Do we want another six years under Duterte?

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez (The Freeman) - June 22, 2021 - 12:00am

The lines I used to hear from my birdie in Malacañang is that the president is tired in the palace and cannot wait until he leaves office and go home to Davao. These last few weeks, however, the president said that the option of him running for president is a good idea. Well, only fools don’t change their minds, and he is no fool.

I used to hear him say he regrets running for president especially upon the advent of the pandemic. There simply are too many headaches to. These are simply too many serious pressures on the oldest man ever to be elected Philippine president. He used to say that running for the presidency was the worst mistake he ever committed, and he would much prefer a more restful, less-pressured daily routine. He would opt to go home. But today, there seems to be a complete change of mind. He would say there are far too many unfinished tasks.

What I used to hear and understand was that he loves his daughter so much that he doesn’t want her to be burdened by huge responsibilities. He wants his children to enjoy life and not experience what he did. But today, by his words and actions, he has accepted not only that possibility but even the strong probability of Sara, running, winning, and replacing him. An Sara presidency will complete the cycles of the Philippine presidency. GMA became president, following the footsteps of her late father, Diosdado, although they didn’t have the same political party. Pinoy followed the footsteps of his late mother, Tita Cory. Would Bongbong also follow the same track? The only difference is that Duterte will be alive in turning Malacañang over to Sarah. Presidents Diosdo Macapagal and Tita Cory were both deceased when their daughter and son, respectively, took office. In the US, this happened twice: first with John Adams and son, John Quincy Adams. Then George HW Bush, then son George Bush.

If you are happy with the last five years until today, then go for Sara. But whether it’s Sara or Bong Go who will run and win, you should be smart enough to know and to expect that they will just be symbolic and de jure, it will be a Digong presidency de facto. Digong will still call the shots. That administration will continue the policies on the war against drugs. They will not rejoin the International Criminal Court. They will not fully renew the Visiting Forces Agreement with the USA. The policy on human rights and the war against crimes and drugs will go on unabated. It will continue in the manner that they behave relative to the West Philippine Sea. Closer ties with China and Russia will continue and being distant from Washington will remain constant. If you approve of these, then go ahead. The same people will run the Cabinet, the San Beda lawyers (I am proud of San Beda), the Davao generals, and some friends from way back.

Philippine politics seems to be bleak and dreary. There aren’t too many better options. Leni Robredo is good, honest, and really has grassroots experience. But is she strong enough to make hard decisions? Can she stand up to Vladimir Putin, Joe Biden, and Xi Jinping? I’m not disparaging. Just asking. Manny Pacquaio has a pure heart and a lot of money. He is pro-poor, pro-labor, pro-Filipinos. He isn’t corrupt or lazy, he has no hang-ups on women (no more), gambling (no more), and drugs (never). But is he prepared to make difficult decisions on foreign affairs, national security, and the West Philippine Sea? Bongbong Marcos seems to be smarter but is he honest? Does he know the pains of the poor and the dispossessed, the victims of human rights during martial law? Besides, if people say that Manny has no college degree, what has Bongbong really finished in college? What is his highest educational qualification? I’m not insulting, just asking. As a voter, I have the right to know.

If we don’t like Sara, is Bong Go better? That means Digong too. Ping Lacson? Expect the same lording over by PMA mistahs and recycled generals. Isko Moreno? He needs more time to ripen. Grace Poe? My God, what has she done in the Senate to be promoted? Gwen Garcia is better than her. Nancy Binay? Why punish the people again? Alan Peter? He has already reached what management gurus call Peter's principle? He reached his pinnacle too early. And so, we may end up with Sara, and all sheriffs better be prepared for another blow, if you deserve it.

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