Change, In All Caps

grace-poe-rodrigo-duterte-20160315I feel like I owe my Poe friends an explanation.

I used to be for Poe. The whole citizenship thing did not bother me in the least. In fact, I was defending her from (what I thought) were the dumbest arguments from all sides. The Chiz factor didn’t bother me that much either. She was great in the debates and obviously displays leadership qualities. The Danding SMC connection was harder to take. That made me think there is a bigger chance that we do not get off the merry-go-round that leads to nowhere.

I switched (back) to Duterte because I believe that what we need is drastic change, not just incremental change, or just a change of parties in power. Only Duterte seems to understand the systemic and structural flaws that have plagued the country from day one. More than the other candidates, Duterte acknowledges other paradigms and is not afraid to experiment. The Duterte candidacy has brought up long overdue topics to the forefront of national debate. What are the advantages and disadvantages of a parliamentary system? Of Federalism?

His executive skill and experience tower over all the other candidates. Furthermore, I believe the man is sincere and does not seek the presidency just to live up to a family legacy or name. In fact he is a reluctant 70-year old candidate being dragged into service.

I have learned to look beyond the bluster and foot-in-mouth remarks. Many of the remarks are “lost in translation”. Duterte’s manner of speech does not play well to the bishops, or to the little old ladies who are reliving their kolehiyala days thinking we are still in 1986. It does not play well to the manicured set who lunch at the Manila Polo Club. They may not play well to Western ears, even. We forget that this is a man who comes from a hardened region that is no stranger to violence. He runs like a Mayor from this region would run.

In a few days, I will join the many Filipinos who will vote for change, and against the status quo. It has been exciting to see the grassroots, across all social classes, come together. Stock brokers and taxi drivers. OFWs and the Mocha Girls. Young people getting politicized and hoping for a better Philippines. When I vote, I will take part in this movement. When I vote, it is with the hope that democracy works, and that people respect each others vote. When I vote, it will be vote for CHANGE (in all caps).


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