Worrisome 2022 elections (1)
General Santos City—Next year’s elections need to be watched closely, and with great trepidation. For one thing, we have a sitting president who has shamelessly declared he would be running for vice president, with his favorite man Friday, also a part-time senator, as his presidential bet.
He wants to become vice president so he can continue to have immunity from any lawsuit. He seems to have realized rather late that he has many things to be accountable for, and that he needs immunity from all the future criminal cases he would be cited for. But this is largely presumptuous of him to believe that when he files for his candidacy he will automatically get elected. This has never happened before in contemporary Philippine political history, except for a former president who ran for a much lower position, as representative of her voting district.
There is also another worrisome reason for expecting the worst in next year’s elections. Once again, a motley of presidential wannabes are flooding both mainstream and social media with puffed-up versions of themselves, touting their alleged accomplishments as government officials. All of them claim their leadership traits are the most desirable requisites to become the next president. Voters must now be having all sorts of problems related to their auditory and visual sensations as the subliminal messages of these candidates get aired repetitively, especially on primetime where they shamelessly plug their worth as presidential bets.
Two presidential wannabes stand out from the rest, not only for their youth compared to the veterans or also-rans who have already made known their presidential ambitions, but also because they both come from humble beginnings. Being humble here is not to be conflated with the value of humility, something quite rare among our politicians, both traditional and rookie ones.
Isko Moreno (birth name: Francisco Domagoso), 46, has experienced what it was like to be living in the Tondo, Manila dumps in his childhood. It is to the credit of the late star-maker German Moreno who discovered his actor/entertainer potential that led him to become one of the stars in the long running show “That’s Entertainment.” By dint of hard work and dogged determination, Isko transcended his actor persona to become a public official, as one of Manila’s youngest and promising councilors, until he became vice mayor, and later on defeated former president Joseph “Erap” Estrada as mayor. He was a young upstart that succeeded in booting a popular traditional politician out of the Manila City Hall, and he held a lot of promise when he started. Many political observers saw how skillful Isko was in navigating Manila’s labyrinthine processes and procedures riddled with corruption and inefficiency. All these were attributed to Estrada, who before becoming mayor was ousted as president over charges of plunder and perjury three years before his term ended.
Should Isko succeed in his very first presidential bid, he will really be the opposite of Estrada not only in terms of articulating governance issues but also in their career paths: Isko was mayor first before becoming president while Estrada became mayor years after his ouster as president.
The other presidential candidate is none other than my “kababayan,” one of General Santos City’s esteemed and enormously wealthy residents, international boxing icon Emmanuel “Manny” Dapidran Pacquiao, 42. For both his local and international fans, Manny is a symbol of hope for the impoverished and marginalized sectors. Since the tender age of 14, Manny had to slug it out in one boxing ring after the next, just so he can contribute to bring some food and income to his family.
(To be continued)
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