I practically exhorted my Mom into writing in fairness to the president. “This is a show of force, a fierce display of political will,” I said. This is how he’ll get things done in Philippines politics — with change happening so fast it’ll make the trapos’ heads spin. And isn’t this how you’d want it? The only possible way it can happen? The only way to dig out of our entrenchment in the status quo? (Yeah, I was on something of a roll.)
And just like that — the party, the defensive sisters, deleted tweets — he shows you why he doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt. That, on top of flatfooted government response so sorely in need of leadership and, you know, something that gives the impression of actual conviction — never mind love for countryman.
Sure, partying with the “troops” is just good management. And inviting their families a nice touch. But these guys would have been the first to understand if he couldn’t make it. And if they didn’t, it was his job to make these civil servants understand. That’s just better management.
A large part of my defense of his show of force was that the nay-sayers were mistaken and unfair, short-sighted and clouded by political bias. But there’s no denying the impression this gives, of an uncaring, unfocused president-who-can’t-prioritize, especially to the victims for whom this is no mere impression, but something — someone — they have to live with.