Myths about Leadership and Personality in the Robredo-Marcos Rivalry

It seems that some anti-Marcos people are so desperate to keep Bongbong Marcos out of Malacanang that they are willing to cling to anything that gives them a ray of hope, even if that ray of hope is based on flawed logic. They claim that Leni Robredo is the cleanest politician around and support her only because of her declaration that she is there to block Marcos. They are willing to ignore her many gaffes, gaffes which lead me to believe that she isn’t familiar with her platform that someone else wrote up and she doesn’t call the shots; she’s just up there on the stage as a showperson trying to rile people up (well, there’s Rowena Guanzon too).

Anti-Marcos people like to debunk myths, such as saying Marcos’ era is not a golden age, the Tallano gold does not exist and Marcos was not a hero. But I’ll say that their choice of Robredo and their approach towards Marcos, as well as towards other people they dislike including Duterte, are also based on myth.

One of the narratives pressed by the Robredo side is that people can be separated into good and evil. Robredo is good, Marcos is evil. They will say, have the good people as your leaders, but get rid of the “evil” people (to the point of slander and murder; and, how can you be sure that the person you claim is evil really is? Do you have proof?). This is a ridiculous narrative if you know the realities of life.

In a previous article, I also tackled the myth that evil is in the blood. Someone claimed that BBM is as evil as his father because abuse is passed on in the blood. This is a ridiculous belief that fuels prejudice and leads to self-fulfilling prophecies. For example, when you assume that a person is born bad, you tend to treat the person according to your assumption, such as insulting and accusing them. If the person does turn bad, it could be blamed on your abuse of them. But if the person turns out to be good, then it means you lied to destroy the person. So if you support the idea of people being born good or evil, you support prejudice.

Being born good or evil is basically the doctrine of predestination. But this means people have no freedom or free will and are set from birth to be doomed or blessed. This is rejected not only by mainstream Christianity but also anyone with the common sense to see that people have choices and are not predestined to do certain actions.

A person’s character or “good and evil” status are not a result of blood. There are children of dictators in other countries who did not become “evil people,” even if they went into politics. If some “evil people’s” children got dragged into corruption, it is because of the culture and circumstances or the groups they joined, not because of blood.

Next, the idea that the Marcos side is evil and the Robredo side is good is ridiculous not only because of what I explained above but because of common sense. People are not instantly clean or good just because they oppose an evil side. I reiterate, one can play the angel first then be the devil later. People can change drastically at the drop of a hat. Or, dictators can be opposed by other dictators or “evil people.” It is ridiculous to believe that all “evil people” will always be friendly or allied to each other. When they fight, it just happens that other people are caught in the crossfire.

I also warn against today’s idolatrous veneration of “good persons.” There are no good persons, only good acts and maybe thoughts (if you could read their minds to judge them, but actually you still judge them based on actions). Just because a person does a good act one time doesn’t mean they are good forever. A person can do a good act once then make a big mistake later. Remember, we punish people for the mistakes; the previous good acts do not negate guilt as the law goes.

Robredo supporters believe she has a good personality and hold that a good personality leads to being a good leader. I doubt that she has that kind of personality, that’s just sycophancy. But even if she had it, the idea is wrong. Personality is not a reason for leadership quality (and dictatorship, yes, the other pole should be included). Good leadership is an effect of good decisions outside of personality. And those good decisions can actually be attributed not to the leaders, but to advisers and other circumstantial factors.

For example, I’m pretty sure the good decisions made by Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto are not his own. Someone else advised him, his mother Coney Reyes being the likeliest candidate. If the leader no longer has access to good ideas and advisers, they are likely to slip up and make a disastrous decision soon enough.

I’ll digress a bit to comment on the role of Russian President Vladmir Putin in the Ukraine conflict to show how this myth applies here too. I see posts like “Putin should stop it,” and similar. They believe that Putin decided everything and everyone else are yesmen to him. I see that as wrong. The Ukraine invasion was decided on by a group that includes Putin. It is not a one-man decision. It was not Hitler, Pol Pot or Stalin alone who decided to kill Jews in Europe, various people in Cambodia or suspected traitors in the Soviet Union. These were agreed upon by groups. One-man rule is another myth.

All this hyping of one-person leadership is a large part of propaganda. The vested interest and pressure groups would like you to be distracted with the “leader,” heaping praise for any seeming success or putting blame for any mistake, when in fact the groups are the actual ones responsible. That’s why choosing the “right leader” is hogwash to me.

The problems of the Philippines cannot be solved by choosing the “right” personalities. In fact, that is part of the problem: the personality cult. It’s part of the whole culture of patronage politics. You have to cut out the personality cult and patronage politics if you want good leadership in the Philippines. This also means dropping the idea of “good and evil persons” and accepting that people are not as clear-cut as we think. The life lesson here is, be careful in dealing with anyone, no matter how “good” or “evil” they seem. Learn to resist charisma and put everyone to the test.

If you think Marcos has a personality cult, Robredo has it too and it may even be a greater cult. Marcos’ following is understandable because of the long time his surname had been revered by many. With Robredo, I see nothing spectacular to be crazy about, yet her supporters treat her like the Messiah. In other words, her supporters are using the same thinking that led to the problem they are trying to solve.

And Marcos supporters and other people actually see this. The supporters are thinking, “what, you’re trying to play against Marcos using his own populist game? Pathetic! Then I’ll go with Marcos.” Then, Robredo supporters go house-to-house; but that only highlights that the opposition knows few other methods from the personality hype. As a result of this, Robredo is actually helping Marcos’ popularity. She actually looks more like a failing foil, like the Coyote to the Roadrunner.

Let’s say by some chance she wins. Who are the forces behind her? Are they really “good people” behind a “good person” as the Pink Fanatics would want us to believe? The Hilbay-Carpio tiff (Balay vs. Samar 2.0?) seems to be a portent of things to come and, if that becomes real and something major happens, the Pink Supporters might get shocked. I just hope some of them will follow their own promise: to watch their own “dear leader” and hold her accountable when she slips up.

30 Replies to “Myths about Leadership and Personality in the Robredo-Marcos Rivalry”

  1. There’s also this thing, the moment you give a slight positive to BBM/Marcos overall or any “bad” people opinion..These anti-Marcos people (most of them are this toxic seemingly resembles to Anti-Duterte) are attacking you out of nowhere even though you aren’t a supporter to any either side. I really don’t believe that any sane BBM/Leni supporters would devolve into internet “good vs bad” cult wars, it’s just mostly hateful, extreme, Anti/Pro individuals. These type of people are such headaches to deal with.

    1. Because the notion they believe is, if you are neutral, then you side with the oppressor. That saying by Desmond Tutu is now revealed to be hogwash.

  2. ChinoF,

    Your point does not hold water. If people around the group will give their opinion to their leaders, well, they can, but they don’t press button because they don’t make final decisions. It is their leader that will press the button as a go signal. Seems like you are forgetting histories of kingdoms and emperors who were the ones making the ultimate decisions even how cruel and unacceptable they were.

    Your narravative is beating around the bush and proposing lots of unverified theories as if leaders cannot make decisions themselves. Based on long history, the leaders are to blame because as I pointed out above, they were the ones who pressed the button so the buck stops at them.

    Applying that to presidential candidates, BBM has the circumstantial evidences to prove that he is one of the unlikely presidentiables who will do good things. First, he is an administrator of FEM estate which he keeps on defending for years and that many Philippine Supreme Court and high court decisions abroad had proven already that many of FEM properties were acquired illegally aside from the taxes and interests that were long overdue. BBM also keeps on insisting that his diploma abroad is equivalent to a degree when it was proven it was not. BBM also was convicted of failure to file income taxes that should have him meted out with punishment if not for the Court of Appeals that deleted the imprisonment decision of the RTC. BBM was also a politician for Ilocos Norte since 1980 as Vice Governor, Governor, Congressman and Senator where he did not improve the province in terms of wealth creation, the reason why it is still not in the list of top 10 wealthy provinces in the Philippines. BBM was adamant not to admit any single mistake that his father did to the country which was debunked by history based on documentary evidence. BBM’s mother Imelda was convicted by 7 counts of graft by the Sandiganbayan.

    Based on the above facts I cited and many other facts that are not mentioned above, clearly BBM did not make good and would likely not make anything good when he becomes a president based on his actions he showed before and especially that he is also surrounded by people who are not good influencers. For sure, BBM’s attention would be divided on his job as a president and his obligation as an heir to his father and his mother’s case pending in the Supreme Court. He is incompetent enough to compete for his province Ilocos Norte, how much more for the whole country? I think all his promises for the Philippines will come to nothing. I find it hard to believe you keep on defending this guy BBM when nothing good or special comes out of him in his leadership history.

    1. I disagree of course with your point about emperors and kings. Historians have argued that despite these figures “pressing the button” on the final decision, it was previously arrived at by group dynamics. Even “pressing the button” could be decided by the group. But even if one-man rule was true for monarchs in the old days, it most likely isn’t true now.

      Blaming only the leader is a way of absolving other people of their part.

      I’m not defending BBM. I just believe Robredo is the wrong person to be his “archenemy.”

      1. Pressing the button could be decided by the group? So you mean to say leader has the license to point finger on who is to blame if the decision he made was a wrong one? That leader will point finger to the group behind him? Sounds like a ridiculous idea. You were giving wrong notion that the leader is just a puppet incapable of arriving at his own independent decision. Why would someone elect a leader BTW if he cannot make his own choice?

        Reality speaks that, the group of people will hand to the leader the problem and its solutions and/or circumstances in front of him, they can influence to some sort but the leader will exercise his option even to the disagreement by the group. That’s the reality and based on history. You are making your own theory that was not practice before.

        As I said the bucks stops with the leader. The ultimate blame will be on the leader who pressed the button as cited by many history books. Others will be implicated in the crime but they will be labeled as mere subordinates who just followed their superior’s order based on command responsibility.

        Let me just remind you that BBM is famous only on his surname. Without Marcos in his name and if we base on his leadership performance, he is a nobody. Thus, opposition has a point against him just like how you threw shades at Noynoy Aquino’s resume when you and this website were an opposition before.

        1. The problem with the “the buck stops with the leader” is you will only blame the leader, but leave his cohorts who should share accountability running free. That’s part of the problem with the Philippines. The buck should be shared by all involved and shouldn’t stop with with the leader.

        2. Of course the buck stops with the leader as practice and as written in history. That’s also adopted by international law and as ratified/signed by many countries including the Philippines.

          The command/superior responsibility allows leaders of the country to be criminally liable for the crimes committed by their subordinates. That’s also being adopted in bureaucracy. If you don’t agree with that then you are going against the fundamental principle of law, customs, and practice long held by many countries. If you insist on the group’s responsibility, then you have to revise the laws or make your own world where you might instead elect the likes of board of regents or council of elders rather than the head of State or Government where you can comfortably blame the group instead of pinpointing a single individual. That may be acceptable.

        3. I think you’re going on a slippery slope, telling me I’m going against international law. I’m sure international analysts know better.

          Oh wait, if that’s what international players do, stop the buck at the leader… no wonder international relations is a mess. They don’t really hit the problem at the root. That’s laziness, focusing on one person to hold all accountability, mainly as a scapegoat.

          Despite it being a long-believed adage, reality has shown that it’s not enough that the buck stops with the leader. I never said the leader should pass the buck. But when the buck stops with the leader and only the leader, I think that itself is passing the buck when you deliberately let all the other people off the hook.

        4. The group is not off the hook but the ultimate blame is on the leader so the buck stops with him as echoed by the concept of superior/command responsibility. I think I said enough already, I don’t have to repeat what I said above. Seems like you lose touch with reality and in practice that’s why you want to blame everybody. Because in history, I have yet to find a leader who puts the blame on his group over his failed management decision rather than his own. A true leader will always accept his mistakes, his subordinates mistakes are also his mistakes. And no other names in history books being highlighted as the one to be blame other than the names of the leader of a nation who instigated irresponsible decisions that is being castigated by the sovereign States. If you don’t see it as a reality then you are probably deluding yourself.

        5. I’m not looking for a leader who blames his subordinates. It is we on the outside and who are supposed to be served by the leaders and his group who look for accountability from all of them. For example, even after Marcos was deposed, the Mendiola Massacre still happened because all those who actually committed atrocities on the ground were left in place and they repeated what they did. History highlights single names because that’s the laziness and shortsightedness of the human psyche or maybe even just the human writers and historians. Now that we know better, we should avoid going back to the old shortsightedness and see more clearly that the buck is with everyone.

        6. Are you saying also not to blame Cory Aquino, Ramos, Erap, Gloria or Noynoy Aquino in their supposed failed management because they have group behind them? Yeah, blame everybody not just these names. So it is useless to say who is the best or worse president in history because they have groups behind them anyway who decided for them. If you like, blame also this website and those who support behind this because it keeps blaming only Noynoy and Cory Aquino alone in their terms as president and not the other personalities involved around them. That as you said a sign of shortsightedness and laziness. C’mon, don’t be selective. Don’t apply double standard. Keep rocking!

        7. Lol, nice gaslighting there.
          Let me add, just because something is the prevailing or accepted idea internationally or anywhere doesn’t mean it can’t be challenged. We should challenge these ideas, because even if they were followed for a long time, they can still turn out to be wrong later on as new information and discoveries appear.

    2. What you said about BBM has the semblance of truth and I agree with you, those issues are heavily leaning against him.

      Question: But why is he still topping the surveys?

        1. Ah, you mean BBM really has no distinct quality that makes him best suited to be the leader of the country.

      1. There were many factors that affect the voting perception in favor of BBM, to wit;

        1. BBM has benefited from the loyalist or die hard or cult supporters of FEM. They thought martial law and the 20yrs straight presidency of FEM catapulted the Philippines into a category of a developed and disciplined country. Research showed in the 1980s before the excile of FEM to Hawii, the Philippines ranked 3rd-4th in Southeast Asian Countries in development below the likes of Singapore, Malaysia and at par with Thailand. We were not disciplined, in fact CPP-NPA assembled at the presidency of FEM in 1960s and when he was about to leave they grew up to 10 thousand in 1985-86. We were also debt trapped and inflation was high; FEM even tried to lend money from former Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew but he was denied saying Singapore will never see that money again. In fact, Lee Kuan Yew was one of the fierciest critics of FEM. Thus, he did not approve of the administration of the latter.

        2. Fake news are rampant in the internet that influenced the gullible minds of voters. Most of these voters are lazy and don’t give time to research the veracity of the news as long as they perceived them as true and in favor of BBM.

        3. Voters don’t care about the issues of mediocre work exp., fake degree, tax return conviction of BBM so long as he is a Marcos then he is beyond criticism. I call them blind followers.

        4. Most voters don’t really know exactly what achievements did BBM has ever achieved, if there’s any, in his political career so long as I said he is a Marcos. These voters are not educated enough.

        5. BBM has also benefited from the supporters of Inday Sara. They are making many promises especially BBM which I doubt will come true especially that he did not materialize them in his home province Ilocos Norte for 20+years.

        Filipinos are supposed to get rid of political dynasties and tainted old names, but they are still willing to make stupid moves and somehow expect different results.

        1. So you’re basically saying then that the majority of Filipino voters who favour Bongbong Marcos and Sara Duterte are “blind”, “stupid”, and “gullible”? Even if that were the case, democracy makes no judgment about intelligence and sentiment — only how many votes were cast in one or the other candidates’ favour.

          Ultimately this just means that the Opposition led by the Yellowtard candidate Leni Robredo were abject failures in competing for the favours of the voting public during the campaign. You can cite all sorts of reasons why BBM and Sara remain the preferred choice of Filipino voters (according to reports issued by reputable polling firms). At the end of the day, this was a competition for votes and the camp better at competing wins.

        2. Welcome to Philippine Democracy, where it’s everyone’s fault including you and me. That’s it.

        3. It seems that Jason here, blindly and lazily, has ingrained that collective Yellow-turned-Pink mentality (aka Bogus Good vs Evil mentality) characterized by that viral lady with her dog reprimanding severely a UPD random jogger for simply wearing a red face mask.

        4. Bbm may not be great.

          Not yet.

          But the tides of history have given him this chance at immortality, the same chance so graciously given to pnoy(who is dead and is now in retard heaven), and which he thoroughly squandered like some idiot child throwing away expensive cakes.

          It is now up to Bbm to seize it, make it his own.
          To be the great man his father should have become.

        5. benigno,

          Of course, winning matters at the end of the day provided it was done fairly. But this doesn’t negate the facts the quality of voters we have – they are uninformed and misled.

          If voter’s choice is based on intelligence and quality, I’m sure they won’t elect BBM. He has no good track record. He did not improve quality of life and economy in Ilocos Norte. It is stagnant, highly agricultural and no industries and innovation. When he ruled as governor in Ilocos Norte, poverty incidence rose to highest in 2003 and 2006 respectively, and was the poorest in Ilocos Region according to Philippine Statistics. Most of the municipalities are in 3rd-4th-5th class municipalities. He did not pass bills that are game changer during his time as congressman and senator. He is also an opposite of his father FEM. Unlike FEM, BBM was not intelligent in his class, not a lawyer, did not write and publish books of knowledge, not an eloquent speaker, not a real advocate of infrastructure and modernization in contrast to what he is promising right now. In fact, the windmill in Ilocos, where he is so proud of that but whose owner is private, they did not compliment BBM for that windmill’s establishment. I wonder what BBM did in Ilocos Norte for 20 years? Was he all the time just sleeping there? Ilocos Norte was stagnant and remains stagnant despite Marcos Clan’s ruling.

          Given that BBM is now a senior citizen but presumed to be lazy, lackluster, uninnovative leader in Ilocos Norte for many years, why would voters trust him to rule the country for 6 years since those bad attributes of him were showed most of his adult life? If their purpose is to just get rid of the liberal party and its allies, that’s love for self-interest and not for our country. If they are fanatics of FEM, know that BBM is the complete opposite of his ability. If we all use objectivity and logic, we won’t choose BBM because he is an opposite of logic and intelligence. If they think other candidates are puppet of oligarchs and NPA, well, based on latest results, the Philippines is 4th in crony capitalism today under the watch of Duterte, 5th in the time of Noynoy Aquino. So it presumed oligarchs will stay, or safe to say, the president will choose his own oligarchs. And under Duterte’s watch, NPA and Abu Sayyaf surrenderees were given housing and allowances and even trip to Hongkong. Yes, that was published in PNA – a government news website. So we should not believe that government is all the time unforgiving and unfriendly to those terrorist. We will also expect that the next president cannot get rid of NPA completely same with corruption, the least is just to minimize.

      2. My take is:

        1. Nostalgia factor. The Marcos name alone won’t have value without nostalgia. Old people, my mom included, say that life was better and *simpler* in the old days. Walang mga gadget gadget na yan, less traffic, not too many squatters, the young generation would obey the elders without question, freebies from the gov’t, that’s what they long for a return to. They all find this in the Marcos Era.

        2. Second, some who were anti-Marcos, who you’d assume were also anti-corrupt, turned out to be corrupt. For example, Cory Aquino’s regime was also marked by widespread corruption that disgruntled military mounted coup d’etats. Same with her son’s regime with DAP. From PCGG, recovered money got stolen again (This was said in a foreign article). But following Filipino reasoning, hindi puede both bad, dapat one good, one bad. So instead of Aquinos good, Marcos bad, people believe it’s the other way around. But that one good, one bad mentality in the first place was pushed by the anti-Marcos crowd. Perhaps there is some Cold War rhetorical influence here.

        3. Third, there is the narrative that the US orchestrated the crises in the Philippines as the way to depose Marcos. You have the book Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins and articles from the LaRouche Report as their sources. Plus, former US Secretary of State George Schultz is reputed to have said something in his memoir confirming that they orchestrated events. Marcos loyalists believe this to the hilt. Then some raise US interventionism in Iran, Guatemala, Iraq (presence of WMDs was proven to be a lie) and other countries where the CIA deposed national leaders as proof that such inventionism in the Philippines was likely.

        You tell the Marcos loyalists, it’s all fake news, all propaganda, they won’t have it. They believe their version is the truth. Even I doubt the propaganda angle. Marcos loyalists have held their beliefs for a long time. Any recent ‘converts’ are likely to be few.

  3. Good article.

    Robredo is a terrible candidate with very little positive traits. Which makes her supporters even more moronic because they are supporting a candidate who is just a continuation of the shitty years of yellow control (and all the incompetent who work with the yellows)

    The problem is putting BBM in charge is not helping. By any metric he was not successful in running Ilocos Norte and he was not successful in the senate, so anyone who is arguing he will be successful now is making a leap of faith based on very little evidence.

    1. Agree about BBM too. Corruption and problems will remain under him, but it’s more because these are engrained in the system. I’m not a believer of the alarmist claim that he’ll impose martial law or order people killed at once. There are safeguards against those already, and those claims are propaganda anyway.

  4. Ping, manny, isko have all but surrendered.

    And now for the delusional pinktards and their fake fappet leni.

    The end is near.

    It will be done.

  5. Supporters of BBM are generally a mixture of a lot of things. When Ferdinand was ousted in ’86, there was a sizable Marcos loyalists who have been orphaned. That group and their descendants are now leading the BBM pack. These are the diehards, solid and ‘Marcos pa rin’ tribes that was just waiting for the right time for a Marcos comeback. This tribe will settle with any one so long as he/she has a Marcos label in his/her name. And they got what they wish for in BBM.

    Then there was those who were sitting on the sidelines when EDSA was happening. These people are ‘neutral’ (in Tagalog, sigurista) in the sense that they only shift sides when the trend is clear and final. In the vernacular, we call this group ‘balimbings’ (turncoats). And
    balimbings has been around, in fact, they make up the bulk of the electoral politics.

    And then there is also those who have become disgruntled upon realizing that their lot really did not improve after Marcos was removed. They put all their eggs on one basket (the opposition) hoping that the country is bound for a turnaround only to find out nothing has changed, aside from the faces. More of them even think that it gotten worse. These are the political converts who sincerely believed the spirit and message of EDSA.

    Not far from behind in the mix of things are the ‘have’ groups (the elites, technocrats and bourgeois) identified with the Marcoses that silently faded in ’86 but now are betting heavily on BBM.

    As for the millennials? For sure, this group was responsible in pushing up BBM’s survey numbers. These people believed that if it happened before they were born it did not happen. ?

      1. house to house “tokhang style” campaign will work only on open hearts.

        But hearts are closed to the pink idiots , who have squandered far too many chances.

        The day belongs to bbm.

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