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Revilla in 2016

Dear Ellie,

Bong Revilla wants to run in 2016? I say let him. I mean, that sort of decision is a magnet for scorn, but what do you expect? Politics is as politics does.

What really annoys me is Leila de Lima, thundering from on high and reminding him – patronizingly – to think of delicadeza.

Think about this.

1) Leila is a known, tried and tested, flunky of the administration; 2) she was instrumental in bringing these plunder charges down on Bong; and 3) she is not, nor will she ever be, someone Bong would go to for political advice.

So this “reminder” of hers can easily be construed as an attempt to frame the discussion on Revilla’s candidacy. By bringing up delicadeza now, she is trying to ensure that when people discuss Revilla, their starting point will be the “propriety” of his candidacy, NOT his capabilities, NOT his track record, NOT what he can do for the people. And even then, why should propriety even be an issue? The man hasn’t been proven guilty of anything. Why would it be improper for him to run?

You see, that’s the great thing about democracy. It doesn’t exactly care about the sensibilities of anyone, least of all the minority. In a democracy, dear Ellie, the choice is laid before the people so that each voter – each individual voter – is given the opportunity to weight the merits of each candidate according to his own lights. Thus, even if all of the King’s men agree that Revilla ought to have no place in government office, that opinion would not matter if it is out-voted by those who believe otherwise.

So, if democracy calls for every single voter to decide on his own, no one’s candidacy can ever be smugly dismissed as being “inappropriate,” and certainly not by someone who’s political predilections are well known. If anything, it is more inappropriate when an influencer like the Secretary of Justice plays partisan politics by using the clout of her office to sway people into believing that someone has no business running for office.

The way I see it, the use of the word delicadeza to frame this discussion was deliberate but inaccurate.

What Leila is actually gunning for, in my opinion, is kapal ng mukha, or the idea that, because of his being accused of plunder, Bong Revilla should be embarrassed to run for office.

However, since the thought of being shamed into doing the right thing has been rendered all but irrelevant by administration shmucks like Al Vitangcol (MRT), Ping Lacson (he was a fugitive from justice wasn’t he? even had a movie made about it), and Butch Abad (you know who that is, for sure), who cling to office despite being accused of malfeasance (or murder) themselves, I figure she thought she needed something that wouldn’t invite these unflattering comparisons.

And since we Filipinos are so notoriously self-righteous, the idea of painting a Revilla candidacy improper does seem like an excellent choice. After all, there are not a lot of people who would dare raise a peep of protest once delicadeza is invoked.

But delicadeza, in the sense of an awareness of propriety, should not been an issue here. There is nothing improper about an accused man running for office, unless he is proven guilty. If you don’t like, then suck it. Campaign against him and vote for someone else.

 

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