November 30, 2023

The complete title of this piece should be “Better to be with the devil you know than the devil you do not know.”
The campaign period has not even started, yet social and other media platforms are now overdosed with hate, name calling, rumor mongering, character assassination, and mudslinging. Some ride on with the fear of the unknown rather on how to make the lives of our people better in this pandemic.
We now face the dilemma of voting between the bad and the lesser evil from among candidates.
Take Bongbong Marcos for one. We were both first term congressmen in the 9th Congress from 1992 to 1995. Up close and personal, he is fine as a person, yet now being the frontliner in the presidential derby, all forms of negative issues are being thrown at him hook, line, and sinker including the kitchen sink.
Did we even know that he is married to a true-blue Baguio lass from Irisan who studied at Holy Family Academy with cousin Maggie Cacho? When I was dean of Law, I invited her to teach at Saint Louis University School of Law and she is now a faculty member there. He would come up to Baguio every weekend and once in a while we would have coffee and talk about mundane things.
Of course, politicians have a hard time keeping their private life out of politics or public scrutiny. As his father was tagged as a dictator, corrupt and all, he is now portrayed as one who would continue the father’s agenda. But why blame the son for the alleged misdeeds of his father? For once, Bato was right. Never have I seen bashers, online trolls, and keyboard warriors having a field day in news and social media posts just doing that.
Manila Mayor Isko Moreno running second to Bonggit in the surveys, openly told Vice President Leni Robredo not to run for the wrong reasons since her beef is with the old man Marcos and of course Duterte. Patria de amor – love for country, and willingness to serve used to be a good excuse to run. Tama rin po si Isko.
My friends at Moreno’s camp COS Cong. Cesar Chaves (now resigned), Lito Banayo through Bobby Burgos and Raymond has projected him as true pro-poor candidate owing to his childhood days as a garbage collector in the slums of Tondo, Manila, movie or ST actor who nonetheless was willing to learn and finished school despite his obvious poverty. He had his share of bashing coming from all corners including President Rody Duterte himself.
As the Nov. 15 deadline for substitution of candidates approaches, we will have more surprises and hear more brick brats in the air, more broken friendships because of differences in political leanings.
Cynics say all candidates are corrupt, immoral, inefficient, human rights violators, and the devil personified. At least during the campaign or even now, some of them are sharing their loot with the people.
Juan de la Cruz deserves better leaders, but with all the mudslinging that come with the elections, the better candidates (ehem) have shied away, not wanting to be torn to pieces by anonymous trolls.
Choose wisely and follow the rule “Better to be with the devil you know than the devil you do not know.”
Sigh.