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In growing quandary as 2016 presidential election nears

12:02 AM December 08, 2015

The 2016 presidential election is just around the corner, and I thought I had an idea of who to vote for. But now, the waters are not that clear. I am confused.

Vice President Jejomar Binay was never in consideration. Even if only an iota of the alleged corruption charges against him is true, then what a foul politician he is! Besides, there is the dynasty issue: His wife is a former mayor, his son, a suspended mayor; one daughter is a congresswoman, another a senator. Worse, four of them, including the Vice President, are facing charges for dipping their fingers into government tills.

As to Sen. Grace Poe, the foundling, I was so impressed with her performance in a Senate hearing. Her questions were probing, incisive. I told myself she might make a good candidate for a higher office. The other side of me said, “She is too young with no experience.” But then in my eyes that only made her a more attractive candidate; after all, she was not tainted with corruption. Not yet, anyway.

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But she did learn fast! Serge Osmeña, once her mentor, called her a “trapo” (“INC brouhaha showed Poe a ‘trapo,’ says erstwhile mentor,” News, 9/7/15). I had the same impression.

New to the political game, Poe has learned to pander to a local sect—to which candidates make a beeline during elections.

In a previous letter, “‘Presidentiables’ worrisome” (Opinion, 3/14/14), I talked about Mar Roxas and his lackluster and unimpressive performance as interior secretary. But to his credit, he comes across as a moral person and has remained unsoiled by corruption through his long and many years in politics. But is that enough?

Then there is Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, author of law books, with a mouth and mercurial tendencies to temper. She claims she has been cured of her lung cancer. Can she lead without blowing her top? She made waves when she picked Sen. Bongbong Marcos as her running mate. The son of a despot, Bongbong seems to have selective amnesia and looks back at his father’s reign as a utopia. Remember: “Those who forget the past will repeat it.”

We need a strong leader who will crack the whip and make dirty politicos toe the line. We need someone who will lift our countrymen out of poverty, not a country whose progress is “compartmentalized” and does not trickle down to benefit the masses.

Do we need a strongman? Somebody who will make our streets safe, one who will make murderers and thieves rue the day they committed their crimes. A strongman who will take chaos out of our streets. A strongman who will cut red tape and make our country attractive to foreign investors.

Am I willing to see a leader use strong-arm tactics to effect change? Someone who could possibly bring about an economic miracle and order in our society? Should I subscribe to Machiavelli’s “The end justifies the means”? A quandary, indeed.

But if I do vote for this strongman—knowing his reputation—I’ll do so willingly. It is a risk and a gamble, but one I may be willing to take, because I am so tired of waiting…

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But there are still a million things to consider. And the jury is still out.

—ARTHUR BUAN, toorobuan@yahoo.com

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TAGS: 2016 Elections, candidates, confusion, letters
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