SOMEONE ELSE’S WINDOWS: Disturbing signs from UNA

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/11 June) – So it has come to pass: Representatives Gwendolyn Garcia and Mitos Magsaysay, as well as former congressman Juan Miguel Zubiri, have been officially accepted into the senatorial ticket of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) for 2013. This latest development in the political front not only confirmed that Lakas, to which the three had belonged while it was convenient to do so, has disintegrated; it has also exposed Vice President Jejomar Binay’s real worth, if any, as a politician.

Although not entirely unexpected, the announcement that the three prominent allies of the former president are running under UNA has shown to what extent Binay will go to fulfill his ambition to win the presidential race in 2016. It doesn’t matter that these three politicians have defended Gloria no end. It doesn’t matter that one of them stole the vote in Maguindanao in 2007, and had the gall to say that he had no knowledge of the fraud that enabled him to illegally occupy a seat in what used to be a dignified institution called the Senate.

In explaining why Zubiri was accepted despite the objections raised by Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, UNA spokesperson Jose Virgilio Bautista said: “The covenant clearly indicated that a member of a political party, meaning either PDP Laban or PMP, endorsed by said party shall automatically become a candidate for the position for which he or she has been endorsed.”

Bautista’s statement only exposed the superficiality of the alliance. UNA should be ashamed that its covenant is more concerned with technicalities even if it would mean accommodating personalities who have given electoral fraud a face. Bautista asked Pimentel III to exercise “better judgment.” As things stand however it’s UNA’s leadership that lacks good judgment. I wonder if it’s really a covenant, a term that connotes nobility of purpose, or a Faustian pact.

Strange that in this country disgraced politicians hold no qualms about giving it another try. And it’s disgusting that the voters treat them like they just committed a childish demeanor. In mature democracies they would be consigned to a mental institution if they think they’d be able to fool the people twice.

Recycling waste materials is good for the environment. But having recycled politicians like Zubiri, Garcia and Magsaysay in the Senate adds to the vexation of our body politic. Can this country not find the likes of Jose Diokno, Lorenzo Tanada, and Claro M. Recto? Can we not look beyond people who have given us a reason to be ashamed as Filipinos?

I know this is a lonely cry. Given their resources and their patrons – including Arroyo perhaps – they have good chances of hoodwinking us for yet another time. No, we don’t have a short memory as a people; we simply don’t have one. (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. H. Marcos C. Mordeno can be reached at hmcmordeno@gmail.com.)