God willing, Rodrigo Roa Duterte will be officially proclaimed the 16th President of the Republic of the Philippines before this day ends. It is the culmination of perhaps the most unpredictable, the most unorthodox, the most exciting and the most rewarding political campaign in the nation’s history.
President Duterte makes history at least four reasons: the first Mindanaoan to become President, the oldest to be elected President, the first to jump straight into a national position from a local post (Cory Aquino did not hold any previous office) and the first social media president in Philippine history.
President Duterte’s victory is – without equivocation – the victory of all those who contributed to his campaign in whatever capacity.
And yet, at the end of the day, the proclamation is only the beginning.
It won’t be a pleasure cruise. Many of those who vehemently campaigned against him will continue to do so. Of course, there are also many who suddenly developed amnesia and now sing paeans to him like they had been doing it all their lives. But that’s a different story.
For one reason or another, some of those who passionately worked for him then will no longer do so and – might even work against him instead. That’s how the cookie crumbles.
When everything is said and done, however, every Filipino should bear in mind that this is our country and that President Duterte is now the head of state. His success is our success in the same manner that his failure is our failure.
President Rody has never been a creature of convention and convenience so there will have to be a lot of adjustments. He has always been his own man and no one can accuse him of being someone else’s lackey. He has and will, always, rise and fall on his own merits.
Those who love this country enough, pray for his success. Those who don’t seek not his failure but those of our people. At 71, he does not have much time to live and none to waste. For one who has lived virtually a spartan life shorn of luxury and extravagance in a nation where excess and abuse have been the norms of the day for politicians, there is no reason to expect otherwise.
Even without the star on his proclamation, let this be a day of celebration, of hope and, more than ever, a day of prayer. In a country and a time where the odds for success are high if not improbable, we should not – regardless of our religious affiliations – proceed without even a word of prayer to the Almighty.
God bless the Filipino!