Several Philippine Presidential candidates decided to spend Easter Sunday morning holding a press conference to expose the lengths current Vice President and Presidential candidate Leonor “Leni” Robredo has been going to ensure her victory against former Senator and Presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr in the 2022 Presidential Elections.
Presidential candidates Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko” Moreno together with Senators Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, and former Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales held a press conference to clarify, contrary to rumours circulating, that they are not withdrawing from the Presidential race. They also emphasised that Robredo’s camp is the source of the disinformation about their supposed withdrawal from the race.
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While there were only three Presidential candidates present in the press conference, Senator Manny Pacquiao and former Presidential Spokeman Ernesto Abella both of whom couldn’t join them were in agreement with this move to expose the deceit being engaged in by Robredo’s camp. The Presidential candidates decided to hold a press conference to put a stop to the pressure being put on them to withdraw. They are concerned that their supporters are being misled into thinking that they are withdrawing.
The Presidential candidates in the press conference all admitted that they were being offered money to withdraw and support Robredo. Moreno even reportedly said that Robredo’s camp had been asking them to make the “ultimate sacrifice” and withdraw. Moreno stated that asking them to withdraw is an insult and suggested that Robredo should be the one to withdraw and make this “ultimate sacrifice” she is advising them to do.
Moreno came across like he was really annoyed at Robredo for asking him to withdraw. He also said that Robredo only ran because she has a personal grudge against Marcos. Her camp’s style of demonising the Marcoses evidently did not even work so he is suggesting Robredo should withdraw instead. Moreno added that at least he and the other candidates have something to offer the Filipino people whereas Robredo’s only goal is to beat Marcos. This is likely to be true because Robredo’s win in the 2016 election will be scrutinised once again. People are already asking where the people who voted for her then have gone. Her loss in the Presidential race will validate some people’s belief that her win as Vice President is the result of electoral fraud. Robredo doesn’t want to lose against Marcos because that would be embarrassing for her. Her decision to run is purely for selfish reasons and a lot of people can see that.
Moreno is correct in saying that asking them to withdraw and give their support to Robredo is insulting. It’s presumptuous and tantamount to bullying. Robredo regards her fellow candidates as mere nuisances. What makes Robredo’s camp think that all the votes intended for the other Presidential candidates on the tail end of the popularity surveys will automatically go to Robredo? If the voters really wanted to support Robredo, they would have chosen her from the beginning. Most of the voters who chose to support other Presidential candidates are doing it because they use their heads and they are obviously tired of the Liberal Party candidates. They are not the type of people who will just do what they are told. Norberto Gonzales also said this during the press conference. He said that there is no guarantee that his supporters will go to Robredo even if he withdraws.
Moreno went further to say that Leni’s camp is full of lies and propaganda. He recalled that in a meeting with Robredo before the filing of certificate of candidacy, she swore that she wasn’t running for the Presidency and was simply seeking unity. He was genuinely surprised when she eventually filed her candidacy to run. Moreno is of the opinion that Robredo’s character is questionable and cannot be trusted.
It’s baffling to think that Robredo’s camp still thinks that this tactic of asking other candidates to withdraw will work considering former Presidential aspirant Mar Roxas did the exact same thing in 2016. Back then he also asked other Presidential candidates in a press conference to withdraw and unite against then leading presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte. Of course no one backed out. If the call for so-called “unity” against the most popular candidate didn’t work then, what makes them think it will work now? And why is it always the Liberal Party candidate who should remain in the race? They really think they are God’s gift to the Filipino people!
It’s such a shame mainstream media is not making more noise about the explosive revelations the other Presidential candidates shared in their press conference. The candidates were basically saying that Robredo is planning to wreak havoc if she loses to Marcos and that she will not accept the will of the people expressed through these elections. They strongly implied that Robredo is in bed with terrorist groups particularly parties most associated with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). At one point, Robredo even warned that there will be chaos if she doesn’t win the Presidency. It means we can expect career protesters on the streets again shouting those usual “democracy is dead” slogans if Marcos wins.
The journalists who were in the press conference couldn’t comprehend the purpose behind the press conference. Most of them kept asking the same questions. They couldn’t seem to think outside the box. They kept asking if the Presidential candidates in the conference are willing to withdraw to unite behind one candidate. It’s like they all believe that, of course, it is natural to be against Marcos. They couldn’t seem to understand why the other candidates would not agree to withdraw! It’s not surprising considering a lot of members of mainstream media are allied with the Liberal Party and believe in the so-called “EDSA spirit” even though it had already been debunked as a sham.
Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto had to explain the agenda in plain language so that journalists would stop repeating their questions. The Presidential candidates want Leni’s camp to stop pressuring them to withdraw. Sotto and his fellow Opposition candidates emphasised that they will support legitimate election results even if Marcos wins and they will fight for an honest election.
Senator Lacson also reiterated that Robredo’s camp should stop subverting the electorate. He said that he will join the fight against the people threatening the peace and security in the country just because they cannot accept the result of the election.
Robredo’s supporters are now summarily dismissing the claims of the other Presidential candidates against her as plain instances of “misogyny” and “toxic masculinity”. The fact is, these men did not use Robredo’s gender as a cornerstone of their arguments and were respectful in the manner with which they raised their concerns. However, Moreno did point out that they were reluctant to speak out against Robredo in the past because she is a woman. That was likely in considering that gender is an actual cornerstone of the Robredo campaign and therefore a space the men found themselves tiptoeing around all that time. Indeed, it had reached a point where they just had to collectively speak out against her camp’s modus operandi of emotional blackmail. Playing the Victim Card is a pillar of the Robredo campaign and asserting that she is being attacked just because she is a woman is their weapon of choice.
One thing is for sure, Robredo is such a bully and a narcissist for demanding other candidates to withdraw just so she can win. She needs a lesson in humility. If this press conference dedicated to exposing her lies and deceit doesn’t help her realise that she is going too far with her ambition and selfishness, then hopefully losing the election will.
In life, things are not always what they seem.