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Opinion

Sara’s decision leveled the playing field

STRAIGHT TO THE POINT - Atty. Ruphil Bañoc - The Freeman

“If Sara decides to run for president, it’s game over,” said Secretary Salvador Panelo.

As I said in my previous column, based on my observation in line with my generation as the background, there were only three persons who enjoyed phenomenal support from the people when they ran for president of the Philippines. They were the late presidents Cory Aquino, Noynoy Aquino, and incumbent President Rodrigo Duterte.

When the three responded to the people’s call according to the position that the latter wanted them to be in consonance with the political climate at that specific time, indeed, they won and became presidents. They won without expenses or at least minimal, if there was any.

Like in sales, the three candidates were products that were in demand according to their respective seasons. They knew the principle of right timing. So their candidacies sold like hot cakes.

First was President Cory Aquino. The presidency was never in her dreams. She was just a plain housewife. But when her husband, Ninoy Aquino, was murdered, people called her to run for president against the longest reigning one, Ferdinand Marcos.

The problem at that time was the rampant corruption, imagined or real, and dictatorship for 20 long years. People saw Cory as the answer. When surveys showed that Cory was preferred over their camp’s leader Doy Laurel, the latter gave way. 

Second was President Noynoy Aquino. He did not have the ambition also to become president. In fact, even in his senatorial election, his number is not so good. Cory had to help in his campaign.

However, when Cory died while the 2010 election was approaching, surprisingly, people’s sympathy was poured into PNoy. Millions of Filipinos urged him to run for president.

Survey results confirmed how people loved him. He was hesitant but eventually answered their call. Mar Roxas, who was supposedly the standard bearer of their camp at that time, gave way and slid down as his running mate.

Third was President Rodrigo Duterte. People picked him in 2016 as the answer to the widespread drugs problem. People, except those residing in high-end subdivisions, were worried of the fact that drugs were sold like candies on the streets then.

Duterte was the right person (product) to solve the said problem. He was the only candidate who gave major emphasis on his fight against drugs. Other candidates focused on other platforms.

Although Duterte has not totally solved the problem of illegal drugs, it is a way far different from before. The Build, Build, Build projects are also extensive in his administration.

Hence, unlike other presidents, Duterte has a very good rating even in the last year of his administration. Undeniably, he is still very popular. His endorsement, maybe not equally effective in the midterm election, still matters.

The people’s call for Duterte to serve as president extends to his daughter, Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio. Surveys after surveys reveal the people’s support for Sara.

Hence, I fully agree with Sec. Panelo.

Sara has all the needed factors to become the next president. Consider the following: her father is the sitting president; she enjoys the administration’s machinery; she benefits from her father’s popularity; she has a very good managerial experience as mayor of Davao City and excellent educational attainment as a lawyer.

 But the twists of events were shocking like a teleserye.  She is just running for vice president in tandem with Bongbong Marcos Jr. Such decision was unacceptable to many that even his father was upset.

For sure, Sara’s decision makes BBM and his supporters happy. However, other presidential candidates such as Leni Robredo, Isko Moreno, Manny Pacquiao, Ping Lacson, and the latest, Bong Go, are happier as it has leveled the playing field. I just hope that the result in May 2022 election makes the Filipino people the happiest.

May we be guided in choosing the right one.

SALVADOR PANELO

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