If Revilla runs for president and wins

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

ANYONE can aspire to be president but can he win?

Sen. Bong Revilla says he is determined to run for the presidency. But, his lawyer hastens to add, only if the clamor for the beleaguered senator to run grows louder and snowballs presumably between now and 2016.

I like that, clamor from the people. It sounds oh so altruistic. He’s willing to sacrifice himself for the sake of his people, Revilla is. This is obedience at its fullest bloom and it paints a picture of a politician so pure of heart it makes me want to cry.


Revilla is not original though. Listening to “the clamor of her people” is as Imelda Marcos as her shoe collection. Come on, Bong. Your scriptwriters could have done better than cut and paste the former First Lady’s favorite phrase.

But it isn’t just the concept of great, not to mention honest, sacrifice that drives Revilla’s determination to run. He also talks of vindication, which he believes he can get from his people, if he can’t obtain it from the courts.

I do not know which part is fiction, which one is fact; which one is scripted and which comes from the heart. But Revilla says he believes that his current legal woes have less to do with seeking justice than with marginalizing him as a presidential candidate, less with plunder of public funds than with advancing some people’s political interests.

His camp says the senator’s troubles started when he announced that he was running for president in 2016. That’s a loaded statement. Those who cast similarly moist eyes on Malacañang are quaking in their footwear because Revilla is a sure winner and want him neutralized, demolished or otherwise taken out of the equation.

Humility is, of course, not one of the politician’s stronger suits but this one is truly outstanding especially when you consider the fact that Revilla’s name has up to this point been but a footnote to the discussion on the 2016 presidential elections.

But let’s humor him and his lawyer and concede that indeed, people who see Revilla as a dangerous rival are engaged in a devious plot to destroy him. Let us also assume that Jinggoy Estrada is a similar target of the sinister conspiracy because he is a frontrunner for the vice presidency. But where does that place Juan Ponce Enrile?

Enrile is over 90 years old and has already written his memoirs. To say that he is a serious threat to someone’s political ambition is akin to saying that Manny Pacquiao is a threat to the tenure of Erik Spoelstra as coach of the Miami Heat. So why has Enrile been charged along with Revilla and Estrada for plunder?

This is where I have to agree with those who say that believing in the coming of a steamrolling public clamor for Revilla to run for the presidency is delusional. I read the reaction of the Internet crowd to the news on his planned presidential run and it was anything but joyful. The truth is that they mocked and insulted him and called him names.

Okay, a few hundred or even a thousand readers do not make the Philippine voting population. But the virulence of the comments cannot but be a source of serious concern for a politician like Revilla, whose only capital is his popularity.

But what if there is no delusion and a clamor does in fact arise and grow louder that Revilla should run for president? What if the voters are fascinated by the idea of a good-looking actor campaigning from his detention cell and turn out en masse for him?

What, if despite the fact that he has nothing to offer but his pretty face, Revilla wins? What if, after the people gift him with an election, the courts vindicate him with an acquittal?

This being a democracy, I will, in that event, bow to the majesty of the law and the will of the people. But I will quietly pack my bags and leave. There must be some place out there where they hire senior citizens as caregivers.


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 19, 2014.


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