In his Inquirer piece “President Robredo”, Joel Ruiz Butuyan refers to a “political force” that, Buntuyan suggests, could include former supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte who are “completely disillusioned now, and don’t want his chosen candidate as his successor.” He also proposes that members of this political force “concede that Vice President Leni Robredo is our ideal next president” but are “predisposed not to vote for her because they doubt her winnability”.
Butuyan is probably referring to the growing middle which is the divide between the disillusioned among the pro-Opposition and the pro-Administration partisans who are described as persuadable. Their numbers haven’t been quantified in a survey yet. But what is a fact is the 21-45 demographic is a total of about 40 million Filipinos come May 2022 per the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) estimate. They are the largest bloc in a voting population estimated by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to be 60 million voters. Most of those who are running for or have declared their intent to run for President have been made aware of this by their core campaign staffers. But as one pollster told me last year, the problem with millennials and Gen-Zers is they’re not a reliable voter base because they cannot come up with a principled stand. This was evident in Robredo’s own statement where she claimed they had the support from this demographic but it didn’t translate into votes for victory in the 2019 midterm because they were either unregistered or didn’t vote.
For now, the Opposition seems to be pursuing a divide-and-conquer strategy. Split the Visayas-Mindanao vote which is the Duterte base and win in vote-rich regions in Luzon as the path to victory in 2022. The key to this strategy is Senator Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao. However, judging by the reaction to his antics up to last week, the chances of his accomplishing the task the Opposition wants him to do is slim. Pac-Man continues to have the adulation and popularity but Filipinos know better than to vote for him as President. If there had been any palpable improvement in Robredo’s numbers in the last five years, I’d be inclined to give credence to this argument. The problem is there is none. This only reinforces the belief that former Senator Bongbong Marcos was cheated out of victory in 2016 since he is still polling in the top five be it for President or Vice-President. He would be a shoo-in if he runs for the Senate again.
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The recent death of former President Noynoy “PNoy” Aquino has done nothing for the opposition. President Duterte declared a ten-day mourning period up to July 4. There was not much fanfare yesterday. There were more memes about the anniversary of independence from the Americans than what would be referred to in the vernacular as the “babang-luksa” for Aquino. Robredo herself has doubts about her winnability. She filed for a change in residence ostensibly because of the permits needed for the construction of a house for her siblings after they received their inheritance from their mother. But it is obvious that her fallback is to run as Governor of Camarines Sur. As Naga is a chartered city, its residents don’t vote in provincial elections.
It’s a shame the way op-ed columnists resort to fooling the public into believing a lie. There is nothing sincere about Robredo’s intentions. All along she has been playing a game. She is the political heiress of her husband and she isn’t the reluctant politician she proclaims herself to be. Perhaps, if she were more honest about her intentions, the public would have a better view of her. The basic problem of Robredo is she is more image than substance. She is Exhibit A for what covert narcissism is all about. It’s high-time that her feet start touching the ground again for her days in the limelight are numbered. If her province mate is to be believed, she doesn’t even have a lock on the governorship if she runs.
The Chief Political Analyst of Digivoice, Antonio Contreras, has released the results of their survey showing Robredo trailing in Region 5 if she runs for President. Her proxies in her hometown of Naga haven’t done much for their constituents. She herself has chosen to focus on other cities and municipalities where she can gain political mileage such as Cebu and the National Capital Region (NCR). Her criticism of the pandemic response in the Davao City local government unit (LGU) attracted an acerbic statement from Inday Sara “Daughterte” which she didn’t bother to reply to anymore. The truth is no political party in its right mind, would enter into an alliance or a coalition with the Yellows because their brand is a kiss of death to any election campaign. No one wants to admit it but the members of the Liberal Party and its allies, are all dead men walking. It’s about time they acknowledge this reality. The end is near.
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