"In societies where Robbing Hoods are treated like a celebrity it is but natural to expect political parties to act like a Mafia syndicate" Political Jaywalker "In a nation where corruption is endemic people tend to confuse due process with aiding and abetting criminals" Political Jaywalker "War doesn't determine who is right, war determines who is left" Bertrand Russell "You have just one flash flood of money, you keep your people poor. It's like a time bomb and it's scary" Philippine Lawmaker

Bautista Battles Trapos in '07 Philippine Election

"But do we have a choice? There comes a point in our lives when living a good and secure and prosperous existence becomes immoral when you cast a blind eye to the terrible suffering all around us. If you truly believe in your heart that you can offer whatever blessings and talents that have been given to you but decide to back-off because of the tremendous sacrifice in loss of privacy, income, security and family time then you would not only have failed yourself but your country as well." Martin bautista

Why do people like Martin Bautista, accomplished in his own chosen profession as a gastroenterologist doctor, his wife also a doctor specializing in pulmonology and both well established in the USA decided to go home in the Philippines. So how did they get themselves involved in the dirtiest game in town? Politics in the Philippine context is seen by many (if not all) as the most despicable and dirtiest activity in our society with equally despicable leaders. Coming from a highly matured prosperous society, going back to the third world is truly intriguing to look at, so I have to find out, for the sake of my readers, Martin’s perspective:

But do we have a choice? There comes a point in our lives when living a good and secure and prosperous existence becomes immoral when you cast a blind eye to the terrible suffering all around us. If you truly believe in your heart that you can offer whatever blessings and talents that have been given to you but decide to back-off because of the tremendous sacrifice in loss of privacy, income, security and family time then you would not only have failed yourself but your country as well.

As I read further on Martin Bautista I just can’t help but get awed at a man who has a plan and mission in life. While a huge number of Filipinos wanted out, he went in, family in tow. Intriguing as this sounds, I just have to find out what exactly it is that drives him to go “against the flow”. While many of us see the retrogression in the Philippines, Martin and his Wife on the other hand (in choosing a path less traveled) are secured financially and fulfilled professionally as a husband and wife team in a medical practice.

He could have taken the easy path; enjoying their material success in the bible belt of
America, secured and peaceful among god fearing citizens. But going back to what could be seen as a god forsaken place, ruled by criminally corrupt minority, individuals disguising as leaders of the people, truly makes you want to know more of what drives him to do what seems to be unthinkable. While it does appear irrational, it is in fact not so once you learn more of what this man is all about in his blog entry titled Radio Interview:

During a moment of levity, Mike asked when I was scheduled to see a psychiatrist. Not an entirely humorous question because any which way you look at it you will ask why a successful gastroenterologist in the US who has never been sued in a medical malpractice case (the interviewer asked if I was running from something) with his pulmonologist wife will bring their 4 US-born daughters back to a 3rd world nation where hunger, corruption and mayhem continue on a daily basis. Right now I am still searching for more answers: That if we don't actively resist then we have no business to complain and whine; that to those whom much is given much is expected in return; that I am personally responsible for my countrymen; that I have prepared myself painstakingly and will do a better job; that my motives are clean and hence I will not fail.

Ok, so why chose a party with no budget? Why not go with the loaded traditional parties that can ensure his victory legitimately or otherwise? Well, that is if he is like the recycled politicians who sees politics as a compromise, it does not have to be if you want genuine reform. You cannot change the system you despise if you become the very person like those who brought us to this muck and degradation. It was clear he is aware of that predicament and his decision to run under Kapatiran, which adheres to a strict code of ethics and party platform, is the natural choice.

Ang Kapatiran at first glance will leave most everyone the initial impression that it is a group of stubborn and narrow-minded, ultra conservative, "old school" senior citizens with a reactionary agenda. It is strongly Pro-God, anti-violence and anti-dishonesty. Describing the current leaders of the Party as "uncompromising" will be putting it in mild terms. I confess that I (one of the very few liberal Democrats in Oklahoma) have had some concerns about a number of positions that the Party has espoused but I accept the validity of the saying "the devil is wise because he is old". These are people with far greater experience who have in a sense seen it all. So whenever we discuss the platform I always bear in mind that I must always respect the seniority that they possess. This respect never fails to cast a calming effect on my youthful exuberance. So while I put on record that I agree without any reservations with all the core principles of the Party, I have some slight differences with a few "non-deal-breaker" issues.

I think that it is better to aspire for a perfect world rather than remain content in patching up our imperfect house.

The quote below validates the stand of Concerned Overseas Filipinos, who came up with an Open Letter on the Debate addressed to the senatorial candidates and sponsors that never got materialized. These senatoriables are so picky, while Ang kapatiran and their 3 candidates barely get any attention:

There have been quite a few editorials decrying the lack of intelligent discourse surrounding the senatorial race. This coming from a group that shuts out entities that have no money budgeted for "media operations". There is truly quite a gulf separating those who spend public money over those who spend hard-earned money. Even radio stations in the provinces now ask "permission" from Manila if they can conduct radio interviews with candidates coming from unheralded parties, permission that usually comes with a price.

Here we are, bursting with ideas yet confined to discussing our hopes and plans for the future with market vendors and waiting trisikad ( a tricycle-rickshaw) pedal pushers. We can't even break into the debates sponsored by wealthy business interests because they all seem to want to hear the same old garbage and promises that have protected the economic elites all these years. Don't they see that such a rotten system will keep us from fully developing as a nation?

This statement below truly speaks volumes on how he see the intrinsic goodness of Filipinos when transplanted in an orderly less corrupt society are basically hard working good citizens who follows the rules and are socially responsible. Unlike self absorbed cowards or ignoramuses believing in the defective Filipino DNA myth of old he dares say otherwise. While others hide their head in the sand he confronts the problem head on clearly pointing out the trapos who are the real cause and the ones responsible in our retrogression. Overseas Filipinos should take a hard look at this man on how he sees our sector, a true leader respecting his people as against pseudo-leaders who disdain and see their followers as inferiors dumb enough not to see their corrupt leadership:

For more than 20 years, Filipinos have participated in a controlled trial that isolates them in groups in various foreign lands and observed how they behave and interact in other environments. The conclusions are definitive: Filipinos work harder, follow rules, become more socially responsible and think about the future more often. So it is not in the Filipino. It is because our leaders have failed us. Political expediency has priority over moral principles. Case in point is the continuing obsession to become a "model debtor" nation and pay off every last cent of interest including those originating from odious loans. We are able to do this at the expense of the poor having even less social services, poorer education and crumbling infrastructure. This is the type of leadership that prioritizes looking good before the international bankers over widespread malnutrition in the countryside. We really must try something else because this leadership formula clearly is not working. If I may be allowed to dream for even a fraction of our overseas sisters and brothers to return and help redeem our prodigious national promise.

Indeed a statement like that truly endears him to us because it is a different statement from those we often hear from the whining Overseas Filipinos, who were born to complain and lament about everything wrong, even about their own failures to our “Filipino mindset,” thinking it will make them feel better or superior. Totally opposite from that lady that cheats…errr…has a seat by the Pasig River, who points the blame on our Filipinoness when she was in the thick of that Garci scandal. It is just so amazing how dense people get, we were not the ones who were involved in the cheating and here she is blaming us. Respecting and recognizing the goodness of Filipinos should be required of our leaders, for how else can they serve if they show contempt on the very people they are purported to serve? Martin is the man who gives us that hope and is the one who can lead his people in his journey; he alone will perish together with those who will sit idly watching by the sidelines. Together we can build a strong group of cohesive and vigilant supporters in our quest towards a new beginning that may bring this nation out of the basket case these traditional politicians has wrought upon us.

His view on politics is remarkable, very positive and on the right track for a man who is determined to make a difference, here is an excerpt from his blog:

Certainly not that it is improper to devote oneself to politics because politics is, in principle, immoral.

What follows is something else. Politics is an area of human endeavor that places greater stress on moral sensitivity, on the ability to reflect critically on oneself, on genuine responsibility, on taste and tact, on the capacity to empathize with others, on a sense of moderation, on humility. It is a job for modest people, for people who cannot be deceived.

Those who claim that politics is a dirty business are lying to us. Politics is work of a kind that requires especially pure people, because it is especially easy to become morally tainted. So easy, in fact, that a less vigilant spirit may not notice
happening it at all.

Politics, therefore, ought to be carried on by people who are vigilant, sensitive to the ambiguous promise of self-affirmation that comes with it.

I have no idea whether I am such a person. I only know that I ought to be, because I have accepted this office.

I have long ago lost faith in our electoral process and the kind of leaders that gets elected in a contest that is so fraudulent prone. We have experienced 2 edsa peaceful “uprising" deposing 2 presidents only to get dismayed and disappointed at the new leadership. Both of these leaders the people installed had one thing in common; they somehow distanced themselves from the very people that catapulted them to their unexpected rise to power. They came from the minority ruling eltite who as Martin described are old familiar names that has failed us. This election is once again dominated by the same familiar names products of the same old family names spending millions if not billions of peso to get elected, to do what exactly may I dare ask?

Martin Bautista unlike these “leaders” see the need of partnering with the people unfortunately a great many just don’t seem to get it. They want change but they can’t let go of the past personality type contest insisting on a campaign that typifies a personality based contest.

He needs vigilant supporters who will keep him on track because, in an environment where endemic corruption has become the norm, the possibility of falling out is enormous. Martin is up to the challenge and this is his decision (which is years in the making). The question is, are we up to it or do we prefer to whine and lament in desperation with our senseless excuses while relegating ourselves as the biggest losers in Asia as our neighbors progressively adapt and flourish in the new global reality? While we see so much posturing (feeling like and even comparing themselves to Jose Rizal and the propagandistas in their forced exile) among aspiring leaders in the Overseas Filipino community no one dared or has the guts to do what Martin is doing. He went home to challenge the trapos with all their might armed only with infectious idealism, nationalism, and honesty with sincerity and integrity to boot, how can you not support and follow this man in his journey for a better Philippines.

Related articles:
Ang kapatiran banking on Principle, Integrity & Honesty in the 2007 Election

Legislative Office a BIG Taxpayers Burden


Cyber Istambay received an email from Martin Bautista thanking this urot…errr…wanna be author in his response to my latest entry titled “Bautista Battles Trapos in ’07 Philippine Election which I reprint below:

To: Pedestrian Observer

From: Martin Bautista

Date: Apr 8, 2007 3:13 AM

Subject: Bautista Battles Trapos in ’07 Philippine Election

Maraming salamat. I am deeply grateful for the vote of confidence. People like you make it possible for me to face the formidable odds I wake up to every day. Many thanks. Please pray for me.

Martin Bautista

I wanted to reply in private and acknowledge his appreciation. But to do this without sharing my thoughts in public does not do justice to his noble leadership in showing us that there is still hope in our motherland.

I have not personally met Martin, his wife Sylvia and their wonderful children but from what I am seeing, along with the very positive feedback I get, Martin and his family truly deserves more than just a vote of confidence.

I am not a very religious person and I can count all the times I have prayed but this time around, I am not only praying for Martin but praying for our people to make a difference in our nation hoping they see the logic, impact and what it meant for our numbing decades of apathy to exuberance in wanting to be part of this historic electoral exercise.


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