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BATANG MINDANAW: We, the Religious, Political Nuts

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/03 January) — “Who are you voting for, this 2016?”

I wasn’t able to register. I have no excuse. Most other registrants have had, will have, and are having problems bigger than mine. In fact, I will be the first to point out that all of my previous excited advocacy, for responsible voting and the act itself, all my entreating to be aware and conscious of the goings-on in the rat race, despite my remorse, nevertheless marks me a common hypocrite. I can now claim to not have voted for him whose lap receives the bouncing check of presidency. I can officially be condemned (or forgiven, depending on the judge) for my youthful irresponsibility.

I didn’t register. I should have.

One can argue that it’s become impossible to vote intelligently; votes will be split, bought, swayed, for a throne so flimsy that the holder’s blessing or veto can be torn apart by the piranhas at the Senate and the House. The candidates themselves seem to have brought a ridiculously varied set of qualifications to the table, like tentative heirs grandstanding at a matriarch’s deathbed. Sometimes it even appears they are unsure as to which demographic to address their mewling appeals; the average voter, master of the majority vote, is a winged unicorn that defecates rainbows.

As a sometime holder of the much disputed title, ‘Iskolar ng Bayan’, I too can be found affecting Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s famous brand of rather vehement logic, only pasted under a thin veneer of polite restraint because I am still a dependent and would prefer to be on speaking terms with my family and friends. However, that doesn’t keep people from the fact that I am a proud Mindanawon, and a Dabawenyo at that. Shouldn’t I be supporting Duterte?

The political pageant never even tried to begin civilly. One wonders at the cartoonish state of affairs when our leading contenders have been pinned with uncertain citizenship, allegations of fraud, allegations of theft, padded resumes, multiple wives – such must be our faith, that we insist that what bites like a snake, lives like a pig, and barks like a dog is still human enough to eat at the table.

However, the grim reality is that the spectacle of the colorful costumes and lyrical lines on the pedestal has always only ever been a reflection of the world beyond the stage. There can be no pretense to uniformity and order has always been a farce.

Some people need Batman. They need the biggest bully to scare the bigger bullies. There are places where the reality is gunshots heard through painfully thin walls, or broken beer bottles and a backhand. And yet I wonder if my sheltered, well-off friend, who owns a car, isn’t yet 20, and considers the price tag a secondary criterion for buying clothes, knows what to do or who to blame or ask for when the one-armed man asking for money or food outside McDonald’s gets a little too physically persistent. I wonder what the consensus is, around the thin girls hanging about by Central Bank at night, and if it matches up with the equally thin (but better made-up) women over at Manila’s red light districts.

Maybe the answer is better policy. Specifically, foreign policy. But after beating around the bush about Roxas’ Wharton qualification, will a degree in finance appease the BIFF or approve the BBL?

For the past months, I’ve been living, studying in Metropolitan Iloilo of the wide roads. I had friends in the local protests that frightened APEC officials. I know for a fact they carried placards, not guns, and markers, not sticks. It’s also a fact that a number of the people I walked with to end Violence Against Women, some of them from neighboring Bacolod or Leyte, wildly refute that Marcos was the dictator who put my grandfather in jail. I’ve talked to people over my summer courses in Quezon City with even less of an opinion, because the spectacle of no food or roof or safety is merely a tableau out the car window on the way to the airport.

Under all of this dissension and insanity, the cynic in me is still suspicious of the few percent that quietly run the country from their Scrooge McDuck vaults.

We are mad and egotistical to presume that anyone mad and egotistical enough to run for presidency could share our specific set of concerns. Again, such must be our faith, that despite this, we should still vote. (Sage Danielle T. Ilagan is a sophomore BS Biology student at the University of the Philippines – Visayas.)

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