We Wish Could Run Today
(But Obviously Can’t)
To those of us who feel like abstaining from voting for a president, it feels like the choices we have on the ballot are rather slim pickings, when we think about it. We realize this especially when, you know, a debate happens. Don’t we all wish we could have other people to choose instead, but due to inevitable circumstances, find they are unavailable? Well, here are just 8 of those kinds of people we wish were running for president instead of the usual suspects we have right now…
8. Ninoy Aquino
Why: Ninoy Aquino has often been regarded as someone Marcos himself wanted to succeed him if they weren’t on opposite sides of the political fence. There’s also something poignant about a man who says “the Filipino is worth dying for,” and then literally proceeds to do just that,
Why Not: Prior to his exile after his falling out with Marcos, he was allegedly as “trapo” as all get out. It took an exile to change his perspective on things, but we wouldn’t have known for sure if it was a genuine change or merely one of convenience because the man died a hero, past record be damned.
Best Case Scenario: We have a man who was renewed by his experiences after exile leading us. Without his untimely assassination, Kris Aquino might not even have ever become a media darling, thereby sparing us her showbiz career.
Worst Case Scenario: If Marcos wanted him, there had to be a reason. What if they were merely two sides of the same coin?
7. Jovito Salonga
Why: This is a man who knew what he was doing, and truly became a well-respected politician even before he recently passed away.
Why Not: He does not have the charisma needed to become president, as his failed attempt to run in 1992 has clearly demonstrated.
Best Case Scenario: We have a steady hand running this country who learned the lessons of EDSA that the Aquino’s apparently haven’t.
Worst Case Scenario: His strong, silent demeanor would have led to nothing but endless accusations and controversies that he never attempts to address.
6. Raul Roco
Why: Brilliant. Uncompromising. Most of all, he was considered downright incorruptible. That he passed away in 2005 was a crying shame.
Why Not: Raul Roco is a lot of things, but he was also not particularly endearing to the masses, like an even grumpier Mar Roxas. And don’t get me started on his attempt at outdoing Lito Atienza’s Hawaiian shirt game. It was atrocious.
Best Case Scenario: We would have a president whose main priority would unquestionably have been education. That in and by itself would have made a great difference.
Worst Case Scenario: Higher taxes all around. You don’t prioritize education without coughing up a lot of money for it.
5. Joker Arroyo
Why: It doesn’t matter what you might have to say about him towards the latter part of his life and the alliances he formed with the likes of GMA. Joker Arroyo was, without a doubt, a man who put his money where his mouth is, having been oppressed during Martial Law, and relentlessly pursuing justice against Erap at a time where that sounded like political suicide.
Why Not: Joker Arroyo’s hard-nosed stance against corruption and strong championing of human rights best belonged in the Senate, and not the Presidency. His excellent stint in legislation is testament to that.
Best Case Scenario: Finally, justice for the Marcos human rights victims, and a strong emphasis against graft and corruption with a frugal president who definitely will not stand for shenanigans. It’s all the benefits of “Daang Matuwid” without the wishy-washiness.
Worst Case Scenario: Nothing he ever wants done ever gets done because the pro-Marcos factions still remaining in the legislature will block anything he tosses its way, like an even more vindictive Republican majority during Obama’s presidency.
4. Jesse Robredo
Why: A great administrator and well-known for his simple lifestyle. Uruguay’s president may be the “poorest president in the world,” but that man is nowhere nearly as competent as Jesse Robredo. And then the man’s plane crashed.
Why Not: There’s a saying that goes, “you either die a hero, or live long enough to become the villain.” Given that the powers that be were quietly shunting Robredo towards inutility, it’s pretty glaring how they clung to his good name only after he died. He had a lot of people against him, and a good chunk of those were the people he thought were his allies.
Best Case Scenario: You get the Duterte Davao scenario minus the hypothetical human rights violations as a side effect. How can that not be a good thing?
Worst Case Scenario: There is no proof that a good mayor or governor will be able to scale that expertise up for the rest of the country. Some approaches that worked in Bicol may suddenly become plainly not good enough for the rest of the nation. A lame duck presidency in the worst case doesn’t seem nearly as bad, does it?
Why: When FPJ was running, every single time Dolphy showed up, people cheered him harder than FPJ. The man had the people in the palm of his hands. No amount of GMA cheating could have stolen the election from Dolphy if he ran in the stead of FPJ, and we all knew either man would have relied on advisers non-stop.
Why Not: Dolphy himself didn’t want the presidency precisely because he had no idea what would happen if he would win. He was afraid of winning, not losing. Maybe we should head the man’s self-awareness?
Best Case Scenario: Surrounded by the best advisers, you have a popular and funny president who will unite the Filipino people. He may just be a figurehead, but if his advisers do things right, we are assured a bulletproof president, in terms of approval ratings.
Worst Case Scenario: Surrounded by less-than-ideal advisers…
2. Atom Araullo
Why: Smart. Ambitious. The son of activists who no doubt grounded him despite his countless gifts. This is someone who could have run in 2016 and won in a landslide. Of course, that’s not exactly going to happen.
Why Not: He’s a convenient go-to guy for people who pretend to be sapiosexuals. Apparently, it’s really his intellect that they love, and not the fact that the man looks like a supermodel even while reporting in the middle of Yolanda.
Best Case Scenario: Justin Trudeau, eat your heart out.
Worst Case Scenario: Enrique Nieto, eat your heart out.
1. Juan Flavier
Why: RH Law would have been passed sooner, implemented better, and the unimpeachable and all-demographics covered Juan Flavier would have been the kind of president everyone adored. This man was larger than life, no matter how short he was. Juan Flavier was a presidentiable with a clear-cut platform and next to no political enemies.
Why Not: Same reason as Joker – it seems he was most effective in the Senate, and the Presidency might actually neuter him instead of empower him to push his agenda.
Best Case Scenario: A healthier, better-educated Philippines? Sign me up!
Worst Case Scenario: A healthier, better-educated Philippines that conservatives can’t wait to undo come 2022? Sign me up until 2021!