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The puritanical opposition

Dean Dela Paz



The number one loser of the 2016 presidential elections had tried every trick in the book to cast the man the electorate preferred over him as unfit for the presidency. One of the lamest comparisons he attempted was to present himself as a decent person (disente in the colloquial vernacular) in contrast to what are not-too-subtly implied as the “indecent” traits of Rodrigo R. Duterte.

“From square one, when they first attacked the President, the die had been cast and their sorry lot pathetically condemned.

The implied dichotomy to differentiate from Duterte recalls the great divide between classical and baroque music where the latter is convoluted, undisciplined and even occasionally grotesque, while classical is refined, orderly and balanced, even elegant to some.

The contrast is stark. The lines, thick and well-defined. It was not so much that the born loser was a decent person. That would be unlikely for a trapo. It was rather that the President was cut from the same cloth we all were. Neither silk nor satin, but more like coarse burlap — practical to the point of being almost utilitarian. The differences however needed no labels.

One was a monied elitist who carried with him bottles of alcohol and sanitizers when on the campaign trail. His family’s wealth could purchase for him the most expensive schools, fund the richest political campaigns and have him hobnob with every sycophantic socialite and gregarious gold-digger there was.

Duterte, on the other hand, was more like his voters. Middle class. Of moderate means. A mongrel.

In analyzing this deeply delineating dichotomy, we might find that the underlying reason a person like Duterte remains popular and awarded consistently higher satisfaction and approval ratings — far more substantial than the electoral mandate granted him in 2016 — has to do with the imagery that the opposition cloaks upon itself to disparage the President.

Note the constant themes of their criticism.

They cite his uncouth coarseness and manner of speech and yet they stupidly miss where such crudity’s subliminal eloquence overwhelms crowds and generates deep resonance and affinity.

They cite the sloppiness of his dress and his deliberate disdain for formality. The same clothes we wear daily.

They likewise cite the manner by which he can transform a formal event into a casual encounter, thus robbing it of its historicity. They criticize his speeches declaring them as pointless ramblings and yet they fail to hear in their subtle undertones engaging charm and charisma.

They paint him as a dastardly villain, an instigator of extrajudicial violence and a bloody war against drug lords, yet they forget that he has not once abandoned heroic law enforcers to a massacre and then lied about it. There are no drug traffickers in Duterte’s Cabinet. No pork barrel criminals. No child killers.

When we relate such contrived imagery and apparent hypocrisy to the continuing rejection by the electorate of the fledgling and floundering opposition desperate to be relevant as they attempt to resurrect and regain power, we see where their duplicity founds their failures.

Their elitism, manifested in an attitude that screams “We are rich, so we are entitled” cloaks around their shoulders a self-righteous glistening mantel that undermines their ambitions.

From square one, when they first attacked the President and, in his place, offered the dubious persona of a blue-blooded and filthy rich elitist with a penchant for publicity stunts and demolition derbies, the die had been cast and their sorry lot pathetically condemned.

The opposition is essentially unprincipled for pushing for righteous governance when theirs was themed with corruption, the mass murder of children, massacres and even infanticide.

As lazy and as derelict as they were under Benigno Aquino III and his corruption-ridden Cabinet of low-caliber colleagues, they’ve attempted to perpetuate by preferring to fault Duterte and his symbolic weaknesses rather than rolling up their sleeves and offering real and viable solutions to battle real and not symbolic crimes.

To their misfortune, between the puritanical and the populist, look who’s on top.

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