In a little over a month, the national campaign for the Presidency and two other national positions will start.

While the latest surveys indicate that the man we hope would be the next President is ranked 2nd or 4th, depending on which survey – Pulse Asia or SWS – one would believe, Davao City Mayor Rody Duterte remains the favorite of the masa.

Barring any monumental blunder, Duterte will be, with God’s grace, the next President of the country.


My reasons for making this bold prediction are plain and simple.

Senator Grace Poe Llamanzares, who is the preferred candidate outside of Jejomar Binay, Manuel Roxas III and Miriam Defensor-Santiago, is effectively out of the race.

Even the last ditch effort by the Poe camp to save her presidential bid will not be of any help.

With the COMELEC En Banc disqualifying her, funders will expected to shy away from her for the simple reason that they could not gamble their “investments” on a presidential candidate who has been disqualified.

Binay’s recent surge in the surveys is temporary. It was just a result of the hurt and disappointment by many devout Catholics over the unfortunate joke-which-went-too-far made by Duterte about Pope Francis and Metro Manila traffic.

It could also be attributed to the disqualification of Poe and the verbal spat between Duterte and Roxas.

Lady Miriam has never been in the race. After filing her COC for President, the fiery Senator from Iloilo was content with issuing statements through the social media rather than go into serious organising to support her presidential bid.

The most pathetic fate, however, is that of Roxas, who in spite of the well-financed and highly organised campaign, did not benefit from Poe’s disqualification or Duterte’s gaffe.

Until today, I still could not find any reason to believe SWS survey figures placing him higher than Duterte.

That is simply INCREDIBLE in capital letters. You only have to talk to people all over the country to understand that Roxas is the least likable among the Presidential candidates.

I am suspecting that the SWS survey is part of a grand scheme to make it appear that Roxas is in contention for the Presidency to justify the election results gained out of cheating.

Duterte will prevail in the end because he is the only candidate who understands the problems confronting the country and the fears gripping the people.

Drugs, Criminality and Corruption are core issues which no other candidate could carry with conviction and credibility as much as Duterte given his track record.

Added to that, the agriculture sector has its eyes on Duterte simply because he is the only candidate who talks about farming and producing food for the 110 million Filipinos.

It is not going to be easy sailing for the Duterte Presidential bid, however.

First, there is the problem of money. Duterte has declared he will not allow his Presidency to be compromised by accepting financial contributions from people with vested interests.

Second, the party endorsing Duterte, PDP Laban, is a shell of a party whose ranks have been raided by the party in power over the years.

Except for the hardcore believers of PDP Laban’s core advocacies, there is not much political machinery to talk about in the countryside.

Third, Duterte’s language while generally tamer now compared to how it was before Christmas, is proving to be an added burden to his followers who are trying to convince the undecided to support him.

Detractors have used this “strange” language used by Duterte in emphasizing his views by portraying him as an unstable, disrespectful, irreverent, bullying and cussing person.

This is made worse by Duterte’s rabid followers who have been labeled by political opponents as “Dutertards,” as in Duterte’s retarded minions, or who call themselves “DDS” or Duterte’s Die-Hard Supporters.

They invariably call Duterte’s non-believers as “addicts” or “criminals” and swarm on those who make negative comments with the ferocity of bees whose hive has been touched.

These legions of Duterte supporters are actually made up of ordinary Filipinos, Overseas Filipino Workers, victims of drugs and criminality and even blue-collar workers tired of the system.

In their desire to support Duterte and even protect and defend him when he is under attack, they have metamorphosed into a menacing social media army who launch counter-attacks and even threaten the critics of their idol.

Initially, their actions were amusing and even admirable.

Lately, however, they have been alienating even those who are still vacillating in their choice for President.

It has become a counter-productive activity.

Before, it gets worse, let me convey this message to Duterte’s Die-hard Supporters.

We have the best presidential candidate in Duterte, that is in spite of his human frailties and his sometimes foul language.

He is the only presidential candidate who could truly stop drugs and criminality in the country and protect our children and loved ones.

Duterte has no record of corruption, unlike Binay and even Roxas who allowed the purchase of overpriced police cars as DILG secretary and whose party is now involved in mulcting financial contributions from contractors who have been awarded government projects.

Duterte is the only presidential candidate who understands agriculture and the hardships of farmers.

Duterte is the only presidential candidate who could talk to all armed groups who have been fighting government – NPA, MILF and MNLF.

Duterte is the only candidate who has openly declared that he will support the rights of Filipino workers even at the risk of displeasing big businessmen.

He is the only presidential bet who has clearly indicated that he will look after the welfare of policemen, army soldiers, teachers and other neglected government workers by vowing high pay and better benefits for them.

Duterte is the only presidential candidate who has given the millions of Overseas Filipino Workers the inspiration and the hope that under his Presidency, their children and their loved ones will be protected from drugs and criminals.

He is the only presidential candidate who could impose discipline and enforce the law as proven by his achievements in Davao City.

To Duterte’s supporters, my message is “Let us animate non-believers and the undecided with stories of how reliable Duterte is as a leader rather than intimidate them.”

The task now is to promote Duterte and contribute to the effort of exorcising the evil image that his detractors would like to paint of him.

Let us all remember: Politics is a game of numbers. The greater is your number, the better is your chance of bringing about the Change that every Filipino dreams of.

No more intimidation. Starting today, it should be positive promotion.

Let us all do this if we truly want Change.

(Photos show my brother, Chief Mate Celso Piñol and the crew of his international vessel rooting for Duterte, a crowd of supporters mobbing Vice Presidential candidate Alan Peter Cayetano in Kidapawan City and Duterte Die-hard Supporters in front of the COMELEC.)



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