When I started working at our Provincial Capitol in the late 1980s, I was hired as an idealistic young man to help organize the Boholano youth. At that time, the Kabataang Barangay was abolished by then President Corazon Aquino for having been too pro-Marcos. There was then no representation for the youth due to KB’s abolition.
The one who hired me was a budding young professional who was trying to make a name of for himself. Together we tried to federate all youth groups from the religious Our Lady of Lourdes to the sports clubs playing in basketball leagues in the remotest barangays, to the young farmers of the 4H club. This youth leader was also idealistic. He was an ex-Jesuit seminarian who marched with Bohol’s chapter of Justice for Aquino, Justice for All (JAJA) within that decade. We both believed in Active Nonviolence, or so I thought, especially because his mother was a devout leader of the Catholic Women’s League.
Years passed, and this budding young professional, on his own accord, metamorphosed into a big time politician in our province. He went on to occupy various political positions and experienced many ups and downs in the process. And as they say in street language, only fools don’t change their minds. Another saying that applies is the popular adage about viewpoints. They say when you’re young you’re usually radical, in your middle age you become a moderate, and in old age, a conservative.
People who have recently rubbed elbows with this politician after decades of absence said they have noticed he has changed a lot. He is no longer easy to deal with like those days when he was still trying to ingratiate himself with the masses, particularly the youth. We are not in any position to make moral judgments or comparison whether he has become better or worse.
What is clear is this: he is now rich and powerful. Observers who were recently surprised at his very different demeanor are saying, “Lahinasiyakaayosauna”. Just that. No more, no less. As for me, I expressed sadness when, as a national legislator, he voted in favor of the Death Penalty contrary to what his late mother of the Catholic Women’s League would have probably wanted;or, if only for our principle of active nonviolence when we were young. But there are a thousand and one reasons for us to change our minds on issues like death penalty, from people’s popular pulse to considerations of money and power. We are not privy to his own reasons. People change, and we respect that.
Meanwhile, we, Boholanos, are now collectively wallowing in bitterness due to the very high rate of increase in our electric bills. We do not know how this, erstwhile idealistic leader, will help our people deal with this real problem given the fact that he engineered the sale (or joint venture) of our province’s water and power institutions to the private sector.
To those of us who voted for leaders like him, let us pray for them. But above all, let us pray for our country and province and brace for more difficult times. In case you do not know, or otherwise forgot what you know, unregulated profiteering goes naturally with patronage politics and the capitalist economic system. God help us.