THE WORM’S EYEVIEW: A frantic search for viable candidates

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/16 September) — What a lousy fix our society is in today. No statesmen on sight. No inspiring voice. No one to inspire or lift the hopes of a generation in search of heroes and role models. No one to shine a light at the end of the tunnel.

Whence came the likes of Ninoy Aquino, Raul Manglapus, Jose Diokno, Emmanuel Pelaez, Jovito Salonga, Lorenzo Tanada, Claro Recto, and so on? Can a nation’s well of nationalism or patriotism run dry?

As for good governance, there’s no serious party system in operation; no party bothering to hold a nominating convention, not even to evolve a platform we can take seriously. Is anyone concerned about the poor state of our political system?

How about our destiny as a people? Is P-Noy’s vague notion of Daang Matuwid all we have for road map? How can we hack it with just a poor collection of traditional politicians—trapos, uninspiring, off-putting, tiresome people that hardly offer a decent menu from which to choose leaders for a Republic of 100 million Filipinos?

There’s not likely to be a constitutional amendment to allow P-Noy to run for re-election; so for the Liberal Party, holding out for him is out of the question.

As for the Nacionalistas, today a poor, decrepit shadow of its glory days—what does it stand for except as a vehicle of convenience for some wealthy oligarch with no particular imprint to make a mark on our political system?

There’s the so-called United Nationalist Alliance: alliance for what, plunder?—as in what Erap was jailed for, or Juan Ponce Enrile now also jailed, or Jojo Binay who seems headed similarly?

Jojo Binay’s vaunted rating earlier on as front-runner in the presidential sweepstakes is fast eroding, the outlook for his candidacy dimming. It looks like his so-called UNA will be kulelat, last, with no one in reserve if he self-destructs. Still, he shops around for a willing vice-presidential lamb while claiming to be on the verge of forming a new party, as if doing so were as simple as getting a business permit in Makati.

As for Mar Roxas, who knows what will happen…he hasn’t been able to connect with people the way he did as “Mr. Palengke” and—given his bland image—it doesn’t look like he’s going to gain the high ground anytime soon, although he can’t be counted out just yet.

Meanwhile, the list of wannabes grows: the Cayetano from Taguig, the Trillanes of Oakwood, both striving to be noticed, but with no one gaining traction. Then there’s fussy Lady Miriam getting into the act as well, titillating Grace Poe, Rodrigo Duterte…or anyone who cares to jump in!

There’s clearly a dearth of good, credible candidates for 2016, punctuated by the frantic rush in various unhappy circles to identify or name anyone but these that who might have potential.

What’s disconcerting is not that there are no Filipinos who might deserve the honor and be nominated; it’s the utter lack of initiative in identifying who might there be, how they might be nominated, or how enticed to serve our society.

Out of a population of 100 Million, with so many educated and experienced in so many fields, who could compare favorably with the elites of world society, it’s preposterous not having possible nominees from among the best, the brightest, and best regarded.

This wouldn’t be Mission Impossible if only we had a proper party system or if those who care enough would only work to force the pretentious parties to shape up or ship out.

Sure, there are groups pushing the candidacy of some individuals. But they’re not making a coherent case for their choice. The least they can do is state their case and justify their choice. In other words, what criteria do they use in making the choice?

The notable lack of criteria—a definition of what or who would make a good candidate or leader—is utterly discomfiting. They should at least situate their choice in the proper context.

For example, what is at issue for 2016 is the presidency. It requires the highest possible qualities, attributes, or qualifications in a person. Someone to lead our society!

For such a momentous role, you can’t just pick any old hat, martinet, or ambitious wannabe! More on this next…

Manny is former UNESCO regional director for Asia-Pacific; secretary-general, Southeast Asia Publishers Association; director, development academy of Philippines; member, Philippine Mission to the UN; vice chair, Local Government Academy; member, Cory Govt’s Peace Panel; awardee, PPI-UNICEF outstanding columnist. He is president/national convenor, Gising Barangay Movement Inc.