Rodrigo Duterte is the first mayor to be elected president of the country and it will not be a surprise if two city mayors will aspire to succeed him.
One mayor from the south, who has little to show in accomplishments, wants the position handed to her in a silver platter. She inherited her position when she first became mayor in 2010, courtesy of her father who ruled the city with an iron fist, terrorizing the people with his own private army of former rebels and local policemen.
All her life she never experienced hardship in life, growing up in luxury and power as her father was in power from 1986 as appointed vice mayor.
She only knew one thing to remain in power – brutality, learnjng from her father and displaying it when she pummeled a court sheriff who was carrying out a court order to demolish shanty towns. She was not helping poor urban dwellers because she was protecting her votes.
In 2013, she slid to vice mayor because her father reclaimed the position but returned in 2016 when her father made history by becoming the oldest and first Mindanao politician to be elected president.
She will attempt to become het father’s successor next year, riding on her father’s popularity as well as Aaaalthe administration’s funds and machinery, an advantage in the time O the pandemic.
She is also supported by the country’s big politicians who have dark pasts – Joseph Estrada, convicted plunderer; Gloria Arroyo, who was perceived to have stolen the elections in 2004 and was also linked to corruption issues. Of course she also has ties with the children of the country’s greatest thief – dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
She has, in fact, taken advantage of her father’s position to move around the country to campaign early even if there are restrictions. Sino ang magba-bawal sa kanya?
In her absence, the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in her city had set a spike, making it among eight high-risk areas in the country.
The city’s only claim to fame is the artificial law and order but it lagged behind in education, health and other services.
Another mayor from the capital region could challenge her. He rose to his position defeating two old and traditional politicians – a movie action hero and a crime fighter in the mold of Duterte.
He has humbled beginnings, struggled in life until the silver screen lifted him from poverty, went to school and had trained from the old politicians as city councilor and vice mayor for many years.
After winning in 2019, he went to work, giving the decaying capital a much needed facelift and proving he can govern a populous city.
Who do you think will become the country’s next leader? A mayor who did not struggle in her life and inherited her position or a mayor who rose from poverty and has proven his skills and experienced as an administrator?
(Editor’s Note: Manuel Mogato is a professor, respected Filipino journalist and only the second Philippines-based Filipino to win the prestigious Pulitzer Prize after Carlos P. Romulo in 1942.)