The next president

"Filipinos will look forward to a new kind of leader –decent, competent, pro-poor and pro-inclusion and one who can handle the two major crises of our lifetime."

The next president of the Philippines is another Duterte – Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte Carpio. She is the feisty daughter of the incumbent, Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

The company that discovered that Sara is the frontrunner for president of the Philippines in 2022 is Pulse Asia, which conducted a November 2020 survey, 18 months before the May 2022 presidential elections.

If you recall, Pulse Asia is the same survey company that reported in September 2020 that President Duterte had a job approval and trust rating of a whopping 91 percent. In September 2020, COVID-19 had sickened 286,715 and killed 5,000. By January 2021, 500,000 Filipinos would fall ill to COVID with 10,000 of them dying. And you cannot blame Duterte, judging by Pulse Asia’s trends.

The 91-percent stupendous rating made Digong Duterte the most popular and most trusted leader of a major nation on earth, and in all of history, except for Adolf Hitler, Saddam Hussein, and Muammar Khadaffy during their time in power.

In the United States, the most popular post-War president was John F. Kennedy (1961-1963). JFK had a job approval rating of just 70.1 percent, 20 points lower than Duterte’s peak rating.

JFK promised to send a man to the moon in ten years. Duterte promised to finish all the drug lords in ten months. NASA kept JFK’s promise. PDEA or PNP, or whoever was in charge with the drug killings, did not keep Duterte’s promise. Still, after the president’s 51 months in office, Filipinos, according to Pulse Asia, gave Duterte a 91 percent job approval and trust rating. Could it be that Pulse Asia was wrong?

Wrong or not, Pulse Asia is glorifying another Duterte, Sara.

If the presidential elections were held in November 2020, the runaway winner would be Sara. She would garner 26 percent of the votes cast.

Poor second are former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and incumbent Senator Grace Poe, with identical 14 percent share of the vote. A respectable third is Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko” Domagoso, 12 percent, followed by boxing champion, Senator Manny Pacquiao, 10 percent. Vice President Leonor “Leni” Robredo is a distant sixth, with 8 percent, followed by an even more distant Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, 4 percent.

There is no mention of my favorite candidate and tycoon, Ramon S. Ang, the top honcho of San Miguel Corporation, the nation’s largest company, which has more retail outlets, over one million sari-sari stores, than any other Philippine company.

About this time or 18 months before the May 2016 presidential elections, Rodrigo Duterte also had zero rating in the survey. Nobody knew coarse-talking Digong, per the Pulse Asia survey of November 2014.

Yet, the candidate rated zero in 2014 went on to win the election of 2016. Duterte bagged 39.01 percent of the vote. He defeated Mar Roxas who had 23.45 percent (he was No. 6 in the 2014 survey with 6 percent); and Grace Poe, 21.39 percent. She was No. 2 in the 2014 survey, with 18 percent. The frontrunner in the 2014 survey with a commanding 26 percent, Jojo Binay, ended up No. 4 with a humiliating 12.73 percent share of the vote.

It is still anybody’s game in the 2022 presidential elections. By the first half of 2021, people would have been so fed up and tired with Rodrigo Duterte’s antics and the colossal incompetence of his Cabinet and his beloved generals amid the greatest existential crisis in the lives of Filipinos in 100 years, they would not want another Duterte to succeed him.

Denied a confidence-inspiring vaccine and denied a credible long-term plan to cope with the pandemic and the worst economic crisis in three generations, Filipinos will be looking forward to a new kind of leader –decent, competent, pro-poor and pro-inclusion and one who can handle the two major crises of our lifetime. Also, it has never happened in Philippine history that an incumbent president, no matter how good, was succeeded immediately by his own son or daughter. It took Gloria Macapagal Arroyo 36 years before she could succeed her own father as president. Diosdado Macapagal was president from 1961 to 1965.

Now, can Ramon Ang maneuver a zero to 30 percent rating in 18 months? Maybe Pulse Asia can work wonders with its numbers. After all, it has made Duterte a saint, in a pantheon, a rung below the angels and the best in class.

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Topics: Tony Lopez , The next president , Davao City Mayor , Sara Duterte Carpio , Pulse Asia , 2022 presidential elections
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