(First part of a series)
“Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.
In the world’s broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!
Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,- act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o’erhead!”
– From A Psalm of Life by Henry
Presidential elections are like wars. The choice and the result is a matter of life and death for the people and the country. So every voter should be very serious and think deeply of his choice of who should become President of the country for six years from July 1, 2022 to July 1, 2028. If the voters commit a mistake and choose the wrong candidate to be President, it would mean six years of suffering for our people.
Prospective candidates: At this time, who will run or will not run for President of the country is a guessing game. Your guess is as good as mine. No matter what politicians say in this country, you have to read not between the lines but between the lies – as a rule The reason for this is lying is a habit among traditional politicians in this country and ninety-nine percent are traditional politicians.
That is despicable but it is virtually an undisputable fact. In this light, the question maybe asked – who are the probable candidates for President? Based on their statements and behavior, it is not far fetch to suppose that the following are ambitioning to run for President – Mayor Sara Duterte of Davao City who is the daughter of the incumbent President, Senator Manny Pacquiao who is an inimitable boxing champion, Senator Panfilo Lacson who was PNP Chief, Vice-President Leni Roberto who by virtue of her current position is expected to throw her hat into the ring, Mayor Isko Moreno who appears to love limelight always being a movie star, Mayor Richard Gordon who is distinguished in his achievements as Chairman of the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) and controversial Chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, Former Senator Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. who is the heir to the throne of President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos, Former Senator Antonio Trillanes who is known for being a putchist and staunch critic of President Duterte; Senator Grace Poe who carries the torch of her father, silver screen super hero Fernando Poe, Jr. (FPJ); Professor Walden Bello who has a left of center program and the X-Factord in the game.
There are others who are also ambitioning to run for President – at best, creatures who are hallucinating and at worst nuisances, both per se and per accident.
Observations: These are comments on the prospective candidates as of this writing. Let’s begin with Mayor Sara Duterte. With or without the help of surveys, trolls or paid hacks Sara is the leading contender for several reasons – the whole machinery of the Duterte government, funds, political machinery and personal attraction.
Successful candidacy for the presidency or for any office for that matter needs these components. Without these elements, you might as well bleach in the sand – getting a good tan which enhances attraction to the opposite sex.
Should Sara decide to run, I think, President Duterte will stand down. He will give way to his daughter. In the test of wills, the President is no match to her daughter. As I said before, President Duterte is a character while Mayor Sara Duterte has character. Digong is a narcissist but I seriously contend love of daughter will prevail over narcissism.
What does government machinery mean? It means – police, military, Comelec, teachers, treasurers, board of canvassers, appointive and elective officials. It’s the whole shebang. It is formidable – almost impregnable. And that’s what Mayor Sara has on her side. What does fund means? It means – mobility, advertising, propaganda and fuel for the whole campaign machinery. Political machinery means the organizational network throughout the country.
Personal attraction means – easy on the eyes, easy to sell, easy to get along with, each to approach, strong commitment to service to the poor and alienated, focused on the work to do, experience in governance with visible results, good communicator, relatively young and an intelligent lawyer. These could pack a wallop for a candidate and may not be easy to contend with by her opponents.
No easy sailing: Her political assets are formidable but not impregnable. She has also political liabilities not of her own making but related to the Duterte family. While her father, President Duterte, is a great asset because of his control of the government and his fanatics, her major liability is also her father, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte who, to objective observers, is one of the worst, if not the worst, Presidents this country ever had comparable to Cory Aquino, Erap Estrada,, Gloria Arroyo and Benigno Aquino III..
Add to that is his brother, Congressman Paolo Duterte, who is suspected of being a member of an international illegal drug ring and perceived by others as a rice smuggler, Sara will not also be able to escape questions about his lawyer husband involving his transactions with government and powerful business empires in the country.
So running for the presidency will not be a walk in the park.
Handling: To contain the campaign problems, Sara has to do certain things decisively. First, she must tell her father, President Duterte, to operate behind the scene to consolidate government and party support. Second, tell her brother, Paulo, and her husband not to be visible to media in the course of the campaign. Third, a solid program of action that is easily understandable to the electorate and the people. Fourth, show that she is her own person – not a stalking horse for the President and his failed administration. Fifth, present a powerhouse ticket as well as prospective members of the Cabinet. Sixth, show that she has got what it takes to be President – refined in language and behavior, firm in her commitments to the people and the country, display of good character coupled with integrity, and responsive to questions by media, local and international, as well as the inquiries of the people.
If she can do all these, the road to the presidency will not be as difficult as President Duterte paints it to be. . It is difficult to be President, if you don’t know how. It is difficult be President, if you consider the office a burden, instead of an opportunity for service If she feels it is difficult to be President and it is a burden, she should immediately stop thinking and running to become President.
Postscript: In trying publicly to dissuade her daughter to run for President, Digong said he does not want her daughter to suffer the travails of the presidency which he continues to suffer. That maybe an expected advice of a father One of the greatest boo boos of Duterte’s presidency is his statement that a woman is unfit to be President. Look who is talking!
But credit this President Duterte statement to ignorance and lack of reading. Some of the greatest leaders in the world today are women – Angelica Merkel of Germany, Jacinda Anders of New Zealand, Kamala Harris and Nancy Pelosi of the United States of America, and Ursula Van Der Leyden of the European Commission. In the past, there were great women leaders like Margaret Thatcher of Great Britain, Golda Meir of Israel and Sirimavo Bandaraike of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) President Duterte should not belittle women leaders in the world. Frankly, all these women leaders are a thousand times better than President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.
President Duterte’s redeeming factor is his daughter, Mayor Sara Duterte. If Sara, by the blessings of Providence and destiny, becomes President, my humble view is – she will certainly exceed a thousand times her father, President Duterte, and our women Presidents, Cory Aquino and Gloria Arroyo as well as the presidential pygmies, Erap Estrada and Benigno Aquino III., in terms of performance and achievements as well as honoring the country and the presidency.