“The woods are lovely, dark and deep,

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.”

-From Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening

By Robert Frost

THE May 9 presidential election has been bruising. The presidential candidates were stripped of their pretensions. The voters and the people are either in hysterics or in a stupor, confused and afraid about the aftermath of the elections. So with an effort to help people resolve their dilemma, I am offering a few thoughts that could be beneficial to them and this country before they cast their votes.

Who is in and who is out

In every contest, there are winners and losers. There are good losers and bad losers. In the context of Philippine elections, there are no good losers, all of them are bad. The usual excuse of losers is that they were cheated. Several days before May 9 and the probable losers have been offering the usual excuse that if they lose, it is only because they were cheated and they will likely pull a coup. This is understandable in a highly contested election, especially when the stakes are high like going to jail and losing one’s ill-gotten wealth.

With the kind of presidential candidates we have, deciding to vote is not easy; it is a big let-down. In a population of more than a hundred million, one wonders why we are limited in our choice of the national leader. Anyone familiar with the system should not be surprised though. It is the fault of the system because only those who have money or nominated by political parties present themselves as candidates for the presidency. It has nothing to do with the best qualifications; in popular lingo, it has something to do with the choice of the lesser evil. So the basic assumption is all the candidates are evil. There is popular acceptance of this idea. But why should it not be a choice between good or evil. Are there no good men left who would respond to the challenge? But almost to a man, they would rather sit than run; they believe in selection but not in election. Meaning, they want to lead a revolution—peaceful or otherwise—to change the system and build a new order. That’s easier said than done. So it’s a long wait to put the pieces together. In the meanwhile, let us examine the candidates in alphabetical order.

The candidates as they appear in public and in private

All the presidential candidates have their own pretensions presented by themselves or by their spinners. There is unlimited lying and interminable denials. The people are of no help because the hysterical ones are mindless and unreasoning. There is no intelligent discussion going on. There are just fixed and irrational positions—unbending and mystifying. In the words of the late Vice-President Emmanuel N. Pelaez after he was ambushed, he asked from his hospital bed General Karingal, the chief of police of Quezon City, who was visiting him: “What is happening to our country, General?” I think it’s time to ask each other, “What is happening to our country?” and demand an immediate reply.

Here is my simple analysis of the chances of victory of the candidates in the May 9 elections in alphabetical order:

Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay

He had one of the biggest chances to be President of the Philippines before the Senate hearings. He led the pack in the surveys. He was on top of the wave. His presentation of his achievements as Mayor of Makati City impressed so many people in the country, including members of the business community. His media acceptance was warm, though not electric. He is head of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines and that is not a joking matter. His victory over Mar Roxas in the 2010 elections while surprising is impressive. It shows that he has a national political machine and a national following. He was almost within spitting distance from the presidency until the bombs in the Senate hearings started to explode. The explosions were lethal to Jojo’s presidential ambitions.

The fall of Jojo Binay from his pedestal could be credited to Senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Alan Peter Cayetano for their tenacity in research, intelligent presentation and searching questions as well as getting witnesses like Vice-Mayor Mercado and Atty. Bondal. The evidence of graft and corruption was just overwhelming. Jojo’s posturing and denials failed to click. His counter-propaganda just did not work; one excuse after another dropped like falling dominos. Jojo Binay, the knight in shining armor just became night without the “k” and many are reminded of Binay in the Arabian Nights story of “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves.”

Even Binay’s avid allies are deserting him—the Remullas of Cavite, the Garcias of Cebu and many others throughout the country. His organization is in tatters; the curtain is about to fall and there are no applauses but deafening boos.

Binay’s fall from grace is best described by the Tagalog maxim of “kwarta na naging bato pa” (it’s already money but it turned to stone). His chances of becoming President of the Philippines are almost nil. But not everything is lost with Jojo; he can still be President of the Philippines if something happens to President Noy before June 30, or in the remote possibility that his boys in the Marines would pull a coup for him. But will they? Or, if he does his controversial relations with some strategic members of the Comelec, then he will be on the road to victory. Only time and circumstances will tell.

Mayor Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte

He runs on three attractive platforms: eliminate criminality and graft and corruption in the country six months from his assumption of office; establish a federal system in the country; and organize a revolutionary government upon assumption of office. But the first he cannot do because he could not even eliminate criminality in Davao City in the more than 20 years that he was mayor.

In a published reliable index of criminality in the country for the past five years, Davao City is in the TOP 5; ranking NUMBER 1 as the MURDER CAPITAL of the country; ranking NUMBER 4 in RAPE incidents within the period. He had not imprisoned any graft and corruption criminal in his city and there are quite a number of them, some of whom are supporting his candidacy. So his claim is a lot of nonsense and bluster.

What about his federal system and revolutionary government? He has not given any specifics of his federal system and revolutionary government. His knowledge of the federal system, from the way he talks, is at best minimal, at worst abysmal. His encounter with the revolutionary government is as shallow as that of President Cory Aquino’s and as catastrophic as that of his friend, the 50 years’ failed revolutionary, Jose Maria “Joma” Sison. So again, this means nothing.

His solution to criminality and graft and corruption is to kill, kill and kill, WITHOUT DUE PROCESS. He has done it in Davao City, an area he has successfully cowed but he cannot do it in this country because he would be effectively and successfully challenged at every turn—WHETHER IT IS ON THE LEVEL OF ARGUMENTS OR ON THE LEVEL OF ARMS.

He is the best clown on stage, he has mastered the language of the lowest levels of our society that he elicits all kinds of adulating applauses and reactions but he would be the worst example for the children, the young and everyone—his foul, fetid and vulgar language; his disrespect of religion, the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, women and of everyone who does not agree with his ignorant and insane views; his ignorant and incompetent ideas on the nuances of national and international politics, and in the words of Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, his sick mind and, if I may I add,  a diseased heart based on his behavior and pronouncements.

Only those who are in blind unreasoning rage against the system and sick like Duterte in heart and mind will vote for Duterte.

But does Duterte have a good chance to be elected President of the Philippines? Yes, if PULSE ASIA executives would only be the ones voting in the elections; if the ones who are mesmerized by Duterte are voters and, if they are, they do not wake up on time on how stupid and insane they are in singing hosannas to Duterte before May 9; and if his perceived following in the military pulls a coup d’etat and succeeds. Even if Duterte becomes President, he will not last a year if he continues to act and behave in the same manner as in the campaign trail.

A Duterte presidency is a major scandal and a catastrophic shame for the Filipinos that may result in a repeat of the statement of an American senator during the time of Marcos in describing the Philippines as a “country of sixty five million cowards and one son of a bitch.” This time it could be “a country of a hundred million insane cowards and one insane son of a bitch.”

Senator Grace Poe Llamanzares

Sen. Poe is a foundling and indisputably a natural-born Filipino citizen. Sounds intelligent the way she talks which is a confirmation of her being an alumna of the University of the Philippines and Boston College. She topped the senatorial election in 2010. She has impeccably performed as senator showing it in the Mamasapano hearings. She has no taint of graft and corruption but she has a lot to learn in the task of national governance. She should have run for Vice-President and would have surely been elected. But it is too early for her to run for President.

She needs seasoning and six years as Vice-President would have been perfect for the presidency in 2022. I think she has imbibed the character of FPJ and the training of Susan Roces. But they are not enough. Experience is the best teacher and haste makes waste.

Does she have a chance to become President of the Philippines? Of course, she is at the heart of the contest, if the elections would be clean and honest. But no election has ever been clean and honest in this country except two or three. So that’s where her problem lies.

Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas ll

Mar has the best mind among the presidential candidates. He is the best prepared to be President of the Philippines. He is courageous and he’s got character. He comes from good stock—grandfather, President Manuel Acuña Roxas; father, Sen. Gerardo “Gerry” Roxas; and mother, Judy Araneta, though very wealthy, is very simple, charming and gracious. He is educated, civil, civilized, and passionate in his principles and ideas. He has a vision of what the country should be. He has no taint of graft and corruption and speaks out his mind with a passion. He exemplifies the best in Joe Plumeri’s The Power of Being Yourself: A Game Plan for Success. All of these are characteristics of one who should become President of the Philippines.

There are negatives with Mar, though—President PNoy with his natuwad na daan (inverted or distorted road); his controversial but beautiful wife; and his lack of charisma. But Mar has made fools of Duterte and Binay in the debates in full view of national television. He has direct answers to the point better than the evasive lawyers Binay and Duterte.

Based on his background and character, I think Mar would be his own man when he becomes President and the country would be better and in better hands.

Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago

Intellectually, she has one of the best qualifications to be President of the Philippines. As a matter of fact, she was elected President of the Philippines in 1992. This is a matter of fact. I should know, I was one of her lead counsels in the National Board of Canvassers in Congress. But Fates intervened and she was deprived of the presidency. It is a sad and bitter pill to swallow.

As of the moment, she is at the bottom of the surveys. I think she is passed her prime. She has to sit sometimes during the debates. She is helped by human canes in the course of her campaign. She has long pauses in her articulation during the debates. Age and sickness have obviously caught up with her. She just isn’t in the race. She is an excellent President we never had and will never have.

My fearless forecasts

First: MAR ROXAS will be the next President of the Philippines. Why? He has a tested and tried political machine; he has learned the lessons of his having been cheated in the 2010 elections; he has the government machines; he has the logistics and the intelligence to spend it right; and he is the best among them, and in the clinches and with the awakening of the voters, he will be elected the next President of the Philippines.

Mar can only lose if he and PNoy as well as their advisers become stupid and that’s not likely.

Second: LENI ROBREDO will be the next Vice-President. Her intelligence and charm, together with the Roxas and government machines, will carry her through.

Third: If the Roxas presidency does not deliver in two years’ time, he will certainly be removed as President of the Philippines long before that.

Fourth: The Duterte balloon will be pricked and torn into smithereens. The bandwagon of Duterte is a myth and a product of the Joseph Goebbels-type of propaganda of Gina Lopez and Pulse (or False) Asia and Company. If he succeeds, it will be a case of Heil Hitler! The communists and the Muslims will rule the day; the Quiboloys and the Manalos would be on top of the religious hysteria in the country. Then, we will have the ISLAMIC COMMUNIST, INC. AND QUIBOLOY REPUBLIC. Hail to insanity, ignorance and stupidity!

Fifth: The coup d’etat threat of Duterte and Binay forces will not materialize. If it does, they will be squelched by the Malabanan rain and real bullets this time.

Sixth:  If the CIA intervenes in the election, the USA will make a Syria out of this country and this time the upheavals will engulf the cities.

Seventh: There is a great possibility that the elections will be cancelled or in shambles because of the lack of preparation of the COMELEC.

Eighth: If this happens, the whole country will be in turmoil that may take time to stabilize.

I am not God. I could be wrong. But in my predictions of the fall of Presidents Marcos and Estrada, I was proved right. So, I have a hundred percent batting average. Only time will tell whether my forecasts are right this time!