Leni leads PH pro-democracy movement
While the November 25 and November 30 mass actions had manifested the emergence of what could be described as a virtual pro-democracy movement against the perceived authoritarian tendencies in the country, the democratic forces did not have a face, a central character, a rallying point, or a conscience to anchor their opposition against the autocratic Duterte government.
Now, it’s a totally different story. Her sudden resignation from the Duterte Cabinet makes Vice President Leni Robredo the leader of the rising pro-democracy movement. Her statement asking the Filipino people for courage to face an emerging dictatorship was a clear indication that she was willing to take the mantle of leadership of the pro-democracy forces.
The November 25 and November 30 mass actions saw the emergence of a critical mass of protesters, who did not agree with the sneak burial of the remains of dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng Mga Bayani, a special cemetery for the country’s heroes. While the protesters, mostly millennials, or young people aged 15 to 36, explicitly said that Marcos was no hero, the mass actions did not have any leader who could be the face of the rising pro-democracy movement.
Meanwhile, Cabinet Secretary Leoncio “Jun” Evasco Jr, whom President Rodrigo Duterte has tapped to replace Mrs. Robredo in her housing post, has announced the creation of Kilusang Pagbabago, a purported citizens’ movement that seeks to gather administration supporters under a single roof.
Its creation validates the conflicting themes of the Philippine political experience: authoritarianism and democracy. While the sea of protesters that showed up in the November 25 and November 30 mass actions now constitute the democratic forces, the purported citizens’ movement represents the authoritarian constituency.
The two forces appear to be in a future collision.
Robredo’s perceived evolution as the emerging new face of the anti-establishment protest movement did not come as a mere afterthought, accident, or twist of fate. It appears to be a consequence of her growing disenchantment with the political direction of the Duterte administration.
As a Cabinet member, she had direct personal knowledge of how the President runs the government, his incoherence and mood swings, lack of respect for women, and authoritarian tendencies. She saw his intolerance for contrary views and pugnacious ways and watched with horror his careless, albeit sexist, remarks and enmity he had made with certain leaders and international institutions.
She could have seen the President’s lack of capacity to digest every single act, words, or situation from a moral standpoint. The abject lack of moral compass, or the existence of an inner voice to enable him to put everything in a moral context could be most appalling to her.
After all, Mrs. Robredo is a widow of a great political leader, the late interior and local government secretary, Jese Robredo, who was a totally unassuming workhorse, who had left a pair of big shoes to fill in government service.
As emerging leader and face of the pro-democracy movement in the country, Mrs. Robredo would have to present to the Filipino people her agenda, vision, and formula on how to untangle the authoritarian mess that the incumbent president has been creating after nearly six months of incumbency.
Moreover, the Vice President would have to present her version of an anti-drug war that's premised on the twin principles of rule of law and due process, and a wholistic rehabilitation program for thousands of drug users. She would have to provide a rehab program that combines the latest but most effective therapeutic approaches to bring those users not to their graveyards but back to mainstream society, where they could become productive citizens again.
But her biggest challenge lies in leading the entire pro-democracy movement to reclaim the nation’s democratic ideals that are being eroded slowly by the administration’s authoritarian tendencies, as well as to stop efforts to undermine the democratic institutions and processes and reinstall an authoritarian regime.
Mrs. Robredo has to stop by all means the current initiatives of defeated vice presidential Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr, who has been claiming that he was cheated in the last presidential elections. The mediocre son of the detested dictator does not seem to understand that if the Liberal Party, under which Mrs. Robredo ran, had indeed cheated, it would have done it for the presidency and not the vice presidency.
As the country’s second highest political leader, Mrs. Robredo has no choice but to lead the political opposition. It is her task to take the Liberal Party away from the Super Majority Coalition in Congress and assume an opposition stance primarily to stop the passage of authoritarian legislative measures, which include the bill restoring the death penalty and the bill lowering the age of criminal liability to nine years of age.
She would have to lead the combined pro-democracy movement and the political opposition to a direction that seeks to apply a more intensive and extensive pressure politics to force the current administration to step down to enable the democratic forces to retake political power. – Rappler.com