Preferred leader PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 02 May 2016 11:37

BEHIND  THE  LINES

BY BOB JALDON

San Jose, CA. — In every major survey conducted since March, four candidates for president seem to be underwater as voters view them unfavorably to run the country for the next six years. Only one remains “preferred”, mostly by Bisayans — Rodrigo Duterte. His numbers are driven by sympathy votes. No Bisayan has ever been elected president.

The dominant Liberal Party (LP) and the dominant opposition party UNA have been heavily divided as “balimbings” are born every minute. Some of LP standard-bearer Mar Roxas’s leaders have defected to other camps. Most of Vice President Binay’s stalwarts have butterflied to either Roxas or Ms. Grace Poe, while Duterte’s diehards have since eased up and determined to see their Davawenio hard-nosed candidate win.

Those who have not been polled think that Duterte, dubbed as “The Punisher” would make an outstanding president because of his vow to rid the country of all kinds of criminals, especially drug lords, drug dealers, drug traffickers, smugglers, corrupt government officials and employees — all the bad guys and gals — in six months, a promise that everybody wearing a yellow  shirt thinks is downright preposterously impossible to achieve.

Think of this: disarming alone the private armies of politicians and Muslim clans and the fighters of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), the blood-thirsty Abu Sayyaf and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and their civilian confederates is a task that will require the might of the entire armed forces, the police force and other law enforcers, heavy land and air fire power.

I was once employed by the Asia Research Organization. I know whether or not numbers are good. I’ve seen and analyzed Duterte’s numbers. They’re amazing, rising like a rocket.

Despite his bad mouth that spat out unpleasant remarks against Pope Francis, the senior citizens, Catholics and disadvantaged women that got the ire of the Evangelicals, people still cheer for him. They have been polarized, even hypnotized. If his numbers don’t change, his once reluctant drive to Malacanang will become a reality. But if we listen close enough to vice presidential candidate Sen. Chiz Escudero, surveys are mere numbers that don’t mean anything. The final numbers that will be official will come from the people.

Because PDP-Laban is a minority party, Duterte might not get the base support of Congress whose members belong to the LP or National People’s Coalition, the party that has endorsed Ms. Poe. If he wins, he will not have the support of both Houses of Congress.

A friend of mine who lives in Cebu thinks that Duterte has been piercing through enemy lines, picking up votes along the trail and thickening his numbers to stop the intrusion of the LP, UNA and NPC on election day. By intrusion, he meant cheating.

How Duterte and his brilliant social media trolls managed to overcome partisan distaste for his foul mouth and turned it into positive gains is unbelievable. There’s a term for this: Effective political polarization. Whatever it is, it has shown that no matter how shallow a candidate’s platform of government is (like Donald Trump’s), Duterte’s supporters have found a legitimate reason to cooperate and plenty of reasons to fight Imperial Manila whose managers have allegedly only fattened their wallets and purses while in office.

Duterte is a dubbed as “Mr. Change”; Binay “The problem solver”; Roxas as “Mr. Palengke”; Poe as “American Woman”; and Miriam Defensor-Santiago as the “Sick lady”. They all want to be president. They all present a record of honesty, competence and compassion for the poor. Roxas pounds on those qualities, but the mountain he is climbing becomes steeper every passing day.

Each presidential candidate is demonizing the other, something that was absent in past presidential campaigns. Reconciliation after May 9 will be difficult, if not impossible, to attain. The presidency will be in deep s...t for the next six years. So will the Filipino people.