TOUGH RODY VS SOFTIE GRACE
BY ROGER M. BALANZA
While his rivals sell promises to lure voters, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte offers real change if he makes it to Malacanang in next month’s presidential election.
This is the yawning difference between leading bet Duterte and his opponents Senator Grace Poe, former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and Vice President Jejomar Binay that could clinch for Duterte the Presidency in May.
A political science professor made this analysis as Duterte captured the lead in latest surveys of the Social Weather Stations (SWS) and Pulse Asia.
Professor and political analyst Dennis Coronacion said Duterte is now leading the presidential race, largely due to his “clear and consistent campaign chant: change.”
Duterte’s promises on solving peace and order problems and the formation of a federal government appeal to voters, many of whom are clamoring for change, said Coronacion in a report in abs-cbn.com.
Two months ahead of E-Day on May 9, Duterte, running under the banner of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Laban (PDP-Laban), grabbed the lead in the March 30 to April 2 survey of SWS and the March 29 to April 3 pooling by Pulse Asia survey.
For the first time, Duterte dislodged independent candidate Poe, who topped recent surveys. Binay, of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) and perennial top runner in early surveys, was down to third in a statistical tie with fourth placer Roxas of the ruling Liberal Party.
Change, not promises, is what is making Duterte click, according to Coronacion.
“I think it’s going to be about change. If we’re going to take into account what’s happening to the Duterte campaign, people are clamoring for change and a certain candidate, and (it’s) Duterte, (who) fits well (into) what people are looking for,” Coronacion said.
He adds that Duterte’s message is not only clear but also carries the decisiveness of a strong political will.
Voters understand Duterte’s simple campaign message, which also shows a “strong and decisive government,” said the political science professor.
Coronacion also said Duterte’s rise in popularity based on results of the latest surveys could also mean that Filipinos are growing to be politically mature and see hope in Duterte’s message of good governance.
“I think we are beginning to see that more and more Filipinos are yearning for a different leader,” he said.
“People are clamoring for a kind of leader who can decide quickly and that’s the kind of leadership that Duterte is offering,” he added.
This hunger for a decisive leadership cost Poe’s fall as front runner in the surveys.
Poe, Coronacion said, portrays a “soft government” compared to Duterte’s image as a strong leader.