My good friend Mack Danayp (not his real name), at 82 years old, is a provocative thinker and a habitual tinkerer. He finds pleasure in out-of-the-box ideas to solve our country’s problems. His fertile imagination likes to dwell in a futuristic society.
Mack is thoroughly Christian in belief and outlook. He gets his adrenaline rush when he argues from the point of view of Christian theology, philosophy and history. His common sense shines with a lot of homespun wit.
Mack and I had coffee in an uppity-uppity mall recently. He was dressed like a gentleman of the old school—beige linen pants and polo na gusot mayaman, and Italian soft leather mocs na kulay talong.
To start our conversation, I opened with the topic of the PDAF plunders and how obscene the pictures in the dailies were, featuring the three accused senators grinning ear to ear, as if the cat had swallowed the canary. I wanted to puke.
“How will this abominable scandal affect the 2016 election?”
I was mentally searching my management books on the qualities of a transformational leader. Suddenly, Mack blurted out: “How about electing a saint for president in 2016?”
I was stunned! “Whaaat?!” I asked.
“You heard me! A saint! Santo!”
I was still trying to gather my wits when he interrupted, “Nakabaon sa tae ng kalabaw ang ating bansa kasi our leaders are pagans. They cheat, they lie, they philander, and they plunder like pagans do.”
I can relate to everything he said.
“The 10 commandments of God should be the platform of the new president in 2016!” Mack was emphatic. “It’s the only platform that can eliminate pagan politicians.”
“Theocracy yan,” I managed to say.
“Nope! We are a Christian country. Our leader should be a saint! Dapat santo siya! Tulad ni Gandhi, yung transformational leader sa India. Holy man siya.”
“Wala yatang politikong santo sa Pilipinas, demonyo marami!”
“Meron diyan, ’di lang lantad. Quiet… humble lang, walang press release.”
“’Kaw, may kilala ka bang santo?”
“Oo, si Jess Estanislao… si Bernie Villegas.”
“Opus Dei yan ah! Puputaktihin tayo ng mga kalabang ’di bilib sa Opus Dei. Isusumbat nila: Damaso! Medieval! Bigots! Hypocrites! Dogmatists! Irrelevant!”
“May punto ka yata diyan sa so what mo.”
I crunched the numbers. Our population, they say, is 100 million. Let’s put Catholics at 70 percent, 70 million. Let’s deduct, say, 20 million Catholics—those who don’t go to church, adulterers who favor abortion law, palikeros who make women use the pill, rightists who want same-sex marriage to be permitted, agnostics na galit sa mga pari at obispo, at mga cafeteria Catholics.
We still have 50 million na may takot sa Diyos at heart.
And let’s say 30 million will vote on election day.
’Pag may 16 million na bumoto sa kandidatong santo, panalo ang santo!
Ang kampanya para sa santo ay ’di dapat panis, pudpud, at ’di pinaniwalaan tulad ng mga anti-poverty at anti-corruption. Mga pangakong bulok! Binging-bingi na ang taong bayan diyan. Dapat off-tangent, meditative. May spiritual feel. Malalim! Such as, “Pangulong Santo, ipagdasal mo.”
May tao ba namang ipagdadasal ka, tapos ’di ka iboboto?
Mack got excited and added: “And don’t forget the extensive and permeating social base of the Catholic Church. Ang organizational power base nila ’pag na-activate, grabe! Tens of thousands na mga pari at obispo, mga madre, mga parish organization like The Legion of Mary, Couples for Christ, Catholic Women’s League, Holy Rosary Crusaders, mga devotees ng Virgen sa Antipolo, Peñafrancia, Manaoag, Santisimo Rosario, at marami pa, mga machong deboto sa poong Nazareno sa Quiapo at mga Catholic charitable institutions, mga Catholic colleges and universities sa buong Pilipinas—grabe!
“Eh ’di mamumulitika ang simbahan!”
“Eh’ di ba may separation of church and state.”
“Meron, pero so what? May pagka-Edsa One ito pero walang mob rule. Nasa puso’t kaluluwa ang galaw!”
Mack and I wrapped up our discussion thus. Christianity vs Paganism is the new buzzword for a troubled country sick with war, greed, systemic corruption and hedonistic consumerism.
It’s the developing war of spirits in the postmodern world.
The mass media pointman is Pope Francis, who is coming here in January 2015.
He will be aided by Cardinal Chito Tagle, for all Filipino Catholics to discern the power of holiness in harnessing our Christian culture to achieve transformational leadership and enlightened constituency in our country.