Philippine Opposition partisans and “activists” are salivating over the victory of Democratic candidate Joe Biden over Donald Trump. Seeing no less than a former colonial master “triumph” over “tyranny” is an inspiration for these folks as they scrounge around for “parallels” with their own plight. With the 2022 national elections in the Philippines just around the corner, they now reflect on the challenges they face going up against the anointed candidate of a formidable incumbent, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.
At the moment, all the Philippine Opposition has to go for is an anti-Duterte platform and not much else. Nonetheless that doesn’t seem to stop them from drawing inspiration from Biden who also ran on an “I am NOT Donald Trump” platform. Both the US and Philippine Opposition camps also enjoyed the support of their countries’ respective mainstream media outlets and entertainment celebrities.
Unfortunately for the Yellowtards (the leading partisan bloc within the Opposition who are loyal to the Aquino-Cojuangco feudal clan), the similarities end there. Biden ran under the banner of a robust and mature party with a relatively coherent liberal ideology. In contrast, whoever will be leading the Philippines’ Opposition against Duterte’s endorsed candidate in the campaign for the 2022 election will be faced with the daunting task of hewing a motley collection of religious cult leaders, showbiz starlets, and power-hungry oligarchs and warlords into a pointed force that could be thrust into the heart of the Duterte edifice. Good luck with that.
Firstly, the various Opposition camps are united only by a hatred for Duterte and not much else. This means nothing will stop any one of these camps from fielding their own presidential bet for 2022 effectively spreading wide and thin any hope of any one of them posing even the slightest challenge to Duterte’s formidable following.
Second, most Opposition camps remain enamored by current “vice president” Leni Robredo whose claim to the role of “Opposition leader” seems to remain unchallenged for now. However, even in the unlikely scenario where all Opposition camps were to back Robredo as a single candidate against Duterte’s endorsed successor, it is unlikely that she could muster a strong enough following on her own to pose a threat specially considering her persistently strong association with the Yellowtards and their diminished political brand.
Third, the Opposition offers no vision or strategic alternative to the Duterte way. It is only the communists who offer a mature and consistent ideology which, many observers dismiss as more a liability than an asset to the broader Opposition community. The all-too-familiar ouster rhetoric which the Yellowtards share with the communists only raises a question both seem reluctant to answer: And then what?
Two familiar words describe the quaint fascination with this year’s elections in the US exhibited by members of the Philippine Opposition: colonial mentality. It is all a waste though seeing that the lessons underlying these events that abound seem to fly over the pointed heads of their “thought leaders”. There really is nothing about whatever turn politics in the US take that changes the fortunes of the Yellowtards. There is still that inconvenient detail of winning elections that they hadn’t gotten around to figuring out. Until they get around to thinking seriously about that capability gap, there really is nothing more they can offer to the Filipino beyond being the sad waste of space that they are. Filipinos deserve better.
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