With four days to go before the elections, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s political enemies are still throwing everything, including the kitchen sink, at him, hoping to thwart his presidential bid. Senator Trillanes has once again come up with a lot of documents which purport to show multi-billion peso transactions in two bank accounts of the mayor in the Bank of the Philippine Islands branch along Julia Vargas Avenue in Pasig City.
Senator Trillanes is good in coming out with so-called bombshells as he did with Vice President Jejomar Binay. More disturbing, however, is the sanctity of our bank secrecy law which is turning out to be not-so-secret after all. Every time there is someone whose reputation has to be destroyed, detailed bank accounts and transactions appear. Remember the case of the late Chief Justice Renato Corona? During his impeachment trial, his bank accounts were paraded and dissected in the Senate even if those involved in the impeachment trial knew very well that illegally obtained evidence cannot be used in trial. The lame excuse was that impeachment trials are political in nature and therefore different.
Now, Corona is dead but the story of his ouster by the Aquino administration must not end with his passing. There are many things that this administration will have to answer for and the next administration should make this issue one of its priorities. As one acquaintance who is in know about the inner workings of this administration blurted out, the prosecution of Corona and others were done just to mask the crimes that this administration is committing.
Hopefully, the next administration will also take a second look at Corona’s impeachment trial to right a wrong done to a man, even if he has already passed away. The impeachment was a total miscarriage of justice. As to the documents obtained by Senator Trillanes, it is difficult to imagine that this was done without the knowledge or collusion of the bank management. The good senator says that it was given to him by someone he hardly knew at all. As is customary with him, he did not bother to investigate deeper before splashing documents in the news.
It is turning out to be a dud but it has now put the front runner clearly on the defensive. Whether this will eventually hurt Mayor Duterte’s presidential bid, we cannot say.
We will simply have to wait for the results. That is if some invisible power will not interfere and decide on someone other than the front runners to win the elections. The prospect of a Mayor Duterte victory seems to be affecting our
financial market. The stock market is down, the peso also has gone down while other currencies in the region have appreciated. Perhaps, the financial market is reacting too much with the language of the mayor which can be really scary to people who do not know him that well. But people who are close to him swear that he is a very different person in private.
Still, powerful figures in this country both in government and in business who are simply too scared of a Duterte presidency are doing everything in their power to derail what many believe is the inevitable. To these people, my humble counsel to them is that the people are entitled to choose the leader that they want. That is, after all, what democracy is all about. No country, no group of people claiming to know better have the right to second guess the collective wisdom of the people and prevent them from choosing the kind of leader they want. Remember that our country has been having elections since 1907. That is 109 years of democratic experience and is arguably the oldest in Asia. If it is Mayor Duterte that voters want, so be it. If it turns out to be different, that is also perfectly all right so as long as it is not the result of machinations of people or other entities who only want to protect their vested interests.
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The vice presidential race is also turning out to be as colorful as the six candidates contend for second highest position of the land. This may be partly because of the name of Marcos who up to this time is the front runner. Leni Robredo of the Liberal Party, however, has emerged as a close second to Bongbong Marcos. Leni Robredo is a first-term congresswoman and the widow of the hugely popular secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government, the late Jesse Robredo. No one gave her an iota of a chance when the campaign started but has over taken her fellow Bicolanos and has a legitimate chance of winning. She is doing a lot better than her principal, Mar Roxas.
This is perhaps because of her humility and candidness. Unlike Mar Roxas who cannot utter a single word that would put his benefactor Aquino in bad light, Leni Robredo is able to say that there are many things that she would have wanted the Aquino administration to have done better. Her simplicity also is resonating with the voters. She is now giving Bongbong Marcos a run for his money. As she said, it could really be that the last man standing will be a woman. My thinking is that if there will be election manipulation on Monday as many believe, that this will be done in the presidential race and not the vice presidential contest. To this, I say—may the best man or woman win.