As Filipinos vote for change, will they heed Aquino’s warning?
On Monday, Filipinos will choose their new leader. The question is will they listen to President Benigno Aquino III’s warning that a vote for frontrunner Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte would mean a vote for the possible return of dictatorship.
MANILA–Aquino has been campaigning against Duterte saying he is showing signs of being a dictator. His mother, the late President Corazon Aquino led the people power revolution in the 80s and toppled strongman Ferdinand Marcos.
The President and his candidate Manuel “Mar” Roxas called for unity among the presidential aspirants to prevent a possible Duterte presidency. But the calls were rejected.
Vice President Jejomar Binay said Aquino should call for an honest and credible election instead of campaigning against a candidate.
Aquino believes that his government’s efforts will turn to naught if Duterte wins. His administration was credited by London-based research consultancy firm Capital Economics to be responsible in making the country one of the “economic success stories” in the region.
“We cannot go back to the Martial Law style,” Aquino said
‘Ready to be a father’
But Duterte, in his speech during the final political rally, dispensed fears that he will become a dictator.
Accused of heading a squad that killed thousands of people and vowed to kill more if he wins, this time he sang a different tune.
“You cannot build a country by killing people so we must be a peaceful nation,” Duterte said amid sea of red-shirts chanting his name at the historic Quirino Grandstand.
He told his supporters who attended the rally, which according to the police has swelled to 300,000 that “I am ready to be your father.”
“I promise you a comfortable life…I am not your perfect option. But I am your last card. I promise you I will get down and dirty just to get things done. I will get things done. I will do it for the Filipino people,” he said.
Duterte’s profanity-laced quick-fix solutions to the country’s problems has attracted the people who are already tired of ineptness, double standards and corruption.
Government with a ‘heart’
Second placer Senator Grace , on the other hand, promised to fight anyone who will try to cheat their way into public office by manipulating the results of the country’s third automated election.
She also expressed hope that in the next six years, progress, not fear, will prevail.
Poe also hit her contender, administration bet Manuel “Mar” Roxas and his Liberal Party for employing another scheme to get her out of the presidential race.
In her speech, she said it was the ruling administration party who sought her disqualification from the presidential race.
“Sila rin naman ang nagpadisqualify sa akin sa Korte Suprema. Nung hindi gumana, ngayon may banta raw sa ating demokrasya kaya kailangan akong umatras [They are the ones who sought my disqualification in the Supreme Court. When that didn’t work, now they say there is a threat to our democracy and I have to withdraw],” Poe said adding that it is up to the people to choose who they think will be best suited to lead the Philippines in the next six years.
This is the fight of our lives: Roxas
Roxas said the election is a ‘good fight.’
“This is the fight of our lives. This is the fight that defines us as a generation. This is the fight that brings us to a better future,” Roxas said.
His running mate, Congresswoman Leni Robredo said she is already prepared to be the country’s mother.
Binay sure of victory
Vice President Jejomar Binay, who held his final rally in his bailiwick Makati, the country’s business capital, said “Trust me, on Election day, we will win.”
Binay has been boasting that he is the most experienced among all the candidates with more than decades in public service. He is hoping that the ‘silent majority’ will appreciate his track record showing his competence.
However, he expressed apprehension on possible manipulation of election results.
“Mr. President, I appeal to you not as the Vice President but as an ordinary Filipino citizen. I hope you use your power as the father of the nation to ensure clean and peaceful elections on Monday,” he said.
Santiago has faith in voters
Feisty Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago maintained that she will never quit the race.
“I will never stop. I will never withdraw. I owe it to the Filipino people who believe in my leadership,” Santiago said in a statement.
Santiago has been a tail-ender in surveys. She is battling stage 4 lung cancer.
At the end of the campaign trail, Duterte reminded his supporters who attended his last political rally to take their trash with them and dispose it properly to which they did.
Will the people listen again to frontrunner Duterte or Aquino? It will still take days before the people and and the world will know