POLITICS is a contest of influence and power, and not necessarily of ability. The influential and powerful, if pitied against a greatly skilled bureaucrat, will probably be the victor. The power of influence remains yet a significant factor in Philippine elections.
But power and influence in Philippine politics are a product of efficient public relations. Between politicians and political clans, I would say that personality remains still an enormous factor. But how is personality defined and shaped by a leader is the question. I would argue that the defining equation in a winning personality involves a great deal of political talent.
Among the prominent political names we have, there’s only one name that stands out in the description. The probinsiyano mayor of Davao City in the south, now Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, is probably the only politician that has mastered Philippine politics. His unrivaled talent in the art, or should I say “war” in politics may yet again give him another big win come the next presidential elections.
No amount of mudslinging and besmirching will taint the man. Notice carefully that he made no claims of high heaven’s governance. His political prowess dwells mainly on the simplicity of his leadership style. No claims for perfection. Only sheer acknowledgment of his fallibility.
Duterte’s unapologetic sincerity over his feats and failures has worked and still is working. There’s not one effort to display superficiality like what his opponents are painstakingly doing. Interestingly, most Filipinos have found sincerity in the man. Whether that is an accurate appreciation of the leader that he is for many Filipinos, he seemed to have understood perfectly the art of Philippine politics. By comparison, there is not one yet that I see among big political names that come anywhere close to Duterte’s political winning ability.
The opposition hopes to fault and to demolish the man at all costs. The only problem is the man had not and never once projected infallibility in himself nor of his governance, not even claims of decency the opposition often brags of possessing. In effect, the assault of opposition Senators with these senate investigations over alleged corruptions is but a grave tactical error. It will not harm the man.
Hence, come 2022 elections my forecast is another damning, if not a huge Duterte win, again.