Source: Benjamin Pimentel
INQUIRER.netFirst Posted 09:12:00 04/11/2010
CALIFORNIA, United States—Manny Villar is still campaigning to become the next Philippine president, but he’s already had an impact on a key public policy concern: Mental health.
For in a society where many people endure enormous psychological pressures, Villar just helped set back the efforts of those who want more Filipinos to come forward and seek help for these problems.
In a totally inappropriate—unpresidential—response to the controversy over the bogus report about Noynoy Aquino’s depression, Villar just told Filipinos dealing with mental illness that they should be ashamed of what ails them. That they should be embarrassed about seeking help.
The controversy itself is essentially about a journalistic fumble. The report has already been proven to be bogus, denied even by the professional who allegedly prepared the report.
Instead, Villar pressed on with what is essentially a bogus issue, daring Noynoy to take a psychological test.
“Noynoy cannot hide behind his claim to privacy because the mental state of anyone who aspires to be president or vice president is a matter of public concern,” Villar was quoted as saying in an Inquirer story. “There’s a far more dangerous scenario than the blind leading the blind, and that is for a mentally challenged person to lead a nation of millions.”
“The question is—can you (Aquino) outrightly say that you were never treated by a psychiatrist or psychologist, or never took medicines for that disease, or never smoked marijuana when you were young?”
Maybe its just part of Villar’s Tondo tough guy role-playing.
You can almost hear him saying, ‘Pare, kung wala ka talagang wengweng, tara pa-test tayo pareho! Dude, if you’re not really loony, let’s get tested!’
Totally without poise.
Contrast Villar’s reaction with that of then-Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s response to reports that vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s teenage daughter was having a baby.
Obama not only insisted that it was a private matter and was not going to go there. He also personalized his response by reminding the media that there was nothing inherently wrong or evil about a teenager having a baby. After all, his own mother had him when she was a teenager.
Beyond the issue of mental health, Villar also just tipped his hand on how he would react when pushed to a corner.
Polls show him losing ground. So what does he do? He latches on to a wild story that has already been proven to be a hoax.
In fact, the fact that the report was based on a clear bid to twist the truth about Aquino doesn’t seem to bother Villar.
Take Villar’s bizarre response to the point that Father Carmelo Caluag, the Ateneo official who supposedly wrote the report, has vehemently denied signing the report.
“On Father Caluag, his signature was the only one analyzed. The point is the content is more important (than the authenticity of the signature).”
So let me get this straight: If we then come across a document saying Villar suffers from delusions of grandeur, and is prone to violence and crooked behavior, and the document was signed by Villar’s wife, should the fact that she later denies saying such things not stop people from believing the wild allegations?
But most important of all is how this whole exchange could have affecting the way Filipinos in general view the issue of mental health.
It is a valid point that someone suffering from a psychological problem that has remained untreated should not perform specific roles, such as being president. However, someone who had such a problem, but who sought help and got treated should be commended, and should even be seen as a role model.
But Villar’s response is troubling in a society where there is so much stigma surrounding mental illness.
Imagine a Filipino overseas worker dealing with the pressures of having to be away from his or her family, or a young student struggling with the pressures of having to pass a test or to find a job after graduating, or a poor factory worker or farmer wrestling with an increasingly gloomy future for him and his family in a period of economic uncertainty?
One of the most prominent politicians in the nation, someone who may just become president, essentially just told them, ‘You can’t handle the pressure? You can’t deal with the mental strains? You want to help with all these problems? Too bad.’
WHAT A TOTAL STUPID MORON!! IN THE POST JUST BELOW THIS ONE, HE’S WHINING LIKE A SNIVELING LITTLE GIRL ABOUT MUDSLINGING AGAINST HIM, BUT IT’S OK FOR HIM TO ATTEMPT TO SLING MUD. GLAD IT BOUNCED BACK AND BIT HIM IN THE ASS.
AGAIN, MANNY VILLAR: FAIL!!Published in