With the Philippine mid-term election coming in two weeks, there’s a great need for the Filipino people to become intelligent voters. It’s another opportunity for them to grab to make up for all of the stupidity during last election time's choosing for the wrong candidates. I can still recall the words a dear friend of mine have said to me before he died of heart attack a little over three years ago that the majority of the Filipino people, when it comes to electing their public officials, are somewhat suffering from what he called “stupidity syndrome.” In the Philippines, he said, popularity triumphs over substance. I can only agree with his observation on how we Filipinos elect our leaders and you can add to it, at some instances, the equation: compassion + sympathy = presidency. It catapulted the late Corazon Aquino to the presidential seat in a peaceful way of putting an end to the Marcos regime in 1986 which was further triggered by the assassination of her late husband Benigno Jr. in 1983 and, as if history repeats itself, it happened to be a similar case also with her son Benigno III who is now the president of this country. President Benigno III owes a lot of his presidency to the people who sympathized with the death of her mother, the former president of the Philippines which, during that time, just in the right timing for the presidential election and the filing of candidacy was still going on. It prompted presidential candidate Mar Roxas, upon knowing and analyzing the whole scenario, to withdraw his candidacy to give way to Aquino and settled a vice president position instead by which he lost.
“The solution is not election,” my friend said when I tried to press him out what he can suggest to make this country change for the better, “but revolution. You have to test it with fire to burn impurities out, more impurities.” His eyes burnt the same color as that of a flame when I peered into the glowing depths of his own, the window of his soul. “But that would be too costly and bloody. Is there no other means aside from that?” I asked. “The people must acquire education not limited to school,” he said. “There has to be this maturity of thinking by the Filipino people and that will lead them to reach that level of consciousness to only do or make things better for all,” he continued. “This country,” he paused for a moment as he tried to clear out his throat, “needs an intellectual leader who can unite the people. Real problems need real solutions, not a cover up to things to only make the present administration looking good. A good leader will not only find the best solution to the problem but he must be the solution himself.” I had to admit I’m learning a lot from this man I called the “Walking Encyclopedia” in a different way than my professors in college. Before I could manage to ask for my next question he turned to interrupt me, now it’s his turn to ask questions, by simply asking: “What do you think will be the best thing you can do for your country?” I was caught off guard, I had to think hard and organize my thoughts in as quickly as I can. “It has to begin in each one of us, in me,” I sounded somewhat confident telling him my answer. “Each one of us should be a leader that serves and, like what you said, the solution. Becoming a solution to the problem instead of a problem to a solution is the best thing I can do for my country.” “That’s a lot better,” he said as if to flatter me, “you will become a good leader!”
“So who would you vote for as president?” his eyes narrowed and a little smile curved at the corner of his mouth. “I’ll keep it a secret,” I said and thinking about changing the subject. But before I could manage to think for a topic to talk about he was already speaking, “It all began as a wish from the late president Quezon. Be careful what you wish for because there’s a chance you might get it.” “So what’s the issue with president Quezon by the way?” I asked. “Stupidity,” he said. I’m thinking about president Quezon’s greatness and how he has sought Philippine independence from the hands of the Americans. “President Quezon,” he explained, “became stupid by saying ‘I prefer a government run like hell by Filipinos to a government run like heaven by Americans’.” “Quezon is not at all stupid as what you think,” I tried to challenge him. “But he was trying to impart the essence of nationalism for a people called Filipinos and a nation called the Philippines so as to partake in such a chance of making good or bad decisions for its own.” “Would you like to turn and make the Quezon’s curse into a promise?” he asked. Instead of trying to thicken out the discussion for that particular subject, I shot him a smile and said, “Should I blame Quezon for his answered prayers?” He shot me back a smile and said, "Well, good for him." Deep down, I know, come election time, I won’t be stupid enough to cast my vote for the wrong candidates.