In his piece “The Marcos maneuver”, Inquirer columnist Manuel L Quezon III (MLQ3) indulges himself with a bit of wishful thinking, hoping that the formidable administration coalition would break up and the Opposition taking back power in 2022.
What Ferdinand Martin Romualdez could not say about Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr. is that the former senator has his sights on the presidency, which makes it a problem for the whole Duterte-Marcos-Romualdez-Arroyo Axis. Even if allies peel away to fulfill their own ambitions—as Lacson and Sotto and others are already starting to do — the core coalitionists have to hold together.
For some reason, it seems the President isn’t keen on Ferdinand Jr. for veep; but is Ferdinand Jr. himself keen on being veep? The President can easily say the only person he trusts to have his back is his daughter as the next president. Which means Ferdinand Jr., and not Manny Pacquiao, is the real problem of the ruling coalition.
Actually, the worst case scenario is Bongbong Marcos, Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao, and Inday Sara “Daughterte” runs. That’s three plus The tandems of Ping Lacson – Tito Sotto, Leni Robredo – Antonio Trillanes (?), and Isko Moreno – Grace Poe (?), it becomes a five-way race. That was the same situation in 2016. Duterte won that election. Quezon is hoping that Robredo can “sneak” in the way she did in 2016. That time Robredo had the whole of government behind her with five other candidates as the source of votes for “SmartMagic”. As one of my more stoic friends put it, the Yellows created a monster in SmartMagic and now they can’t control it. But does MLQ3 think that Duterte and former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA) are both stupid? Bongbong? The President only projects an air of stupidity but he is not. That country bumpkin image is very deceiving. The opposition actually fell for it in 2016.
If Sara actually does not want to run, then doesn’t MLQ3 think that a Marcos-Duterte ticket is possible? I’m talking about Rodrigo not Sara. Pac-Man bolts the PDP-Laban and joins the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) of Sotto. Will Sotto not run for VP and give it to Pac-Man and become campaign manager instead? Eminent political strategist Malou Tiquia has noted the drop-off in the middle; the decreased support among the pro-administration and anti-administration bases. Lacson can appeal to that middle if he comes up with the correct messaging which makes it a head-to-head battle between the two tickets. Not political enemies but two versions of the same political leaning. But to my mind, any Presidential candidate who will challenge the Duterte brand needs to be as disruptive as Duterte was in 2016 if he wants to have a strong chance of success.
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The 2022 election is not exactly the same song-and-dance contest we’ve been having in the past. People are anxious and wary about and of the future. The only certainty is uncertainty. The inefficiency of the bureaucracy is made more evident by the pandemic. Inflation and unemployment is hitting them hard. The Opposition has obfuscated information about the vaccines to the point the people are confused. The local government units (LGUs) can’t get vaccination drives organized because they still refuse to adopt technology to make registration easier and the process orderly. What the people want to hear now are plans of action moving forward. This is not an ordinary election.
The next President should have a plan for his term in place even before the filing deadline in October. The Opposition should get its own house in order instead of constantly peeking at the neighbor’s on the other side of the fence. No other political party will coalesce with the Yellowidiots because they’re the kiss of death. They’re worse than COVID-19. They are dead men walking.
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