Template for choosing the next president

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez (The Freeman) - April 5, 2021 - 12:00am

The next president should be brilliant and wise because huge decisions have to be made. But brilliance without a pure heart may end up like a dictatorship or plundering the nation's wealth by corruption or robbing us of democracy via martial law. A pure heart would be dangerous if not backed up by wisdom, courage, and strength of character. But all these are nothing if the next president is not action-oriented, experienced, bold, and willing to take risks.

We have had no less than 16 presidents from 1898 to 2021, from Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo to Rodrigo Duterte, and thus we should be wiser by now. If after we do not learn from the monumental errors of our forefathers, in the last 123 years, then we shall be condemned to repeat the same mistakes, over and over again. It defies human logic that we, Filipinos seem never able to learn. Exactly, 399 days from today, or on May 9, 2022, we shall be electing the 17th Philippine president again. And the deadline for the filing of candidacy will be on October 8, 2021, or barely 186 days from now. We should prepare for these days so that we shall be able to choose the best among the choices, and also hope that the alternatives will at least have our minimum requirements. I have studied the characters of all 16 presidents, and I am ready to offer a formula for choosing the 17th head of state and head of government.

General Emilio Aguinaldo was only 28 when he proclaimed himself president, after a controversial election in the Tejeros Convention, where the Cavite-based Magdalo faction of the Katipunan outsmarted, outwitted, and outplanned the Magdiwang group from Tondo led by the Katipunan's founder and supremo, Andres Bonifacio. Aguinaldo was not elected through a national election but elected by a small group of warriors, without representation from Visayas and Mindanao. The next president Manuel L. Quezon, was elected nationally in 1935. He was brilliant, patriotic, bold, and honest. But he cursed a lot and had a very palpable weakness for women. Jose P. Laurel, who was never elected but installed by the Japanese, was so brilliant that he was the only one who was a legislator and a Supreme Court justice; he was part of all the three branches.

Don Sergio Osmeña was more brilliant than Quezon and Laurel but he was too meek and not aggressive. He was outsmarted by Manuel Roxas, a Bar topnotcher from Capiz, who was too pro-American that he signed the Laurel-Langley Agreement and the US bases treaty. Elpidio Quirino from Ilocos was too mired with corruptions. He was defeated by his own defense secretary, Ramon Magsaysay, who was the most loved but stayed in office too briefly. He died at age 49. Carlos P. Garcia, Bohol's pride, was the opposite of Roxas. He pushed for the Filipino First policy and austerity program. Diosdado Macapagal was very poor, honest, and very brilliant. He was the opposite of his daughter, GMA. Ferdinand Marcos was the most brilliant but the most controversial. Cory was very honest but very naive. FVR was all action and all selling of government properties including Fort Bonifacio. We know Erap, the college dropout who was ousted by GMA.

Pinoy was very inept, lazy, and was too vindictive. He caused the ouster of Chief Justice Corona who decided to distribute Hacienda Luisita to the tenants. President Duterte had all the grandiose plans but he chose the wrong people and used indecent language, arrogant and high-handed approaches, and faces a lot of human rights issues. My template therefore is to choose one with the brains of Quezon, Laurel, and Macapagal, the heart of Magsaysay, Osmeña, Garcia, and Cory, the action orientation of Aguinaldo and FVR. We should be learned by now.

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