As I promised myself, when 2016 kicks in, I will finally make up my mind who to vote for in May 2016.
Some may argue that I have known who to vote for and that I’ve been a vocal supporter of Mar Roxas even when he hadn’t officially stated his bid for Presidency but the truth is I have considered, seriously, voting for Duterte after I saw the personal accounts of friends who have experienced his leadership and after I saw the horror of Mar’s PR and his shortcomings.
Let’s be honest. Mar isn’t the perfect candidate. He has his faults – and they are many. It doesn’t help that the media glorifies such faults. But for all his faults, he also has his strengths and it’s sad that his strengths are not spectacular enough for the media to feature. As I read in Facebook, Mar is like your quiet and boring suitor. You know he’s right for he can deliver but there’s just no excitement with him.
When Duterte was rumored to be running for Presidency, I gave him no thought. I am aware of his tendency for violence and for me, it was a no-brainer. I wasn’t going to vote for a violent man. But as the months passed by and as the drama unfolded of his eventual consent to run for president, I began to consider that perhaps this guy was really the solution our country needed. As I read in a blog, Mar is an excellent driver – of a brand new automatic car. Duterte is a great driver of a pugak pugak second-hand car. And right now, the Philippines is that pugak pugak second-hand car.
I began to believe that our country is alright investment wise. PNoy’s administration has done a pretty good job getting investors into the country and with all the increase in credit ratings and the success of the APEC summit, investors are more likely to come knocking at our doors. What our country needs now is an iron-hand who can forge the security we badly need. Someone who can eliminate crime (or reduce it drastically) and who can make everyone feel safe and secure.
I believed that the solution was Duterte. All the personal anecdotes of friends from Davao and the rational posts they shared convinced me of such. It didn’t help that Mar started a series of bad PR stunts which seriously called his credibility into question.
However, I was hesitant to make my change of heart known publicly. Having a lot of friends part and campaigning for the Liberal Party made me hesitant to declare that I’ve had a change of affiliation. I’ve always been Liberal in my political views. In my opinion, our country needs to have the same party system as the US – one wherein we only vote between two parties: the Republicans (deemed conservatives) and the Democrats (deemed liberals).
So I went to Davao. I experienced the city first hand and observed what everyone was raving about. While it’s true that everyone there loved Duterte and that the man did live in a very simple abode, I was a bit disappointed it wasn’t what I expected. Well, I did expect a lot – all those stories made me think of a city like Singapore. Well, it wasn’t. There’s traffic – bad traffic. My friend said traffic lights have auto sensors so they can detect if there are really cars passing along and can adjust as necessary. I went out in the dead of the night and tried to observe it and what happened was I got confused when I can actually legally cross the street. Perhaps the lights worked as claimed, I just didn’t see it. But the city was deadly serious about their No Smoking rule. The warning signs were everywhere. My friend had to smoke – in secret – lest he run the risk of paying a hefty P10k fine.
The biggest issue was security. The city did felt secure. And in fact was very clean – no trash anywhere. The street sweepers were doing a good job. People were friendly – the taxi driver was fair and was very hospitable knowing we were newbies in the area.
It was a good city – something I even considered living in for perhaps a month or two. And I left with the distinct feeling that I’ll be voting for Duterte.
But experiencing Davao was not just the deciding factor for me. As the days passed, I got to know Rody Duterte better.
While I find his accomplishments amazing as well as his reputation untainted with corruption admirable, I still had qualms about his character. The recent brawls with Mar over Mar’s Wharton degree, his cursing the pope even in jest and his overall lack of diplomatic skills (in my opinion) evidenced by his foul language makes me rethink if I do want him as my president.
The presidency is a serious post. It is way different than running a city, no matter how big that city may be. I have come to respect the position and to understand that no matter how hard you try there will always be compromise along the way. I have come to accept that no president can be perfect. He or she simply cannot please everybody.
What we need is a president who can deliver. Someone who can weigh his options and choose the one that’s best for the country, even if others criticize him or don’t agree. We need someone who’ll not be afraid to make unpopular and even boring decisions.
I like what President Obama said in this video when he was asked what question he would like to ask his successor.
Just as Obama said that the US is not a country ran in fear or cynicism, I would like to think of the Philippines as the same. Duterte supporters argue that he wouldn’t re-instate Martial Law but this post made me think otherwise. I began to feel that much as we want the kind of iron leadership Duterte implemented in Davao, it is not the kind of leadership that the country needs. His brand of leadership may indeed work for Davao but I highly doubt it will work for the entire country – not with dire consequences.
I have no doubt that Duterte is not going after the presidency for the glitz and glamour of it. Just as I have no doubt that Mar is after the position because he really wants to serve his country and carry on the legacy of his father and grandfather. I have no doubt that both have clean intentions for wanting to run for the position (unlike Binay whose sincerity of serving the people I highly contest).
My question now becomes: who of the two do I see is fit to represent our country better?
In my opinion, Mar remains the better choice. In the end, I still chose him. (First lover never dies :D).
Why Mar? Simply because despite his shortcomings, I still believe that of all the presidential aspirants, he is the most qualified on the basis of what he can do in the diplomatic arena. For me, the number one job of the president – among his many jobs – is to make sure our country looks good in front of investors. That our country remains a viable choice for investments. Mar, being the economist he is, and having that advantage of being from the current administration (whose performance I am clearly satisfied) is the best option there is.
I am not saying Rody Duterte couldn’t do what Mar can do. It’s just that I believe Mar can do it better.
I don’t doubt that Duterte or Mar can deliver. They both can. Both are also flawed. They’re not perfect. For me, it’s just a question of whose flaws I can accept better.
I know Mar is not perfect. Just as PNoy was not perfect. But I know he can deliver. People may not understand what he is delivering – just as the masses didn’t understood what PNoy delivered but for those of us who can see it, or who can understand, we can’t deny that PNoy did something right. And that Mar is the best one who can continue it.
Like when I voted for PNoy last 2010, I also had doubts if he’ll make a good president. There were counts against him like how he was just riding the fame of his mother and how he really haven’t accomplished much in his stint in the Congress. But then I had to trust my own instinct that of all the candidates presented, PNoy had the better potential. This time, it’s Mar who have the better potential.
What about Duterte? He’ll make a good DOJ Secretary. I hope he considers joining Mar’s administration should Mar win and Mar reconsider him for the post. If only they could work together, for the good of this country, then I believe we are in better hands than the previous administrations combined.
But with all this talk and thinking of whether I’ll go for Mar or Duterte, I fear that in the end Binay would win. He tops the surveys – even after all the allegations of corruption and his tainted name. Let’s admit. A vast majority of voters are the CDE and for them, Binay is a hero. He probably goes around the countryside telling them he can turn their little towns into a replica of Makati.
I don’t know what 2016 Presidential Elections hold for our country. Surveys say that the race is getting tight. But one thing I won’t do is NOT vote. I won’t give up this right and responsibility. Even if Mar doesn’t win, I will still rest easy that at least I did my part in making my country a little bit better.