IN MY HUMBLE view, only one candidate for high office prominently deserves election, and that is Leni Robredo.

A former public attorney, Robredo stood with her husband, Jesse, in his inspiring yet tragically abbreviated career. She carried on and entered Congress, from which she was drafted by Mar Roxas to be his co-driver on the Daang Matuwid.

She did not jump at the offer. This, among many other sensible acts, first made me notice her. But I did not join her Tsinelas brigade when she finally accepted.

I felt her handlers were turning the Robredo legacy into a brand and milking it dry. I believed she was being manipulated, and I wanted to see how far she would allow that. She seemed timid at the onset, and her message, unclear. I was convinced she had one, but I wanted to hear her voice, not the LP’s.

I’m glad she found it.

Sweltered in this torrid campaign, she has emerged trim and fighting fit. She stands, a lone woman against her veteran rivals, and proves her gender is not her handicap. Clearly, she is equal to what the old boys hurl and merely fends them off with a smile. Bring it on.


Screengrab from Leni Robredo’s Facebook account. (

Having been a lone woman in many battles myself, I can relate with that stance and affirm it. I respect her fortitude and appreciate that she does not play the “widow” card at all, nor use sentimental appeals to win her points in the debates. She holds her own.

What resonates most with me is her call for Bongbong Marcos and family to be accountable for the crimes of the dictatorship. She “invaded” the “solid north” and spoke forthrightly on martial law on Bongbong’s turf.  Moreover, she challenged him to return the billions they plundered as proof of his dubious self-proclaimed patriotism.

Ultimately, it was her call to end the culture of impunity that convinced me to vote for Mrs. Robredo. I have no doubts about her qualifications and am certain she will make an effective vice president. I am pleased to have made my choice.

I cannot say the same for the presidential lot. There is no one on that field who gives me no qualms.

I am voting for Leni, but not for Team Daang Matuwid, which is as numb to the people’s plight as ever. I cannot vote for Mar Roxas, who seems to be a decent and honest man, but hardly the leader this country requires. He cannot even manage his own campaign teams, and unfortunately tends to whimper when put on the spot.

For reasons I have repeatedly stated here, Jojo Binay and Miriam Defensor-Santiago are non-candidates for me. So let us not discuss them.

Grace Poe and Rodrigo Duterte are neck and neck in the latest SWS mobile poll, so one of them is likely to win. We may as well get used to the idea. Neither of them has persuaded me that he or she is qualified to lead us; I am not voting for either.

I am of that generation that dislikes the “in your face” rants so common on social media, complete with high-pitched invective and ironic demands for “respect.” “I’m only expressing myself, so walang basagan ng trip,” is the usual defense.

Duterte has spawned droves of that since launching his campaign, and frankly, I am sick of it.

I have written about him several times here as well, and due to numerous proofs of his turpitude, he never entered my list. His recent impulsive remarks have increased his notoriety on social media.

His abominable joke about the raped and murdered Jacqueline Hamill; his staunch refusal to apologize for it; his advice to the Australian and US envoys to “shut up” and his ensuing “threat” to sever ties with their countries; his “promise” to padlock Congress and the Ombusdman should corruption continue in his presidency; his brash revelation that he shot his frat brod Octavio Goco in 1972; and his recent tasteless joke about his disabled friends caused social upheaval this week as his supporters militantly defended him against the outrage these elicited.

jacqueline hamill_facebook

Photo posted on Facebook by Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon

Duterte defiantly insists that he is merely exercising his freedom of expression, and indeed such is his right (though he has often abused it). It is disturbing that his supporters don’t allow his critics any peace when they exercise the self-same freedom.

Duterte shot his brod because he was a bully, he claimed; it is lamentable that he is now generating a drove of online bullies and encouraging their behavior. The Philippines does not need a leader who will further polarize us, no matter how much of a cowboy he is.

Honesty is a vital virtue but so are decency and integrity, prudence and dignity, courtesy and righteousness, humility and wisdom. These are what I seek in a leader. I have been praying for guidance since last year yet to date no one fits my bill. I have no presidential bet. I would rather not vote for president than be guilty of ensconcing someone whom my conscience cannot support.

The term is six years long. Much good – and harm – can be done in that time. I urge everyone reading this to take a step back and rationally consider the options before us. And please, if you believe in it, pray for guidance; pray for wisdom; pray for mercy.

 A simple man believes anything,
    but a prudent man gives thought to his steps.

Proverbs 14:15


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