February 26, 2024

Over the weekend, Coldplay, the popular British band had a two-night concert – one at the Mall of Asia in Pasay City and the other at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan. Tickets for the concert were sold out and the venue was jampacked with people screaming and singing their hearts out. Among the guests were President Ferdinand Marcos and his wife, First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos.
Aside from being easily recognizable as the President, what drew his presence was the manner he arrived. He rode in a helicopter and his entrance was ushered by his presidential guards.
Due to the way he made a grand entrance many people are criticizing him and making a big fuss about him watching the concert. They are criticizing him because he took a helicopter instead of a car. They said that he was not even supposed to be there since he could have devoted his time and energy dealing with state matters than jamming and listening to music that are only appropriate for the current generation. In short, they do want their President watching the concert.
Those who advocate to bar the President from attending the concert of the Coldplay are either insensitive, insecure, or just plain cruel. Foremost, the President too, is a human being who, like all others, is entitled to rest and enjoy the liberties of his free time. So what if he watches a concert for teenagers? So what if he sang his heart out and jammed with the crowd? So what if he arrived via a helicopter? Is that morally or politically wrong?
The President is the highest official of the land. He is entitled to some privileges that are not available to other persons. It is not, therefore, unusual that in his trips and travels, he ought to take the easiest routes and the most convenient form of transportation. There is nothing wrong with that. He needs to be protected and with the pressure of his work, he must be accorded the greatest convenience. It is what we call respect for authority.
That the President took a helicopter and attended a public concert is not something to drool about. Why should he not take a helicopter? He is the President and if he wants to attend a concert and go there is style, if only to save time and energy, so be it. Let him enjoy the privileges that goes with his office. He is no ordinary mortal.
They say that his going to the concert on board a helicopter leaves a bad taste in his mouth, an ostentatious display of wealth in the midst of hardships. OMG! This argument bespeaks of the ignorance of those saying this. The time of the President is as important as gold. By going to his appointments via helicopter, he saves time. True, the concert he watched may not be an official function but, he is as much entitled to a special treatment as all other VIPs who were at the concert. By golly, he is the President and he is the most significant VIP that night.
Besides, it is not unusual or despicable for Presidents to watch concerts or ballgames. The President of the United States of America Joe Biden, for instance, is a known football fan and watches every time. He takes the helicopter to ballgames. His ride lands right in the middle of the football field and he is cheered upon when he descends. Nelson Mandela, considered one of the greatest leaders of the 20th century, adores soccer. When his national team plays, he cancels all his appointments to watch. Yet, they were good leaders and they were well loved by their people. Their attachment to their pastime that is not at all related to their official function was never taken against them.
Why then can’t we accord the same respect to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.? Watching a concert does not make him a lesser leader. Seeing him alight from a helicopter while all others are taking the bus or the jeepney does not make him corrupt. He is only resting.