By Alex P. Vidal
“Nobody trusts anyone in authority today. It is one of the main features of our age. Wherever you look, there are lying politicians, crooked bankers, corrupt police officers, cheating journalists and double-dealing media barons, sinister children’s entertainers, rotten and greedy energy companies, and out-of-control security services.”—Adam Curtis
WHIRLING with excitement and amusement, a 68-year-old Filipino-American friend shared to me a “news” January 29 afernoon that Philippine comedian and entertainment host Willie Revillame “will run for senator in 2025.”
He described the story as “big” news in the Philippines after the Marcos-Duterte drug addiction fisticuffs.
The friend was astonished when I replied with a mild grin: “And you consider it as news?”
“That’s not news,” I hollered. “That’s a normal happening in the Philippines.”
His facial expression drastically changed as he muttered, “Oh yes, I got what you mean.”
“Willie Revillame becoming a senator or even vice president—and to some extent—president in the Philippines isn’t news,” I snapped back. “What’s news is if the likes of (the late former Comelec chair) Haydee Yorac, a Yale University graduate; Chel Diokno, and other brilliant and competent Filipino public servants will win in a senatorial contest in the field of Lito Lapid, Bong Revilla, Robin Padilla, Manny Pacquiao, Jinggoy Estrada, and other clowns and film stuntmen who dominate the elections in the Philippines. This isn’t only news; it’s blockbuster headline story in any media platform.”
I told my Fil-Am friend that the electoral system in the Philippines is so sick that it requires an immediate surgery if the country will survive the “invasion of the worst kind” in public office in the next 20 to 30 years and even beyond.
Ray Davies once said, “Money and corruption are ruining the land, crooked politicians betray the working man, pocketing the profits and treating us like sheep, and we’re tired of hearing promises that we know they’ll never keep.”
“If Willie Revillame will win and other showbiz and entertainment personalities like KaladKaren will also become senators, what do you think will happen to the Philippines?” my Fil-Am friend asked. “We will become the laughingstock of the world?”
“Your guess is as good as mind,” I retorted. “But that’s not my main concern and worries. We can elect all the deranged, hooligans, gorillas, and other barbarians into public office and that’s none of the business of other people around the world. What’s worrying and sickening is we waste the taxpayers’ money for the mediocre and incompetent who are elected to higher public offices like the Senate and House of Representatives.”
I added: “What the Philippine legislature needs is quality legislation. We elect our senators and representatives to legislate laws—good and quality laws with lasting benefits for the Filipinos today and in the future.”
“We elect the lawmakers not because they will win the Famas awards for best actors and best actresses. We elect them not to win a world boxing title, participate in more coup d’etat like Gringo Honasan and Antonio Trillanes IV, and teach basketball and tango.”
I further emphasized: “We spend millions of pesos for their salaries, pelfs, and other privileges; as will as the salaries, allowances, and other expenses in their district offices and staff while they perform miserably and scandalously.”
“You are right,” he answered. “In committee hearings, they just play with their mustaches, fall to sleep, shout at guest speakers, and ask irrelevant and nonsense questions. Aside from being incompetent and not qualified for the legislative job, they also steal the people’s money.”
LET’S GO NONTOXIC. Let’s request a nontoxic environment in our child’s school. Cleaning products, lawn care, teaching supplies and paint can all be switched for more environmentally friendly versions.
LET’S THROW THE LICE. Head lice are becoming resistant to chemical shampoos designed to kill them. In addition, if we use them, we’re flushing insecticides down our drain. Let’s make a conditioning rinse with our usual conditioner, vinegar, and tea tree oil, then comb through thoroughly once a week until the lice are gone.
LET’S GET ARTY. Let’s encourage our children’s school to recycle paper they use in the art room. For every ton of paper we reuse, 17 trees are spared.
HAND WASH HEROES. It has been estimated that 4 percent of domestic waste consists of used disposable diapers. One of the best choices we can make to reduce landfill and help the environment is to use washable diapers instead.
DUST UP A STORM. Instead of throwing away old T-shirts and letting the material go to waste, let’s tear them up and use instead of store-bought dusters. We will have a never- ending supply of rags for cleaning and wiping up, and they can simply be washed and reused time and time again!
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two daily newspapers in Iloilo.—Ed)