"The tragic thing, however, is that we will once again have a minority president."
The frequency of the country always ending up second to the last or dead last in international surveys is getting to be embarrassing. Surely, our leaders must have some pride left in them to want to do something about this instead of simply attacking the messenger. It is not only in education or COVID-19 response that we are lagging but also in a host of other issues.
Take the International Criminal Court investigation, for instance. There was a time in the not-too-distant past when the country was always up there in the totem pole. Now, it is always a struggle just to keep pace with our neighbors.
Where did we go wrong? There are no easy answers to this question. Ultimately however, it revolves around the quality of leaders that we have elected into public office. This is because they are the ones who set the tone and the direction that the country will take. How many leaders did we put in office since the fall of the late President Ferdinand Marcos that can be considered truly outstanding? With our sad experience with dictatorship, there are some leaders who unfortunately still believe that they are better than the system.
In the next several months, the nation will again go to the polls to elect our next president. This time, let’s hope that we can elect someone who can unify us all, move the country forward, and restore the country to respectability which is something we badly need.
After the filing deadline, six legitimate candidates will contest the presidency. Mayor Sara Duterte Carpio who has been topping the surveys filed for reelection instead of the presidency. It is hard to understand why she is not seeking the presidency considering that she has been leading in the surveys. Something must have happened between father and daughter that only they know which made her decide against running for president.
Of the six, only Senator Ping Lacson is running for president for the second time; he is the oldest. He is arguably the most experienced of the bunch. He has been in government service since 1967. He was a former PNP Chief and has been a senator for some time. He has made a name for himself as an anti-graft crusader in the Senate by forgoing his yearly allocated development funds. He has also successfully reinvented himself as a statesman.
Vice President Leni Robredo was thrust into politics due to the untimely death of her popular husband, DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo. First she was a congresswoman; and then she won the vice presidency. If she wins, she would be the third woman president of the country. Derided and ignored by her president, her office nonetheless has consistently been recognized by the Commission on Audit for diligently following all auditorial requirements. She has also shown abiding respect for our system of government which could be a foreshadow of things to come if she becomes president.
Former Senator Bongbong Marcos will have a chance to tangle with his nemesis, Vice President Leni Robredo, for the second time. We have to give him credit because in spite of what the Marcos critics are saying, he is still hugely popular in Northern Luzon, Eastern Visayas, Mindanao and a lot of other places. He even topped one recent survey proving that he can win.
Boxing icon Senator Manny Pacquaio has surpassed anything that any Filipino athlete has ever achieved before him. He has shown his ability to attract huge crowds and can claim the title of man of the masses. Whether he can win is what we will have to find out.
Then we have the City Mayor of Manila, former actor Francisco Domagoso popularly known as Isko Moreno. He is only in his first three-year term as mayor but started making waves as an action man upon assuming office. He is capitalizing on this to propel him to the presidency.
The sixth is Senator Bato de la Rosa who only found out that he was running for president two hours before he filed his COC. If Sara will not substitute as she already stated, the senator will have to continue. Whether he will be taken seriously by the voters is of course, another matter.
By the looks of it, this will be a hotly contested presidential election because all of them can potentially win. According to current polling, they are closely bunched together. Anything can therefore happen given that the election is still months away. Only Bato de la Rosa’s standing is unknown at the moment.
The tragic thing, however, is that we will once again have a minority president. Who will it be?