There was much rejoicing among the Yellowidiots yesterday. Their idol and symbol, Leni Robredo, finally confirmed what the public knew as fact already even before she made her announcement; she’s running for President. The Opposition went through convoluted contortions in their process of “selection”. “Unity” coalition 1Sambayan was established as a convenor group, to determine who would be the standard-bearer in the Presidential race for inclusivity among those opposed to the Duterte administration. No sooner had 1Sambayan announced the names of potential candidates did the same begin issuing statements that gave the impression that they would not be running. It was only Sen. Ping Lacson who formally begged off from the process because for him to agree to be included would be hypocritical on his part considering he was one of the principal sponsors of the Anti-Terrorism Bill in the Senate which the 1Sambayan convenors were opposed to. Isko Moreno didn’t beg off but said, also by way of a letter, that he was focusing on Manila’s pandemic response for the time being. All this transpired in June.
Robredo’s goal of “unifying the opposition” against President Rodrigo Duterte was apparently premised on the other presidentiables giving way to her. This was absurd because why would anyone seriously considering a presidential candidacy give way to another who is rating lower than him? In the specific case of Lacson, while Robredo registered higher survey numbers, Lacson’s approach to his candidacy was more strategic. Senate President Tito Sotto was going to be his running mate and he had the support of Renato De Villa and other retired senior Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) officers and Congressman Bebot Alvarez of Reporma. This is evident because while the Opposition is in disarray and only organizing now, the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) of Sotto and Lacson’s Reporma have joined forces to form a broad political coalition. Today they are signing another strategic alliance with the National Unity Party of Ronnie Puno, who has also been announced as their campaign manager.
The Yellowidiots certainly made a show of it yesterday at Robredo’s office. Other presidential candidates didn’t mount a production on the same scale as Robredo. Their campaign color is pink. Instead of a flag pin on the left side of her chest, Robredo wore a pink ribbon. So much for her love of country, right? Robredo also packaged herself as the nanay ng bayan (“mother of the nation”). The analogy she made was the country was a battered wife who, after suffering so much at the hands of her husband for the sake of her children, had finally decided to fight back. Obviously, she was referring to Duterte as the abuser. The Yellow acolytes lapped all of this up. Never mind that, as an economist-lawyer, Robredo didn’t give an idea of how she intended to solve the country’s problems as a result of the disruption caused by the pandemic.
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There was also the anomaly of her running as an independent when she filed her certificate of candidacy in the afternoon. She didn’t resign as Chair of the Liberal Party. Per the press release, she was running as an independent for “inclusivity” whatever that meant in their context which no one could figure out. Yesterday’s event was more of an appeal to public emotion than one where a political crusade was supposed to be launched for an election which is crucial for a country whose economy has been battered by the pandemic. It was also meant to highlight the “authoritarian”, “fascist”, “tyrannical dictatorship” of Duterte amongst the leftist-liberals making up Robredo’s support base. As far as Robredo and her ilk are concerned, they are the “genuine opposition”. All the rest are “Duterte-enablers”. It remains to be seen how this will play out as the electoral campaign progresses.
Robredo’s choice of Sen. Kiko Pangilinan as her running mate doesn’t bring any strategic advantage to their ticket. Pangilinan’s voter base consists of the fans of his wife Sharon “The Megastar” Cuneta. But the same would have a different view of the election in the context of the highest post in the land. It is not a base that the two can rely on. Robredo’s voter base is virtually non-existent. Her “victory” in 2016 should’ve come with command votes that she could’ve grown in the last five years. What’s striking is the fact that Bongbong Marcos continues to rank ahead of her in surveys even if he “lost” the 2016 Vice-Presidential race.
It is now a five-man race similar to 2016. More than likely we will have a plurality President again if the other candidates don’t withdraw or slide down to VP by joining the stronger tickets. At this point, the administration is also in a flux as Bongbong Marcos is without a VP. Bong Go is without a Presidential candidate. There is no word about a coalition between the two. The Partido Federal under which Marcos is running was formed by Agrarian Reform Secretary John Castricciones. By far the most organized political coalition is NPC-Reporma-NUP. It also has the best machinery on the ground and will be fielding a full Senate slate of twelve candidates. The politikaserye goes on.
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