At the rate senators are mouthing absurdities, rationalizing the return of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) or the mandatory physical military training in college has become an act of sheer idiocy.

The justification always given – to instill love of country – has become a favorite euphemism among lawmakers even if their personal lives do not reflect that. The BMW motorcycle-riding (maximum posh prize of P2.995 million) Bato dela Rosa is hell bent about it. Win Gatchalian, whose family is said to be behind Altai Philippines Mining that ravaged mountainsides in Sibuyan Island from nickel ore mining (total extraction area: 1.580 hectares), is financing the Pulse Asia surveys, the latest of which has even increased in favorable percentage.

Last year in July, the Senate website released the report that 69% of Filipinos agree to the proposed implementation of ROTC in senior high school. That would put 6 out of 10 Filipinos are in favor. Gatchalian commissioned Pulse Asia for that survey. This week, that number has been superseded.  Gatchalian has commissioned another survey, asking the question: Do you agree or disagree with the proposal to make ROTC mandatory again for all college students?

Gatchalian’s latest Pulse Asia adventure showed a rising number. Now, 78% agreed to bring back mandatory ROTC, with 43% saying they strongly agree and 35% saying they somewhat agree. That would put 8 out of 10 Filipinos in favor.

Demographic scientists asking for an opinion poll among an affected percentage of the population will resort to a targeted survey population. In which case, the targeted respondents could have been youth about to enter or are already in senior high school and youth enrolled in college. Pulse Asia did not do that.

Now comes another shocker from Dela Rosa: even foreign students enrolled in colleges in the Philippines will be made to undergo ROTC. He clarifies that there will be a specialized program for students with disabilities, those whose religious beliefs prohibit the use of firearms, those who have been convicted by final judgment of crimes involving moral turpitude and foreign students. The specialized program includes modules like the basic ROTC program except for physical military training. Ironically, this was posted in the portal The Post (“The Philippine Online Student Tambayan”).

Dela Rosa reasons in his usual bigotry: “Majority rules. We live in a democratic country. I know that only a few students disagree, especially those identified with the Left. They are really against that and we know that.”

As is usual for Dela Rosa, contending that being critical of government is being leftist, is an ingredient for fascism.

Mark Welson Chua did not have to be a leftist. He had seen practices of corruption, bribery and extortion in the ROTC unit of the University of Santo Tomas. In 2001, he went to the school publication Varsitarian to have the anomalies exposed. His fellow ROTC cadets killed him, his body wrapped in a carpet and thrown into the Pasig River. Cloth tied with packing tape covered his head, his hands and feet bound by shoelaces, perhaps from the boots of ROTC officers.

Employing the logic of Dela Rosa, Rodrigo Duterte was a leftist. “Pu__ng ina itong ROTC.” Duterte did an act of corruption. He had a tuberculosis test result falsified to make another patient’s record his own. He presented the piece of fake news to his ROTC school office. He was promptly exempted.

Mandatory ROTC will cost us taxpayers P61.2 billion each year. Sara Duterte has said the Department of Education could only build new classrooms this year with a budget of only P15.6 billion. The gargantuan ROTC budget can build 24,480 classrooms. The current DepEd backlog of 91,000 classrooms can be more than met in four years of the ROTC budget.

Question: Once ROTC is enacted into law, how many exemptions will be granted to children of senators, congressmen, mayors, governors, and families in high places? Expect a thousand and more Rodrigo Dutertes. Corruption in the Philippines is the most creative cottage industry in the whole world. How much of that P61.2 billion will really go to ROTC?