There’s a major political force that will be pivotal in next year’s presidential election. It’s a political force that’s overlooked by everyone, even if its choice of a candidate will be decisive in the election of our next chief executive. It’s very disappointing that the members of this group are not aware of the power they hold in their hands, and they’re inclined to just throw it away unwittingly.
We see, hear, and encounter the members of this political force among our relatives, friends, neighbors, officemates, and acquaintances. The members of this political force have two crucial things in common. First, they’re fiercely anti-Duterte. Or if they were Duterte supporters in the past, they’re completely disillusioned now, and don’t want his chosen candidate as his successor. Second, they concede that Vice President Leni Robredo is our ideal next president, but they’re predisposed not to vote for her because they doubt her winnability.
These admirers-of-Leni-but-not-voting-for-Leni constituents will essentially settle for their second choice, their “puwede na” choice. These are voters who are ignoring their inner voice of wisdom, renouncing their power to decide, and surrendering instead to herd mentality.
What’s pitiful is that, if the members of this political force only exert effort to circle the wagons, they will be surprised to discover that they can be as big or even bigger than the crowd they are opting to follow instead. And they can serve as catalysts in convincing others to join what can be a constantly growing formidable political force.
If our country passes up on the chance to elect someone like Leni, she will join the ranks of leaders we have squandered and who could have been the best presidents of our country. This rarefied list includes Juan Flavier, Rene Saguisag, Jovito Salonga, and Raul Roco in the post-martial law era. What qualifies Leni for this group? There’s an overabundance of things to say, but limited space allows me to highlight only three reasons.
First, Leni is an even better version of the late former president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III. Like Noynoy, she will restore dignity in our people and decency in government. We need to regain our nobility, because the cruelty and incivility of the current administration can never be the way forward for our country as it has brought us back to the Dark Ages. In addition to what Noynoy accomplished impressively on the macro level, Leni will bring extensive government service on the micro level. She had wide exposure working with low-income families long before she joined public service. She has no walls because she goes directly to the grassroots without fanfare, as shown by her stint as vice president.
Second, Leni is fearless and iron-willed when she’s pursuing what is right. This side of Leni was powerfully demonstrated in 2019 when President Duterte mockingly challenged her to head the government’s bloody anti-drug war campaign. Leni’s supporters were totally against it because it was obviously meant to trap her into the lion’s den. To everyone’s complete shock, Leni accepted the appointment. She promptly declared that it was absolutely necessary for policemen to wear body cameras. She promised that the war against illegal drugs would have “the same vigor,” but with zero killings. She engaged in a flurry of meetings with international entities to learn best practices and experiences. Just 19 days after Leni became antidrug czar, Mr. Duterte withdrew her appointment. The administration was absolutely humiliated.
Third, she’s the only leader who torpedoes her own chances of getting elected to the presidency by declaring from the very start that she’s willing to give way in order for the country to have a single opposition candidate who will have better chances of defeating Mr. Duterte’s chosen successor. Hers is not personal ambition but aspirations for her country. There’s no one else like her from the field of presidential wannabes.
It’s less than one year to the time we will install a new occupant in Malacañang Palace. For our battered country’s sake, may it be President Leni Robredo.
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