I can dream, can’t I? | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022


Every day since he took office two years ago, the man 16 million Filipinos elected president has been revealing a progressive exacerbation of his “antisocial narcissistic personality disorder,” a condition clinically established and judicially acknowledged. For some reason—in itself possibly pathological—many of his supporters remain in denial of it.


The irony is that the man himself has owned up to all sorts of wrongdoing, including murder, and that may well be his desperate cry to be stopped, not unlike a spoiled brat begging to be punished.


I thought his assault on God himself, whom he called “stupid” in one of his latest fits, would be the awakener, but the Christian response was prayers and forgiveness. Did God not teach us about action, too? When Jesus physically drove the vendors from the temple, did he not draw the line and take decisive action himself against such precise sort of disrespect?


After calling God stupid and getting away with it, who else can the man not insult? What is it that we’re waiting for him to do next? What else can he do for an encore? The least respectable thing to do is stand up to the man and tell him, “Enough nonsense already! Let’s get down to the business of governing, but, since obviously you cannot do that, then do the least decent thing—resign!”


Well, I can dream, can’t I? And while at it, I may as well dream big.


The man suddenly comes to his senses and does the right thing. He admits to his incapacity and turns the reins over to his vice president, Leni Robredo. He also chucks federalism and confesses it was all part of a plot to perpetuate himself in power. Finally relieved of him, the nation gives thanks to the very same god the man called stupid, and we can all get serious again.


Exact opposite


Aside from being a woman, which seems an inherent virtue all round, Leni happens to be the man’s exact opposite, like day and night, light and darkness, hope and despair. The choice may seem easy, but haven’t we missed it many times before?


Getting it right calls for proper discernment, which in turn calls for a change in our innermost attitude about everything, a 180-degree turn. We can start by becoming more charitable toward one another, by controlling greed, by telling and serving the truth, by not only trusting in God but standing up against evil—these are the halves that complete the Act of Faith.


Proper discernment is bound to make us realize that the objects of our search are hidden in plain sight. In my own search, three women, apart from Leni, have emerged most worthy of national leadership, three women whose virtues shine through their persecution: Sen. Leila de Lima, in jail for more than a year now on trumped-up charges; Maria Lourdes Sereno, conspiratorially ousted as chief justice; and Conchita Carpio Morales, herself threatened constantly with ouster even as her term as ombudsman was ending.


In my dream world it is precisely these three women who can put their hearts, heads and hands together in lead service for nation building. Not to shortchange the men, I see Antonio Trillanes as an implementor, if not an enforcer.


Surely, there remain others in government who could rise to the occasion and carry out their work with dignity, nobility and true patriotism, and stop all the prevailing nonsense once and for all, and get down to the business of improving the plight of the poorest, instead of eliminating them as burdensome statistics.


In my dream world, I see José Antonio Cardinal Tagle flashing a big disarming smile and giving absolution to the man, whose heart is now full of contrition and cleansed of waste matter.


Outside, an ambulance waits to take him to the “Farm,” where the eminent Natividad Dayan, his original clinician, is waiting, anxious to begin his long-overdue treatment.


All’s well that ends well.


But today I awoke to another nightmarish reality: the list of senatorial candidates in the Top 12 survey is out, and bad choices are, again, in the lead.


Before it’s too late, could Naty Dayan, perhaps, refer us to a psychiatrist for nations?






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