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Philippine Elections: Grace Poe Disqualified; Rodrigo Duterte Surging, Mar Roxas Also-ran

ell, it looks like the presidency won't happen for Grace Poe—at least not in 2016. And we're delighted. As far as we're concerned, the freshman senator who is only halfway through her first term in office is totally unqualified to be president for now. She lacks the experience, Mayor Duterte biking around Davao Cityand because she's lived abroad for so long, still lacks a true "feel" for Philippine issues. If she had become president, she would have had to rely primarily on others for guidance—ala Cory Aquino.

So who else? Well there's Jejomar Binay. The name Jejomar itself is quite interesting. It's suppose to be a contraction of "Jesus, Joseph, and Mary." But shouldn't they be named by order of importance? Christians (Catholics especially) say: Jesus, Mary and Joseph (Joseph being the least important of the three). So, to be theologically correct, Binay's first name should be Jemarjo, not Jejomar.

All this is immaterial at this point anyway since Binay has lost the commanding lead he once had in the polls. All those charges of corruption seem to have taken their toll. So now the public just can't see Binay as someone they can trust.

Then there's Miriam Defensor-Santiago. For starters, we have a problem with married Filipinas who use hyphenated surnames. Why not just go with one or the other—like Grace Poe and say "to Hell with my husband's surname, I'm using my maiden name." Miriam trails everyone at this stage so no one really takes her candidacy seriously. Come to think of it, nobody takes Miriam seriously about anything anyway!

Next is Mar Roxas. He's the guy we most want to see get to Malacanang. The problem is, he can't seem to connect with the voters. His handlers have tried the moniker "Boy Palenke" to make him appear more "masa." Problem is, the masa isn't buying it. They just don't see him as  one of them.

So who's left? Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and he's surging in the polls. The poor masses and the well-off both seem attracted to him. The tough, "Dirty Harry" persona he projects seems to be what most Filipinos want in their next president. His critics however say he's a thug who has no regard for the law. They say he had no problem "eliminating" small-time crooks and drug dealers from Davao, but could do nothing about big-time warlords like the Ampatuans who own a palatial-sized home in that city.

If Commissioner Etta Rosales and her team at the Philippine Commission on Human Rights (CHR) ever manage to lift their fat behinds off their padded swivel chairs and actually begin doing what they are being paid a salary by the Filipino people to do, multiple charges of human rights violations might be leveled against Duterte and his vigilante accomplices for all the "salvaging" (killings) that have gone on in Davao for decades ... allegedly with the tacit approval of the mayor.

So to our chagrin, the saying "be careful what you wish for" might just come back to haunt us. If Poe is eventually disqualified, Duterte may end up the winner. So we've replaced a seemingly inexperienced candidate with an alleged thug. Unless of course, Duterte himself gets  thrown out of the race. Then it will be Binay vs. Roxas ... still an uphill battle for Mr. Palenke—but with far better odds for him.  Bottom line: at this point it is still anyone's race. 12/14/2015

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