Why is Leni Robredo still in the news? Because the Philippine Opposition can’t attract REAL political talent.

Opposition “thought leaders” decry what they perceive to be a continued haranguing of “former vice president” Leni Robredo. Robredo, we recall “led” the Philippine Opposition to a crushing defeat in the 2022 presidential elections — an election that the Opposition deemed too important to lose. In actual practice, they did not seem to have considered it important enough to unite under a single banner to go up against what was clearly a formidable opponent. Worse, they chose Leni Robredo to be their “leader” — effectively creating a clique of wokes, associating themselves with a social elite, and effectively alienating the rest of the electorate. That is, quite simply, Losing Elections 101.

Yet here remains Leni Robredo, still the darling of Mainstream Philippine Media…

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Granted, Big Corporate Philippine Media is under pressure from their shareholders to bring in the clicks, eyeballs, and engagement (to further attract those clicks and eyeballs). Lowest-common-denominator wisdom dictates that a character that was buried in a national election that catapulted now-president Bongbong Marcos to power by the first ever majority vote since that 1986 “revolution” shouldn’t be the subject of content required to fulfill that business imperative. To be fair, however, we can’t really dismiss the chops of ABS-CBN’s big corporate data analytics team. Data analytics, after all, often reveals counterintuitive truths; for example, proving to people afraid of flying that crossing a street is far more dangerous than getting on a 22-hour trans-Pacific flight full of non-mask-wearing passengers.

The fact is, Robredo does attract the clicks and eyeballs but not because she is well-liked. Robredo is, to put it simply, a nice social media pastime. This is why having Leni as the subject of a social media post or piece of media content gets those thousands of “retweets”, “likes”, and reshares. This is also why, a cohort like the Yellowtards (who “led” the Opposition to oblivion over three consecutive national elections) who measure messaging success based on numbers of likes, retweets, and shares had misled themselves catastrophically so many times (and continue to do so today). Social media stats don’t necessarily spell success. They only provide insight on what keeps people entertained.

More importantly, this highlights the profound dishonesty of mainstream media “journalism”. Corporate media is, at its most fundamental, in the business of entertaining people. What was once a “public service” — news reporting — was once regarded as mere overhead. Good business strategy involves either managing overhead or finding ways to harvest economic value off costly activities that can’t be gotten rid of. Television “news reporting” evolved (or, rather, devolved) very likely as a result of that management imperative — transformed from a sober public service to a bells-and-whistles entertainment product that delivers nagbabagang balita! (emphasis on the exclamation mark).

Coming close to a year after the Marcos-Duterte tandem utterly buried the Opposition, it seems kinda sad that Robredo — loser embodied — continues to be seen as the face of the Opposition. That a country of more than 110 million cannot produce even one Opposition leader to replace this loser says a lot about the pool of talent in its society. If not to win the next national election, the Opposition should at least prove that the Philippines’ got talent. If Filipinos can’t create global P- or F-pop phenomena, can’t replace decrepit jeepneys with modern public transport, or even invent longer-lasting light bulbs (despite the legend that a Filipino “invented” fluorescent lighting), at least show that somebody with potential to be a better opposition leader than Leni Robredo is slogging through her math textbooks at the Ateneo — or scrounging around for pagpag somewhere within those steaming squatter colonies while dreaming of becoming the next President of the Philippines.

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