With Rodrigo Duterte dropping out of the presidential race (again), it’s back to a choice between the three early-announcers: current Vice President Jejomar Binay, former Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas, and Senator Grace Poe.
Again a void is left where a differentiated candidate is desperately needed. An increasing number of Filipinos can no longer stomach having to choose among candidates who offer nothing in the way of a vision for the Philippines’ future. One is seen to be hopelessly tainted by his crooked politics and the other two all but mirror the cringe-worthy sacrifice platform popularised by current President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III in 2010 and his mother back in 1986.
Sad indeed, the thought of a major country of 100 million being governed by one of this pathetic lot.
Is there any chance another candidate who is different will emerge from the Philippines’ political woodwork? Key to assessing that prospect lies in an understanding of how Filipino think collectively. The trouble is we seem to be expecting a candidate with original ideas to be appreciated by an unoriginal people. Filipino voters seem to remain stuck in the old familiar mindset that paves the way for the same sorts of politicians to climb the popularity ladder — which is probably the reason presidential debates do not work.
Imagine a debate amongst the three remaining candidates Binay, Roxas, and Poe. Just thinking about it could already kill half your brain cells. There’s just nothing to work with. It’s almost as if these three bozos have colluded to ensure no one of them issue any form of compelling platform that is about the future to keep the idea of such a debate out of the popular awareness.
Duterte could have been the catalyst for such an interesting debate. Because he is the only one who will have put forth a strong viewpoint on fundamental governance principles, he could have forced his three rivals to step up to a competitive arena where thinking is actually required. Without him, there is only the three outdoing one another’s “sacrifice” and one-upping one another’s “honesty”, with nothing to pull them out of that comfy zone of traditional populist pandering. Zzzzzz…
Filipinos need to prove to the world that they deserve better than President Binay, Roxas, or Poe. They should gather the resolve to show that they are ready for a real leader and not just someone who will feed off their Jesus Christ complex.
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