The Opposition appears egregiously divided among the ideological purists and the political pragmatists. Amang Rodriguez said politics is addition. How can the opposition win if they do not know how to add? John Nery’s column today, “Warning: Lacson”, comes on the heels of the latest public relations fiasco of Vice-President Leni Robredo which she herself lit because of the answer she gave her co-anchor on her Sunday radio program, as to why she rejected Sen. Ping Lacson’s “unification formula.” He is clearly worried. On the Lacson – Tito Sotto tandem’s play for a centrist positioning that is “neither pro nor anti” Duterte, he is “certain that this move to the center will play well with many voters”.
Yesterday, Robredo’s disastrous posturing was still in the news cycle which prompted Senate President Tito Sotto to tweet a screenshot taken by his Chief of Staff, showing that it was the Robredo camp which approached him by way of a text message from Robredo’s Chief of Staff to his, in order to negate the impression given by Robredo that the Lacson-Sotto tandem approached her and not the other way around.
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The problem with the Opposition is that time is running out and so are their options at putting up a credible candidate against the administration. Former Ambassador Rigoberto Tiglao, in his column yesterday, pointed to the possible death of democracy in the country because of the asinine manner with which the Opposition under Robredo has been conducting itself in the past five years. Both Lacson and Sotto issued polite but obviously piqued statements in reaction to Robredo’s latest boo-boo. Both expressed disappointment because the proposal was shot down immediately during the meeting. Short of accusing Robredo of acting in bad faith, the two said that they expected the proposal to be thought over and then discussed again. In short, the unification formula wasn’t a take-it-or-leave-it proposition. Lacson added that he just rose to the challenge seeing as how the Vice-President also met with Sen. Dick Gordon over a possible alliance for the 2022 polls.
Nery is again using Lacson’s record as a Constabulary officer at the defunct Metrocom Intelligence and Security Group under Col. Rolando Abadilla and his posting as chief of Task Force Habagat under the Presidential Anti-Crime Commission against him. It’s clear that the public are behind this given that Lacson has been elected to Senate each time he ran and won convincingly. Nery even admits to the promise in Lacson’s “positioning himself as ‘Heneral ng Bayan,’ the People’s General” considering how the “Duterte campaign in 2016 proved that an entire presidential run can rest on the peace and order issue, even though, at best, it ranks only seventh in the list of voters’ concerns”. Nery goes on to compare Lacson with former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada and his bid for the Presidency in 2010 when there is nothing in common between former subordinate and superior. Estrada was out for vindication in 2010. If Cory did not pass away in 2009, Erap would’ve established another record for being the only candidate who ran for President twice and won. Lacson’s case is different because he is offering himself as an alternative to the public given the dearth of credible candidates. He could easily win reelection to the Senate but chose to rise up to the challenge, as he himself put it, because it is his political valedictory.
Lacson and Sotto are both 73 years old. They would be 79 at the end of their six-year term if they are successful. Contrast this with the Vice-President who is only 56. In a way, Lacson and Sotto are giving the political pragmatists among the public a choice; would they prefer more of the same under a Duterte or Marcos Presidency, or would they opt for a measure of change if they vote for Lacson and Sotto? In essence, the Lacson-Sotto tandem is keeping democracy alive in the country as opposed to what the traditional opposition under Robredo is doing.
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