"We have elected leaders who turned out to be corrupt and incompetent."
In less than a year, we will be choosing our next president and other national and local officials. Hopefully, it will be a free, fair, and honest election. Otherwise, suspicion will again fall on the Smartmatic machines of doing the electing instead of the electorate as alleged in the two previous presidential elections.
Most of the prospective candidates being mentioned are the usual suspects with some new faces. Former Senator Bongbong Marcos is one of them. It’s no secret that he has wanted to do this for a long time. Senator Panfilo Lacson is another who has not stopped dreaming of becoming president. For him, it will be the second time around. He even reinvented himself as a statesman and anti-graft crusader to be more electable. VP Leni Robredo who is the most natural candidate for the opposition apparently has not yet made up her mind. For one, she has expressed her preference for a local position. She also wants the opposition to field a single candidate against the administration to have a better chance of winning. But considering the number of people who want to be president, this will not be possible.
Then we have former Senator Antonio Trillanes, the number one critic of President Duterte. He has been itching for a presidential run. Senate President Tito Sotto who is himself presidential timber has opted instead on a vice presidential run. This is the same with Gibo Teodoro who lost in the 2010 presidential elections. Former Speaker and Senator Alan Cayetano is also hoping to run for president. The up-and-coming young Turks are Sara Duterte Carpio, Isko “Moreno” Domagoso, Senator Christopher Lawrence Go and Senator Manny Pacquiao.
None of them, however, have categorically stated that he or she would run. Mayor Sara Duterte Carpio said that she will not run and her father, the President, is opposed to it. Yet, he believes that his daughter is qualified to be president. Senator Go simply wants to serve the Dutertes in any capacity. Isko “Moreno,” other than making the observation that political positions cannot be inherited, is being coy about the idea of running for president. Senator Manny Pacquiao the self-made man has not said anything but his actions speak louder than words. Senator Grace Poe who has also been mentioned has taken her name out of consideration.
Other Senators like Cynthia Villar who was earlier mentioned as being interested have remained awfully quiet. It is possible that someone outside the political establishment will announce his intention to run like San Miguel’s Ramon Ang. Most if not all of them are known commodities. Some of them are progressives while others are centrists. I would say that there are more who are further to the right of the political divide. Whether they are the best there is, I leave that to the voters. We have had 16 presidents as models to base our choice on the type of leader we want. We can choose a leader like Marcos. Maybe a Cory Aquino or a Ramos type? Perhaps a man of the masses like Magsaysay. How about a mercurial leader like Quezon or a detached one like Osmena? It depends on the political inclination of the voters. Unlike other countries where voters swing to the right or left during elections, the culture in this country is to elect a leader whom we expect to lead us during bad or good times and we follow.
It is good if we hit a jackpot and elect a competent and honest president. Unfortunately, we have elected presidents who turned out to be corrupt and incompetent. One issue in the coming national election is the chance of a Duterte-Duterte tandem happening. If this happens, it will rattle and shake our entire electoral process. This is because of the legal and ethical questions being asked on whether a president who has just finished his term can run as vice president to his daughter. It’s an issue that should be settled before formal campaigning starts.
One thing sure that will happen after the May 2022 election is that we will be inaugurating another minority president as we have been doing since 1992. This is because of the number of candidates and we do not have a runoff election like many other countries. It is a weakness in our electoral system that should be addressed and corrected. Our president must always be elected by the majority of the electorate. This is because when a president wants to take the country to uncharted territory, that president will be confident that the majority of the electorate voted for him. We should not have a president wherein there were more people who did not vote for him than the people who voted for him. It does not make sense.