For its April 30 print edition, the London-based newspaper, The Economist, has this to say to Filipino voters: “This newspaper’s view is that the dull but diligent Mr Roxas would make the best next president. But if on May 9th he obviously has no chance of winning, then they should swing behind Ms Poe. Better the novice foundling, surely, than the beast of Davao.”
The article started by praising the progress the Philippines has made, attributing it to the incumbent president, Benigno Aquino III. “The economy is booming and investors are flocking in. The country has gained in geopolitical importance, too, thanks to its resistance to China’s expansionism”, said the magazine.
However, in its succeeding statement, the magazine warned against the risk of squandering the Philippines’ progress due to Filipino’s penchant for “love of showmanship and personality over policy and administrative ability”.
“Boxers and film stars project themselves into public jobs while the diligent and competent too often languish. This year’s presidential campaign is no exception”, added the magazine.
The magazine then narrowed down its focus to the two frontrunners in the upcoming presidential elections: Grace Poe and Rodrigo Duterte.
According to the magazine, “Grace Poe [is] a foundling, adopted daughter of an action-man actor (the late Fernando Poe junior, a failed presidential candidate), and now a telegenic senator. She promises continuity with Mr Aquino’s pro-business policies, but her CV is thin and her campaign lamentably vacuous.”
On the contrary, this is what the magazine has to say about Duterte: “The mayor of the southern city of Davao, he likes to play the hard man. He has spoken approvingly of vigilante killings of suspected criminals, and promises to clean up the country by executing 100,000 lawbreakers and dumping their bodies in Manila Bay. Mr Duterte sneers at the trapos—short for “traditional politicians” and a pun on “old rags”. He appeals to those who have not shared in the boom. He is a proponent of a barely defined “federalism”. If he does not get his way within a year of being elected, he says he will declare a “revolutionary government”. He made unforgivable remarks about wishing he had been among those who gang-raped an Australian lay minister who died in a prison riot in 1989. When American and Australian officials objected, he dared them to sever ties.”
The magazine further issued a warning against Duterte saying that “he is downright alarming” and that if he was elected he risks damaging ties with America, Japan and Australia due to his pro-China leanings. The magazine highlights that the Philippines cannot afford the severance of ties with these countries because of the serious geographical threat in the South China Sea “where disputed rocks and reefs are being built up provocatively by China into what are almost certainly new military bases.”
The magazine concluded that Roxas is a hopeless campaigner so if the presidential race ends up in a toss up between Duterte and Poe, it is imploring the Filipinos to vote for the latter instead of the beast of Davao.
Do you agree?