Events, especially crises, bring out leaders but great leaders shape events, so goes an old leadership dictum.
American President Franklin D. Roosevelt steered his country through the Great Depression and World War II and led the organization of the United Nations.
His Presidency shaped America into what it is today and established an organization of the world's nations where conflicts are settled.
He was a leader who shaped events.
On the other hand, housewife Corazon C. Aquino stood out from the among the Filipinos crying for justice and was elected President of the Philippines following the long years of Martial Law.
Her performance as President was not extra-ordinary, leaving behind a country which literally groped in darkness because of a national power crisis, but she is fondly remembered as the Mother of the Nation who responded to the calls of the people to serve as their inspiration.
Davao City Mayor Rody Duterte's story is combination of both.
He is a leader who shaped events turning Davao City, a former Killing Fields of Communist assassins and a den of criminals, into one of the Safest Cities in the World.
Today, as events are unfolding before our very eyes, Duterte may yet become President of the Philippines not because he desires it but because there is a need for him to stand up and lead the country in these trying times.
Aside from Duterte, there is simply no one among the three other Presidential prospects who could lead the Philippines in these times when drugs and criminality beset the country, when millions of Filipinos have to leave the comforts of their homes and miss the embrace of their loved ones just to work in far-away places and the daily problem of traffic congestion in Metro Manila would go on for five long years before it could be given attention by the country's top leaders.
Vice President Jejomar Binay cannot and should not be President of this country.
He has become a symbol of brazen thievery in government service and a thick-faced politician who brushes off serious corruption charges as just political black propaganda.
Grace Poe Llamanzares, whose likeable personality and dramatic story as an orphan found abandoned in a church in Iloilo fascinated melodramatic Filipinos for a while, has shown a serious flaw in her political persona.
She lacks the intellectual depth to understand complex issues and problems confronting the country.
Poe could be a replay of the Cory Aquino Presidency, well-intentioned but naive and inexperienced in governance and highly dependent on advisers with self-serving interests.
Manuel Roxas III is a bright and honest public official but he simply does not have the "It" in human relations.
He commits one blunder after another - falling from a motorcycle without a helmet on and recently greeting the still grieving Zamboangueños "Happy Anniversary" on the date when rogue MNLF rebels attacked the city burning homes and killing people.
Recently, he was again caught on camera snarling at a Radio Veritas reporter who was recording his conversation with a Surigao tribal leader in an evacuation centre.
Roxas' disastrous handling of the situation in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda, failure to address the serious traffic situation in Metro Manila, drugs and criminality, and even corruption in his Department (the overpriced police vehicles as one of the proofs) has not helped change the impression that he is incompetent.
Duterte, in spite of issues that he is a womaniser, foul-mouthed and has the penchant to cut corners to achieve results, stands out as the only hope to steer the country in these trying times.
With drugs proliferating all over the country resulting in an estimated 3-million drug addicts, with crime statistics rising without any resolution in sight, with millions of Filipinos in the countryside unable to feel the much-ballyhooed economic progress of the country and with corruption permeating the core of public service, the incorruptible Duterte is perceived as the only Presidential prospect who could really change the country.
Indeed, Duterte has declared categorically that he is not interested to run for President but it has come to a point where it is no longer his choice but a moral obligation.
Duterte, who administration black propaganda operators said is suffering from cancer (I will tackle this in a future post), simply has to forget about his personal concerns and submit to the will of the majority of Filipinos looking of a leader in this trying tmes.
Duterte must, as a leader, end talking about the reasons why he does not want to be President.
The message to him is: "Shut Up And Run!"
Duterte has no choice but to run by Manny Pinol