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On the trail of the next prexy

By: Johnny Dayang

It’s too early to speculate who among the current political performers will follow President Rodrigo Duterte after his term expires in 2022.

The matter of presidential succession is not a public concern that must be treated overnight. In fact, it is a pressing matter that overshadows any other issue because the decisions of a chief executive determine the direction of the country.

In today’s crop of wannabes, the Senate is a likely source of contenders, followed by the House, with the Speaker as top bet. Given that both chambers of Congress are led by Mindanaoans and the incumbent President is from Davao, chances are the next national leader will again come from the South.

The two congressional leaders, however, though from the same political party, the PDP-Laban harbor contrasting personalities and have divergent philosophies.

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has adopted a ‘devil may care’ attitude, challenges established institutions, turns back on alliances, and mouths statements reflective of hidden sentiments of an individual with so many baggages.

To assert the House leadership’s clout, he ordered high-profile probes in ‘aid of legislation’ on institutions like Court of Appeals, cussed its justices, threatened to humiliate the Supreme Court by tearing its order, and bullied agencies under the President and even constitutional bodies with budgetary cuts.

Alvarez who bulldozed his way to fame by maligning individuals and institutions, however, is a poor copycat of Duterte who, despite his colorful language, has remained on track and is consistent in his presidential pronouncements.

On the other hand, Senate President and PDP-Laban top gun Aquilino ‘Koko’ Pimentel III behaves with tolerance but stands on Senate investigations with strong political flavour and grandstanding potential in favor of more pressing issues.

Admittedly, every President has own governance style. For the Duterte, sarcasm has become an indispensable ingredient each time he drives home his discontent over events that affect the populace and often gets public notice for his vitriols.

Pimentel’s cool and reasonable approach to issues that also make headlines, which often simplify for better public understanding tend to endear him to and more Filipinos. He is sensitive with matters that affect national interest.

His approach is calculated, straightforward, and pro-people.

Indeed, many Filipinos find Koko Pimentel’s non-arrogance, despite his own personal failures, will likely make him a cinch in the 2022 presidential polls.