2022 PH presidential race

[OPINION] How to win against Marcos-Duterte

Tony La Viña

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

[OPINION] How to win against Marcos-Duterte

D.R. Castuciano

Only one thing can beat this narrative. Offer a future that is fresh, creative, and inclusive; a future that appeals to the youth vote.

The fate and future of the Philippines is at stake in the May 2022 elections. Make no mistake by dismissing this as an existential and alarmist stance for this is the truth.

A Marcos-Duterte or Duterte-Marcos leadership will set the country back for the next 20 years. It’s not just a Duterte or Marcos replacing each other for three consecutive terms, but there are others in their families in the present and subsequent generations that are ready to take over when their time comes. Clearly, both families have the loyalty of big blocks of voters in the country; it would be foolish to be blind to this.

We do not bear personal grudges against the Marcos and Duterte families. But it is the kind of politics and governance that their patriarchs stood and stand for – disregard of human rights, immense corruption, narcissistic governance, and impunity – that we are against. As far as we can see, the political heirs have not repudiated these legacies harmful to the nation.

Never too late for unity

The latest Pulse Asia survey is a snapshot of public opinion during the first week of September. So much has happened in the political front since then. The most important is that Grace Poe has dropped out of the race for president and vice president and 1Sambayan has endorsed Leni Robredo. With Poe getting out of the two races, and Moreno now deciding to run for president, where will their votes go? I suspect Moreno will harvest the votes of Poe for president and Sotto will get the Moreno/Poe voters for VP.

It has been said that those who win in the surveys in September (and even December) lose in May. This is because the campaign matters.

VP Leni Robredo has been asking the right questions, which we invite Mayor Isko, Senator Manny, and Senator Ping to ask as well. Will my candidacy lead to a Marcos-Duterte or Duterte-Marcos win? No well-meaning candidate would neglect this key question, which is why it should not be the sole burden of Robredo to reflect on this question.

VP Leni is very qualified to be president. Her record as VP is self-evident, but winning – even with the endorsement of a broad coalition of progressive and centrist forces like 1Sambayan – is going to be uphill. The 2016 strategy cannot be replicated – she is now universally known and has been defined in a distorted way by trolls which will be difficult, though not impossible, to overturn.

She needs a new strategy and even a new political team that is not an echo chamber and is more inclusive, reflecting a campaign that is not just seeking the anti-Duterte vote, but other voting constituencies as well.

There is no pathway to victory in 2022 that is based on an anti-Duterte or opposition vote. The candidacies of Leni, Isko, Manny, and Ping must be made to complement each other. What one camp fails to foresee, the others must supply. It is too early to distance one’s self, to burn bridges, and to alienate those who could be in the same boat as you when all of you are pressed against the wall of a Marcos-Duterte presidency. And this is the real key in building a coalition that depends not on an opposition vote, but on plus, plus, and plus.

Focus on Marcos and Duterte

The candidates have actually been well-behaved but not their partisans, who  have been mudslinging against the other candidates. Only Marcos-Duterte stand to gain from that. Our plea is for all candidates, who are neither Duterte nor Marcos, to focus their firepower on the common opponent. Their partisans must do the same.

It is not right to attack VP Robredo as indecisive as she decides whether to run or not. In fact, she has exhibited consistently much wisdom and courage in this process.

It is plainly unfair to accuse Isko of being a “Trojan Horse of the Marcos-Duterte” sympathizers or a political butterfly by those who see themselves as opposition. In fact, Isko is branded as an NPA sympathizer and dilawan by the Marcos-Duterte camp. Many attacks against Moreno and Pacquiao are also just blatantly “matapobre” (“anti-poor”)

We have observed Isko since his successful 2019 campaign and he is the real thing in having a vision, based on long experience in government and his personal experience of oppression, and more importantly, in engaging with voters. We think that the momentum is in favor of his winning against Marcos-Duterte but he needs significant opposition support for that to be secure.

That is why a Moreno-Robredo (the latter as VP) tandem can be the ideal tandem to defeat a Marcos-Duterte pairing. Moreno should remember that he will not win if he leads Sara Duterte or Bong Bong Marcos by just a five-point spread on election day. He needs a 10% lead and VP Leni’s endorsement can secure that.

For Manny, slurs against him to the effect that he is uneducated or unfit to be president because he is just good for boxing, are definitely below the belt. His governance record and political positions are fair game, however. But Pacquiao is poised to take votes away from Duterte in Mindanao and the Visayas. We should encourage his candidacy if we want the Dutertes and Marcoses to lose.

As for Ping Lacson, he has been accused of being a Duterte-enabler. But based on his magnificent performance in unraveling Pharmally’s plunder during the pandemic, he is a thorn on this administration. Being a pragmatic man,  Lacson, I expect, will eventually endorse Moreno if the latter gains momentum. In fact, expect most local politicians to do that.

Based on the Pulse Asia survey and his history of topping senatorial elections, it looks like Sotto has a good chance of becoming the next VP, while remembering the same rule, however, that the winners in September could still lose in May.

But that’s a relief for the country that Digong could be decisively defeated. We think that an incoherent Duterte on the campaign trail is not going to help. Indeed, if President Duterte was rational, he should save himself the humiliation and withdraw now. This will allow his daughter to jump into the fray and run again for president.

In that context, a Duterte-Marcos ticket becomes more probable, or better for the opposition, both Sara Duterte and Bong  Bong Marcos run for president.

In our view, Moreno, Lacson, and Robredo are actually very similar in their approaches to politics and governance. All three are in the mainstream and will be better than Duterte, especially in the fields of human rights and the rule of law. Otherwise they will have similar economic and social programs and will be appointing people from the same pools of technocrats and politicians that previous presidents had relied on.

All three also have good records of governance – Robredo as VP, Moreno as mayor, and Lacson as senator (except on the ATL or anti-terror law). From an outcomes point of view, it would not be very different whoever among the three wins – unlike a Duterte-Marcos or Marcos-Duterte alliance, which will set us back in the next 20 years.

For those, however, who want to radically change the country, the entry of labor leader Ka Leody de Guzman in the presidential race is the most exciting development. Ka Leody is principled, visionary, disciplined, trustworthy, and a true fighter for social justice and equality.

An appeal to the youth

The Marcos candidacy banks on authoritarian nostalgia, or the “good old days” as they claim to be. We know that this is not true. We know that it was only “good old days” for the Marcoses (and in the future, the Dutertes) and their cronies.

Only one thing can beat this narrative. Offer a future that is fresh, creative, and inclusive; a future that appeals to the youth vote. Offer a way that can be owned by the youth; one that they can be proud of. Why? Because their future is at stake, because they have the most to lose, and because May 2022 is their fight.

Regionalism will be a strong factor in this election but it could be offset by the youth vote which could be influenced heavily by social media. The Moreno-Ong tandem seems to have an edge in that space but there is time and room for other candidates to catch up.

It is all right that we have several tandems fighting the Marcos-Duterte alliance. But come May, lets choose the one with the best chance to defeat them. – Rappler.com

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