Whenever I watch the President speak, a thought loops in my mind:
He talks about our problems: the drug menace, our economy, the West Philippine Sea problem, our OFWs, foreign interference over matters that are no concern of theirs, the pang aasar of this small group of kagwangs dedicated to bringing him down, the one question on my mind is:
WHY in heck would anyone want to be President?
Why oh why?
Alternating with “People kill for this? Seriously??”
Because all I am is a public official on the lower levels of the executive totem pole and yet I have had this need to manage my stress in ways I’ve never had to all my life. I cannot even begin to imagine what his life is like.
With simpletons like Noynoy Aquino, that question is easy as hell to answer: it’s the oligarch thing to do. Grasp power in both your greedy hands and never give a single thought to making millions of lives better.
Who cares if they die by the thousands like they did in Yolanda or if they walk into their deaths like sheep led to slaughter the way SAF44 did while this obscene idiot of a president slept (or so he claims.) Ganyan ang oligarkyo: sila lang ang may karapatan mamuhay ng komportable. Tayo na ma-deds, whodafak cares.
No, that’s not what I am talking about.
What I am talking about is the Rodrigo Duterte brand of leadership.
The one with HEART and SOUL.
The one where he puts every goddamn thing on the line for us. The one where he sticks his neck out and not give a damn what it will cost him. The one where he says he wouldn’t mind going to hell so Filipinos can have a taste of heaven on earth. And you look at him when he says that and you see that he truly means it. It just takes my breath away really.
Oh this man.
He is OURS AND OURS alone. A most faithful and passionate lover who will not exchange us for a few silver pieces. Or for more power. Or so his family will never have to work for 10 generations for the money he plundered from us. No, he’s not like that.
His every waking hour is spent thinking of us. How to take us out of the horrific grip of the drug scourge that has destroyed our most precious resource: our children.
How he’s been so pained by the abuse of the Filipino people and would like for it to stop now– the oppression of those who’ve had us in their death grip for all time: the oligarchs, the Catholic hierarchy (my dears, I can think of fewer oppressions than IGNORANCE and the FEAR of hellfire and brimstone if you don’t do as the clergy tell you), drug lords, corrupt government workers.
Last night, I watched him speak before a room full of media people and I felt his weariness. And it wasn’t physical fatigue –although there is that too for all that sleep deprivation from the punishing ASEAN schedule.
But an even deeper kind of weariness on the soul level.
The weariness of someone on whom millions depend on. The weariness of a leader who looks at how the world’s powerful are pushing humanity closer and closer to the brink of extinction with senseless wars and endless posturing.
The weariness of someone who has seen the abuse wrought on the Filipino people by the soulless elites, wants it to stop NOW yet knows it will take more time and begs for us to be patient. But oh how he just wants to smash their faces in.
Because HE. WANTS. THE. ABUSE. TO. STOP. NOW.
But knowing that so much of all that will depend on how well he plays his cards, this man holds his cards close to his chest. And plays them exceedingly well. The stakes are too high and he will not be careless.
Back to my question: why did this man, Rodrigo Duterte, want to be president?
When he can very well live a life of ease and comfort, put his feet up as he watches his apos play about, eat durian and read and nap any old time he wants to and yet chooses to be the receptacle of hope for millions of Filipinos, to carry their burdens for them, to take endless blows for them, to be wounded many times over for them.
I can only think of one word for that.
Nothing more, nothing less.
It’s no wonder he is, arguably, the most beloved Philippine president. No president before him has loved the Filipino people the way he does.
Truly, profoundly, deeply.
So I got an answer to my question.
And it left me breathless at the magnitude and force of our President’s love for us.