgeoning members and their supporters. Manny and his handlers ought to be reminded that politics is addition not subtraction or division. And tactlessness is not a desirable trait for anyone aspiring for high office. Manny is a blinkin goner.

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The first hope for a president to come from Mindanao was snuffed even before balloting time when Ferdinand Marcos knocked out then Vice President Emmanuel Pelaez via massive vote buying in the Nacionalista Party convention to decide the NP presidential candidate. Henceforth money determined the outcomes of elections in this county from presidential to barangay level. Unless you are a matinee idol you have no iota of chance winning an election. Popularity gives you the possibility but not a guarantee. At the end of the day, money – which translates to well-oiled political machinery, inexhaustible cash to buy visibility, votes and electoral decisions – delivers election victories.

Will the second hope of Mindanao make it to the Palace along the dark and stinking Pasig River? I have no affection for the person and strategy of the current aspirant but deep in me cries the wish for a president to come from the Land of Promise. By the look of things at the moment, however, everything remains a possibility with no guarantee of becoming. Suffice it to say that possibilities are in the realm of promises and dreams. It is likely that Mindanao will still remain a Land of Promise after the 2016 elections and beyond. May be it’s already high time to stop calling Mindanao as the Land of Promise but the Land of Disappointment. This, perhaps, may spark genuine change

(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. William R. Adan, Ph.D., is retired professor and former chancellor of Mindanao State University at Naawan, Misamis Oriental, Philippines.)