THE history of Malacañan Palace goes down all the way to 1750 when it was first constructed as a casita (country house) by a Spanish aristocrat, Don Antonio Rocha, and so, there is need to clarify that for purposes of the current discussion, "Malacañang" must only situate in that period beginning with the establishment of the Philippine Commonwealth in 1935 up to the present.

Therefore, in tracing the pattern traversed by Philippine presidents in their journey to the Palace, we confine ourselves to the terms of President Manuel L. Quezon onward.

The Philippine Commonwealth came about as a preparatory period for the country's political independence from America. According to the 1935 Constitution, that independence would be granted on July 4, 1946, interestingly the same date as the United States independence from its colonial master Great Britain.

Now, the nation is in a frenzy of choosing a new president. Filipinos are faced with having to choose one from six main aspirants (in alphabetical order): Sen. Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go, Sen. Panfilo "Ping" Lacson, former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., Manila Mayor Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso, Sen. Emmanuel "Manny" Pacquiao and Vice President Maria Leonor "Leni" Robredo. Although Bong Go has expressed a desire to back out of the race, in that event the electorate are still left with five more to choose from, still a tall order. Unlike in the United States where voters usually need only to choose between two candidates for President, the Filipinos in this instance must be wringing their heads in deciding who among the five to vote for president.

How do you choose one from a crop that doesn't seem to show qualitative differences from one another? Between a rock star-posturing city executive and a dethroned world boxing champ, who can answer to the country's need for a strong leader? Neither can a former woman lawmaker who cannot even remember even a single bill she had filed in Congress nor one who once needed to seek refuge in a foreign land to avoid being made to answer for a criminal offense. Evidently leading the other contenders by, so to speak, a mile is Bongbong, with screaming fans greeting him wherever his rallies and caravans take him. But then, that's precisely the one single problem these elections must get away from: the trapo (traditional politician) manner of getting elected not for any capacity to lead but on account of sheer popularity. Didn't President Duterte already speak in this regard: "He is a weak leader," referring to Marcos.

So, suddenly the Filipino electorate are up against a blank wall in their search for president.

How to get out of this dilemma?

Might we not attempt some form of divinity? That will toss the question to the heavens.

Whatever is tossed back from up there must be it. In any event, I've had this uncanny feeling that social events don't happen out of their own accord but conform with pre-arranged destiny.

To throw back to the Commonwealth times, the Hare-Hawes Cutting Law was already in place, providing for a transition period of 10 years for Philippine independence and the conduct of a constitutional convention for bringing it about. Trouble is, for Quezon et al, the Hare-Hawes is a handiwork of the OS-ROX (Manuel Roxas-Sergio Osmeña) Mission and would propel the duo to the leadership of the land in the coming independence. So what did Quezon do? He organized one more independence mission, and this one produced the Tydings-McDuffie Act which provided for things that are practically the same as those in the Hare-Hawes Cutting Law. That did the trick for Quezon, who got elected President of the Philippine Commonwealth.

Just too bad for Manuel Roxas, in the elections for the Commonwealth, he was not the Chosen One. But then luck of all luck, Quezon died in America while awaiting peace from the Second World War to return. When the next elections for president were held at the return of peace in 1945, cocksure-confident Vice President Sergio Osmeña Sr. (having succeeded the departed Quezon) did not care to campaign and lost to Roxas. Thus when Philippine independence was granted that July 4, 1946, Roxas became the first president of the Philippine Republic. Clearly, after all, for that distinction — of being the First President of the Republic he so resolutely already worked for with the Hare-Hawes Cutting Law — Roxas had been all along been the Chosen One.

Back now to our current concern: Who among the candidates for president in the 2022 elections conforms with the principle of the "Chosen One"? To repeat an assertion made above, "In any event, I've had this uncanny feeling that social events don't happen out of their own accord but conform with pre-arranged destiny." What destiny had been pre-arranged in the current fight among the "presidentiables"?

In short, who among the presidentiables had been destined to win?

Notice this lineup of Philippine presidents: From Manuel Quezon, you come down to Manuel Roxas, Elpidio Quirino, Ramon Magsaysay, Carlos P. Garcia, Diosdado Macapagal, Ferdinand Marcos, Corazon Aquino, Fidel V. Ramos, Joseph Estrada, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Benigno Aquino 3rd and Rodrigo Duterte.

One pattern we may discern is that beginning with Corazon Aquino, two male Presidents emerge, followed again by a female, so that continuing the pattern, after two more male presidents, what is in line is a female President. What's past in this current reckoning are two presidencies of males (Noynoy Aquino and Duterte). So, what is in line to win in the 2022 elections is a female.

There is only one female in the current lineup of presidentiables: Leni Robredo. So, is Leni it?

According to the pattern, she is.

But a deeper scrutiny of the patterns traversed by Philippine presidents would reveal that beginning from Quezon, you count five and you get a president who directly came from the security sector upon election, thus: Quezon, Osmeña, Roxas, Quirino, MAGSAYSAY (from Secretary of National Defense); Garcia, Macapagal, Marcos, Cory Aquino, RAMOS (from Secretary of National Defense); Estrada, Arroyo, Noynoy Aquino, Duterte, WHO FROM THE SECURITY SECTOR?

So, we cite again the lineup of presidentiables in the 2022 elections: Sen: Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go, Sen. Panfilo "Ping" Lacson, former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., Mayor Isko "Francisco Domagoso" Moreno, Sen. Emmanuel "Manny" Pacquiao and Vice President Maria Leonor "Leni" Robredo.


As far, therefore, as coming from the security sector is concerned, none among the cited candidates can be the Chosen One.