Time and again we have been choosing our leaders among the “least evil”, and we settle for the “less corrupt”. We thought our choices were enough, and so we go out and exercise our right to suffrage believing that we have done our duty like we should, faithful to the sanctity of the ballot.

Then not long after, even before the first year of the new government was over, we start to doubt if we have committed a grave mistake in installing to power the person in whom we put our faith, someone who has become the anti-thesis of the person we thought we knew.

When President Rodrigo Duterte declared Marawi “liberated from terrorists influence”, was he sure? It seems that his certainty hangs in thin air like the heavy smog in the metropolitan, never ever lifting, always suspended and heavy in the lungs, and in the thoughts of the Filipinos.

Marawi is a sad parody of compassion, a grotesque exercise of “correcting historical injustice”, which the President repeatedly vowed to do during election time when he was making promises left and right.

I was touched with his seeming show of humility when he met with militant groups after he was installed in Malacañang, and even when the Lapanday workers trooped to the seat of power to present their situation to him and he promised to do something about their problems.

But each day since he surrounded himself with military personalities, he became remote and distant from the people. He no longer deem it necessary to consult and hear the small voices of the powerless. He had slowly turned suspicious of everyone outside that circle bearing arms.

He had once said that he was not comfortable with the presence of the PSG surrounding him all the time. He even quipped that he could not shake them off like he wanted to, feeling restricted and perhaps constrained.

Of course everyone understands the situation of a president, especially during that time when he was mounting his anti-drug campaign and was literally shooting every which way, including those “high and mighty” in government service who were lording it over their constituents and entrenching themselves and their families in power for decades.

Such is the consequence of being the highest official of the land. He might be looked at as the most “powerful” as he can just make decrees accordingly even if such decisions could be detrimental to all and sundry. But for many, he has since been the weakest link to humanity.

His rants have become so predictable and detestable that whenever he starts mouthing it on air, many would just change channel. Who cares about your anger, shaming, curses and cusses? I am fed up. I don’t want to listen to your distasteful discourses anymore.

If you have nothing good to say, don’t say anything at all.

The Dalai Lama have said it succinctly: “Since patience or tolerance comes from an ability to remain steadfast, to avoid being overwhelmed by adverse situations or conditions, we should not see patience as a sign of weakness or giving in, but rather as a sign of strength. Responding to a trying situation with patience and tolerance rather than reacting with anger and hatred involves active restraint, which arises from a strong, self-disciplined mind.”

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