Similarity in voter’s preference
INTROSPECTIVE - Tony Katigbak (The Philippine Star) - January 26, 2016 - 9:00am

As our elections draw near the race heats up, but oddly enough, despite the campaign circus swirling around us, for many voters there seems to be no clear choice and no real frontrunner in the race to the presidency. Oddly enough, that is not only a problem here in the Philippines, but in the United States as well. It’s ironic in a way that a country that we, in many ways, look up to and emulate is suffering from the same election woes that we are in right now. Price of democracy I suppose.

In either case, the US presidential race is heating up and it’s almost frightening to see how a candidate like Donald Trump is getting the edge. He honestly seems like a downright lunatic to me and I often find myself wondering what people are seeing in him. His tirades against immigrants and those not of “pure American” ancestry is ludicrous and seems almost like rally talks from World War II Germany. And yet, people are listening and applauding his ideas on making “America great again.”

Honestly, the race for presidency in the United States is almost as convoluted and full of twists and turns as the one we have right here at home. What people once thought were “sure bets” are looking a bit shaky these days and those that seemed like a “long shot” at best are now becoming scarily strong. At this point it’s becoming hard to predict which candidates will win the nomination and eventually the whole enchilada.

In fact, it’s become so convoluted that former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is coming very close to throwing his hat into the race as an independent candidate. News is, he is asking aides to explore his possible bid and find out what it would take for him to win. It’s no secret that Bloomberg, who started the media company that bears his name, has long contemplated a run at the White House. And now, with the unlikely rise of Donald Trump and the problems Hillary Clinton is facing, he seems closer than ever to entering the race.

At this point, he has retained consultants and several aids to map out a political roadmap for him should he push through with his bid. He’s commissioned polls to test his path to victory and is carefully weighing his options. He certainly has the wealth and fame to help him should he push through, however, no independent candidate has ever won a presidential race. I suppose there could always be a first time though. I guess we’ll have to wait and see if he finally enters the ring.

Personally, I feel that despite her early loss in Ohio, Hillary will still most likely end up on top of the Democratic Party list for President. She could very well be the first woman president of the United States and, like her predecessor, President Barack Obama, carve out several firsts for the country. Again, it’s still too early to tell though and in a presidential race, anything can happen at any given moment.

As for us here in the Philippines, a lot can also still happen in our own election race. In the Philippines, I personally think one of our best candidates is also a woman. I have been supporting Congresswoman Leni Robredo in her vice presidential run and despite facing some tough opposition from seasoned political rivals for the post, I think she can easily surge in the homestretch against Senators Chiz Escudero and Bongbong Marcos.

I think Leni will get the votes from the Bicol region and several other provinces that are vocally trying to unite in support of her. Much like her late husband, Jesse Robredo who won handily in Naga City due to his humility, honesty, and integrity as secretary of DILG, I think Leni’s compassionate character and honest attitude are shining through.

There is no doubt that should Leni win she will carry on the torch of Jesse’s inclusive way of politics and his humble way of living. She is certainly hardworking and it’s easy to see how much she cares for the Filipino people and for the country, a trait that seems to be sorely lacking in so many politicians who only seem to care for themselves these days. Who knows, if she plays her cards right we may not only see her in the Vice President’s chair but maybe even one day in Malacañang.

I already stated in former columns that I am for a Ro-Ro tandem in this coming election. Based on what I have heard and seen I truly believe it’s the best choice. Of course, once again, the beauty of democracy will give Filipino citizens the right to choose who they think the best leader for our country will be so it’s really tricky to predict who will come out ahead. I guess we can only vote wisely and hope for the best.

* * *

Pope Francis, who visited us right after the Yolanda tragedy, has publicly affirmed that 2016 is the Jubilee Year of Mercy. This is a very poignant topic for everyone as mercy is a very wide and encompassing mandate that can help the numerous faithful around the world in so many ways. Indeed Pope Francis is one of the most admired people in the world today and the beloved head of the Catholic Church. His admirers spread far beyond the Vatican’s shores and he has, in many ways, brought so many back to the church with his compassionate and inspirational leadership.

Personally I think there is no better shepherd to guide us to mercy than our Pope now. And the best part is, not only is he compassionate, but he is also smart and understands the problems of the world today such as climate change and the plight of immigrants and the poor. I pray that our Pope will remain healthy and live long so that all of us can continue to learn from his example and the lessons he has taught us.

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