The past few weeks have shown how so many people want to be the president of this country. However, as the past six years have also demonstrated, not everyone is capable of being a good leader, no matter how well packaged and appealing they may be at first blush.
Gunning for the presidency in the upcoming 2022 elections are the following.
The first to formally throw their hats into the ring is the Ping Lacson-Tito Sotto tandem. Ping has been eyeing the presidency with a moist eye for many election cycles now, so his ambition makes sense. His chosen running mate, a former comedian turned politician, would seem to make a great VP because of how pliable he has been to whoever is in charge.
The other guy who wants to be president is the fighting Senator of the Philippines Manny Pacquaio. This exceptionally talented boxer who capitalized on his popularity to become Senator apparently wants to prove that he is more than that, so he wants to see if his popularity can take him to the next level. You can’t blame a guy who has been looking for one big fight after another to want to take on the biggest political fight of his life.
Then there is the sidelined Vice President Leni Robredo, the de facto leader of the severely weakened opposition who has shown a great reluctance to join next year’s Presidential derby. Leni has shown the country that she is capable of making a difference despite meager resources and no official responsibilities. She could’ve slacked off and acted like the spare tire that the constitution deems the Vice President to be, but she’s been busy as a bee, in the process constantly embarrassing the current administration’s mostly ineffective brand of service to the Filipino people.
Aside from Leni, former Senator and coup plotter Antonio Trillanes is one of the few people in this country who have been leading what is left the opposition against the Duterte administration. Trillanes is the government’s most vocal critic who has somehow neither been imprisoned nor conveniently linked to the drug trade or corruption. That is a great achievement in a country where accusations can be made without evidence and even those made of less stern stuff are left with no choice but to either keep their mouths shut for their own good, or go underground. The guy’s downsides are, aside from not being a very likeable fellow, he and Leni share the bailiwick.
Last, but not least, in the running to join the Presidential race are the Davao chapter, led by first daughter Sara and Duterte’s omnipresent Special Assistant cum part-time Senator Bong Go. We don’t know who will eventually run for president among these two but over the past six years awesome resources have been deployed to keep these two powerful personalities in the public eye. These kith and kin of President Rodrigo Duterte are the most logical successors to continue his special brand of change that has been imposed upon this country. They also have the biggest war chest and are not limited by scruples.
Waiting in the wings are other ambitious politicos like Bongbong Marcos, Dick Gordon, and Grace Poe, who could also throw their hats into the ring anytime. If there’s one thing this country does not lack, it would be the number of people wanting to run for president and the lesser number of votes needed to win an election plays into the hands of the team that has the most resources.
That’s a lot of people to choose from and to be honest, most are cut from the same ugly and boring mold. Among the current crop of candidates, my heart wants Leni to win because she is the only one who didn’t turn into a balimbing enabler at the first opportunity.What her little office that could has shown it could do with limited resources is also an impressive audition. However, my mind doubts if she can win given the lack of all-out support from people and institutions who fear the ruthless vindictiveness that can come to anyone who displeases the current dispensation. The smart and influential people in this country would surely like to keep their freedom or their businesses intact have understood the warning that came with the government’s treatment of Sen. Leila de Lima and ABS-CBN, making them pay the steep price of refusing to bend the knee and remain standing.
We need the coming elections to be as interesting as possible so we approach the deadline for filing of candidacies, we have to be open to any alliances that can be formed because that is the only way we can stop the change that came and set us back in terms of standards and expectations as a people and a country. We can continue dreaming of a slightly better future but with so much at stake, we also need to be realistic about the chances of our preferred candidates.*