By Democrito C. Barcenas
President Duterte has less than two years when his term ends on June 30, 2022. Not even martial law can extend his term. Only a revolutionary government can give a breath of life to his dying regime but this is a costly gamble. What are President Duterte’s options now that he is nearing the sunset of his power?
First, is that he will support his candidate to succeed him in office. Banking on his alleged popularity and control of government resources, he is confident in trouncing the candidate of the opposition.
However, if history is our guide, presidential popularity and power cannot assure the victory of the administration candidate. President Noynoy Aquino for all his popularity and control of resources failed to make Mar Roxas win in the 2016 presidential elections.
In the past, the Filipino electorate shunned the administration-backed candidates like Speaker Jose de Venecia who was endorsed by Fidel Ramos and Gilbert Teodoro who was backed by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Hamstrung by the Covid-19 pandemic which has not been successfully handled, a crippled economy with millions of jobless Filipinos, plus the unfulfilled promises to end the problems within six months like crimes, drugs and corruption, how can President Duterte convince the people to support his candidate?
Second, President Duterte would be ill-advised if he opts to declare a revolutionary government. He would be inviting chaos and economic disaster. The present problems spawned by the Covid-19 pandemic will worsen. The Philippines will become an international pariah, shunned by democratic countries like the US, Canada and members of the European Union.
Third, the most honorable option of President Duterte is to respect the Constitution and hold a fair and honest election in May 2022 to determine the sovereign will of the people. This is the best legacy that he can leave to the nation and I am sure history will give him a fair verdict in the coming years.