TARLAC CITY, December 14, 2003  (BULLETIN) RAUL Roco has given some reason for having spoken highly of himself (“Ten years from now Singapore and Malaysia would wish they had a Roco’’) with his stance against GMA’s lifting of the moratorium on the death penalty.

On the face of it, the President’s reversal was a response to the outcry against rampant kidnappings and murders, especially among members of the Chinese-Filipino community.

Such a turnaround looks like an attempt to gain popularity in the face of failure to curb heinous crimes. It’s even doubtful that it would assuage the anguish and dispel the feeling of terror in the streets.

Addressing the failures of governance, Roco also dismisses the Camacho alternatives of virtual dictatorship and parliamentary system, attributing them to corruption, which in the judgment of neutral international organizations has risen to a record high.

Not the presidential system but the quality of leadership is thus to be blamed for the rotten state of the strong republic. To be sure, this is an old theme – there is a growing sentiment for constitutional change – but it’s still leadership that is at the heart of present discontents.

In the face of the dark comedy of sprouting presidential aspirants, Roco is elevating the political debate on the level of principle. He is confronting popularity, though he isn’t exactly unpopular, with principle, showing popularity alone to be not only a false, but also disastrous, premise in the choice of leaders.

So desperate are some so called political leaders that they would rather risk ridicule by proclaiming the Absent in order to push him into the presidential ring. There is no reason for this apart from a lust for power.

How they can be so cynical is indicative of their contempt for the electorate and the masses. They have transformed celluloid virtues into living political reality in an effort to repeat history, despite Santayana’s famous warning to heed its lessons.

Other peoples would regard their actions unacceptable and undeserving of attention. But preening on their shrewdness (and since they have nothing to lose), they hope to succeed in donning the Filipinos.

There hangs a tale.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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