Toughness, to be of real value to governance, is fearless acceptance of high-risk challenges; unbending adherence to what is right, just, and true; and unshakable dignity under provocation. Has there been any instance when fell short of those essentials? Has any of the demoralizing tactics she has been dealt with all these five years succeeded in breaking her spirit? She’s still standing, isn’t she? Here is an official who has exhibited decisiveness in alleviating calamity situations despite her office’s limited funding, an action-oriented Vice President whose priority preoccupation is the plight of the displaced among our people. There is an innate kindness and grace to her which Sen. Panfilo Lacson acknowledged recently in a column.
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In that same column though, Lacson equated goodness of heart to a liability and mischaracterized the VP’s inner strength as a weakness to be despised. If compassion for the disadvantaged is incompatible with the tough demands of mending a broken nation, what is a sane alternative for Lacson then? Someone bombastic, fierce-faced, combative, and ill-bred to have a strong stomach for bloodbath and mean-spirited rhetoric? Someone whose lack of impulse control hints at a pathological appetite for physical cruelty?
A style of command that instills fear rather than devotion to duty is old-school and has long been discredited in today’s modern, enlightened world. Bully types are but pretenders to toughness. Their posturing is a mere veneer that hides a sense of inadequacy within. Such an impostor is hard-hitting and impressive, seemingly of strong political will, when attacking soft targets. But when confronting a more formidable force, he shrinks into subservient timidity. Does Lacson want this kind of personality at the helm of government—again?