by Ysabelle Jayco
We can all agree that Ina Montecillo (portrayed by Ms. Ai-Ai Delas Alas) is one of the funniest characters in Filipino cinema, thanks to her inside jokes and kasabihans. She is 99% the reason why Ang Tanging Ina N’yong Lahat, the third installment in the Tanging Ina series by Wenn V. Deramas, is a classic in the mainstream film industry.
Without any background from Law or big-time political affiliations, Ina Montecillo became our fictional President in 2008. The film tackled a single mom of 12 children who became the President of the Philippines. The movie may seem a comedic portrayal of the ins and outs of a president’s job, but in an ideal world, a Prezzo like Ina Montecillo is the leader our country needs.
Unlike other well-known politicians, Ina came from the exploited working class
Political dynasties are the norm in the Philippines, with government positions seemingly handed down from father to son like in a monarchy. Ina is unique since she’s one of the rare few who knows the real plight of the masses.
Throughout the whole series, we’ve seen Ina become a ‘konduktor ng bus’, construction worker, bar entertainer, jobs she undertook after the untimely deaths of her husbands. These opened her eyes to the hardships of raising children in a system that fails to compensate its workforce properly.
These experiences became part of her drive to be a president who knew the real plight of the masses.
She genuinely wants to help
Being pro ‘masa’ is an overused angle used by many politicians. While others are only as good as their slogans, Ina Montecillo is genuine in being a woman of the people.
One of her political tactics involved making ordinary citizens her Cabinet members so she could have a pulse on the plight of the people. Another is enacting the “Magtanim Ay ‘Di Biro Act,” where she gave out land properties from subdivisions to poor Filipino farmers.
Now, the party poopers out there would say that it’s impractical in real life – and it is – but we’ll take a Magsaysay 2.0 over politicians claiming to care about the neglected masses while sitting in their ivory towers any day.
She has excellent diplomacy skills
Newsflash: don’t cuss out your allies. While foreign relations are far from perfect, being civil is still the best option. It’s not ideal to call a country’s former Prezzo a ‘son of a whore’, only to do a 180 and ask for vaccine aid a few years later.
Ina Montecillo recognized the value of diplomacy when she summoned rain for an Arab nation for lower oil prices. Again, completely-freaking-ridiculous, but at least she acknowledges that the average Filipino’s welfare comes first, not her personal feelings or prejudiced stances.
She has the decency to resign when she becomes incapable
Even if they are incompetent, your average politician would only leave their position if a) they are convicted by something or b) if the people have them deposed.
But Ina had the decency to resign from her post when she felt she couldn’t balance her mom and president duties. She eventually handed her position to her Vice President. Props to her for recognizing her limitations and being humble enough to defer to someone she believes is more able.
Ang Tanging Ina N’yong Lahat might be a comedy, but Ina Montecillo is a reflection of every Filipinos’ ideal presidential candidate. While her qualities border on the impossible, it wouldn’t hurt for our next President to at least have her core values.
Ask yourself, is your bet truly capable of representing and caring for the masses? Or are they just another politician who seeks power for their interests? A leader should run for the people, not the grand promises of power, or the chance to dictate history.
And as a voter, we are the ones who can change our future; we are the ones who will eradicate traditional political manipulations. We all deserve better.
Filipinos deserve a President like Ina Montecillo.
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