According to Vice President Ma. Leonor “Leni” Robredo, she would be willing to lead and unite the Opposition against President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration. In most progressive countries, Robredo’s move would be considered bizarre. But this is the Philippines where the President and Vice President are voted separately, which means both positions could end up being occupied by candidates from opposing parties. This is exactly the predicament the Philippines is in right now. It is something that needs to be addressed in the proposed amendment to the constitution. But I digress…
The problem with Robredo’s announcement is she inadvertently revealed her desire to replace Duterte. Since she is willing to lead the Opposition, some of whom have been rabidly calling for Duterte’s ouster, that means she is willing to step into his role if they succeed in removing him.
What possessed Robredo to formalise her intention to unite the Opposition? In the last two years, Robredo has been somewhat coy about it. It was as if she was leading a double life. She would be nice when Duterte is in the same room, but, behind his back, speak ill of him and his policies with the media. Robredo even went as far as creating a video for the United Nations against Duterte’s drug war.
Some say that the emergence of Lourdes Sereno as an outspoken member of the Opposition after she was ousted from the Supreme Court may have pushed Robredo to own the title of “leader” of the Opposition, which could indicate there could be a silent battle for the “leadership”. The problem is, Robredo is only good at dividing, not uniting Filipinos. It does not help either that the Opposition does not have a solid platform. They do not have alternative solutions to Duterte’s policies. They complain but hardly offer something that the public would consider a viable and doable solution to the country’s problems.
The Opposition is disorganised. They do not base their arguments on facts. They base them mostly on gut feel. They are an emotional lot. An example of this is how feminists in the Philippines cry foul against what they think are misogynist remarks made by the President. They accuse him of being mean to and rude to women. But there is little evidence of this since the President has a lot of women in his cabinet. These same feminists are also against the members of the Catholic Church – who are also against Duterte – because of the Church’s stand on other issues like birth control, LGTB rights and divorce.
The point is, the members of the Opposition cannot even agree on common and consistent positions on issues they are advocating, so how can they unite against Duterte? Duterte actually supports some of the issues the feminists are for and agrees on some of the issues the Church stands for. Duterte does make it hard for the Opposition to be “united”.
The question is, what is Robredo going to do differently from what she has been doing in the last two years to unite the Opposition? Is she going to go all-out in her criticism of the President? Will she adapt a “no-holds-barred” approach and let it all out? Unfortunately, that tactic will only make her look bad. It will backfire. Members of the public particularly those who support the President would consider that kind of act as being opportunistic and typical of a traditional politician or in the Filipino vernacular “trapo”.
As early as now, Duterte’s supporters are already making fun of her ambitious announcement. She has done nothing in the last two years in office to prove that she can inspire and lead a group of people successfully.
Robredo is not a leader. She’s just a puppet just like former President BS Aquino who will do whatever her handlers tell her. She has no choice because the Liberal Party had to do a lot for her before she could land her current post. First they had to convince her to run as Mar’s VP. Then they possibly had to arrange for Smartmatic personnel to introduce a script in the middle of vote canvassing that made her votes magically jump and overtake Vice Presidential candidate former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr’s lead. But despite all the efforts by her handlers to prop her up, Robredo is still viewed as a lame duck.
To make matters even more interesting, Duterte made his own statement. He said he will not resign because doing so will make Robredo President. He doesn’t think Robredo is ready to govern a country and the reason he gave was because she is incompetent. In Duterte’s own words Robredo “is not capable of running a country like the Philippines.”
There is something to be said about how the Opposition cannot find a more credible and competent leader. It says a lot about the type of people opposing Duterte. They come across as cowards. They seem to know deep inside that their arguments will not stand under scrutiny and would rather ask someone who is dumb enough to go into battle without any gear. That’s where Robredo comes in.