like many said, if you want to be in an interesting chat about politics (and on almost anything under the sun but mostly politics), hop on a taxi and engage in a friendly conversation with the driver. some said that taxi drivers are the true pulse of the nation. arguments (especially if the gentleman has entirely different views compared with yours), intelligent banter, a little bit of friendly tease and of course the pinoy way of personal and one-on-one heckling – all these will make for an out of the ordinary commuting. i commute daily, used to be via regular taxis, until the shared economy finally got me into the bandwagon of these 3rd platform babies or in my ICT industry analyst lingo, early disruptors. these days, most of my daily trips to and from the office are divided between uber and grab. i must say that the conversations are not that colourful anymore since most grab and uber drivers are not that into politics, may be on the quiet side, or are too busy waze-ing their way in a colossal maze called metro manila.
on my way to my satur-date with the emmanuel charismatic community this afternoon, i got into a regular taxi and this manong driver immediately talked about jinggoy estrada's freedom from incarceration. he continued to say that in the first 15 months of this current administration, all he saw were crooked and high profile individuals getting pardoned, acquitted of any wrongdoings, reprieved from facing the full tune of the law, getting undeserved amnesty and one even being allowed to be buried in the libingan ng mga bayani with full military honors. he of course was talking about gloria macapagal-arroyo, sandra cam, janet napoles, drug and gambling lords and of course, the dictator ferdinand marcos. all these happen while innately good servant-leaders like vice president leni robredo, ombudsman conchita carpio-morales, chief justice ma. lourdes sereno, senator risa hontiveros, judy taguiwalo, gina lopez (isn't it a wonder why dutertards and pdut's allies for the most part attack leaders who are women??), get whacked by fake news mongerers, figuratively dismembered by powerful individuals who want to remove them from office or dismissed by duterte's allies who certainly want to protect their own interests and push their own selfish agenda.
all these in manong's own words show "a sad and sorry state of the country, far from what seemed to be exciting and promising because of the sweeping changes duterte championed during the campaign in order to win the elections". this manong driver did not hesitate to say that for the most part of the last 18 months or so, he was a fervent ka-DDS and would gamely slot in convos to defend duterte from anyone who has different ideas about the sitting president. but with how the last 15 months have transpired and with the recent developments, his strong belief on duterte is slowly starting to wane. he now doubts whether duterte will be that "best-ever president" as it's now becoming clear… his "idol" is not delivering.
he said that he has yet to see what pdut has pledged to do. all he heard were duterte's resolve to clobber anyone who tries to disagree and criticize his moves. what he has so far seen were duterte's moves to pay his powerful financiers back, his end of the political barter, in order to recompense the immense capital outlay these twisted individuals/families have invested in and provided for him. manong driver also said that it is now becoming apparent that pdut has no firm grip on reality and is using his tough demeanor to worm his way out of his many wide-of-the-mark pronouncements and actions. and to make matters worse, it's starting to dawn on this ka-DDS that duterte has no clear vision for the country, except his myopic war on drugs, his denial that his war on drugs are actually anti-poor and his even bigger crusade against his critics. it is now becoming evident to this ka-DDS that duterte is no different from the traditional politicians the filipinos loathe. he's as what the term says, trapo… conventional politico bent on nothing but to protect himself first and foremost, his so-called allies and will continue to do so since they do not have genuine and sincere concern for the country and its people.
with talks on duterte contemplating a martial law declaration and the aforementioned missteps by this administration, i could not help but to ask manong, "are you now regretting voting for duterte?" i can sense that the rabid ka-DDS in him wanted to kick me off the car as if i'm antonio trillanes but to my pleasant surprise, he said that he's at that 50-50 point. he still believes that he voted for the right candidate among the 5 presidentiables. but at the same time, it's becoming hard to swallow the fact that his candidate is slowly becoming a disappointment because of his several facepalm moves, keeping inept, bungling and unclean individuals like vitaliano aguirre, salvador panelo, mocha uson in his midst and having no clear accomplishments yet after 1 full year in power.
no gloating on my part though. what i'm glad is the truth that there are some reasonable ka-DDSes, those who look beyond the absent partylines and not mockingly brand those who voice different opinions as dilawan. these are the individuals who are gradually able to become conscious of duterte's erroneous steps and are not afraid to point these out. these are the persons who realize that fanatical belief of one person is a dangerous thing and believing that duterte is a heaven-sent saviour is 100% false. i hope that there are more of the likes of manong driver – those who slowly understand that politics, power, administration, governance are not about a single person… that it is about the good of the country and all pinoys.
our short but worthy of note convo ended on a good note – both of us are still full of hope for the country… that the philippines is a great nation and the filipinos may have a lot of things to work on but once we finally get our groove on, we can grow and prosper together.
salamat, manong and god bless the philippines.