June 14, 2024

Last Sunday, presidential candidates Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, Norberto Gonzales, and Sen. Panfilo Lacson held a hastily arranged press conference at the Manila Hotel to assure their respective supporters that contrary to the report that some of them will be withdrawing from the presidential election, none of them will.
Each and every one, including Sen. Manny Pacquiao who did not attend but was able to give his opinion on the issue via social media, firmly asserted that they remain to be candidates though they are aware that because of their number, their chance of winning is greatly diminished.
In the same press conference, they were in agreement that, if there is one among them who should withdraw, it is Vice President Leni Robredo whose mere presence in the list of candidates is polarizing the opposition and enhancing the victory of former Sen. Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. Going on the offensive, Moreno could not have said it more eloquently.
He said: “The fighting has always been about two families only. Let’s end the cycle of revenge and there will be no (sic) peace. The number two (in surveys) should do and start the supreme sacrifice. Let Leni withdraw. Withdraw Leni, if you love your country. Whatever you’re doing is not effective against the Marcos. Withdraw, come and join us.”
When sought for comment, the camp of Marcos was mum about the in-fighting among the opposition candidates. Well, in a sense, Marcos need not make any comment because such in-house quarrel between and among his opponents is truly enhancing his chance. Imagine, without him doing anything, the other presidential candidates are all self-destructing. If they will lose, they have nobody to blame except themselves.
Their strategy to capture the highest position of the land is as old and antique as the mountains. It is disruptive, destructive and divisive.
From the onset, the opposition has launched a campaign based on extremes. They projected this election for the presidency as a fight between good versus evil, the angel versus the devil, a crusader versus a thief, democracy against martial law, Aquino versus Marcos, Leni Robredo versus Marcos. The ironical part of it is that they are all that is positive in the list while Marcos is all that is negative. Really?
Well, this kind of branding irritates the electorate. Who is Robredo to claim that she is the anti-thesis of Marcos? Who is she to judge that all other candidates are spiritually, morally, and politically unworthy while professing that she is? Surely, the people will not look with favor on someone who is overconfident for her own good.
Look at how the voters are reacting. They are sympathizing with Marcos simply because they do not want a self-proclaimed savior to take hold of the government. It is more of an emotional vote rather than for anything else. Yes, Moreno was correct when he ruled last Sunday that: “This is not about us being the candidates here, it’s about you, your life. Their fight is not the problem. Our problems are the high prices of rent, groceries, electricity. Millions of Filipinos are having a hard time.”
Not only are millions of Filipinos having a hard time. They, too, are tired of too much politics, too much unfulfilled promises, and too much blaming the Marcoses for what ails this nation. We never really moved on. Hence, if Robredo chooses to campaign on personality issues by opening old wounds and rewinding bygone eras, she is truly enhancing the chance of Marcos to win.
For it is no longer about the qualification of Marcos that influences our desire to elect him, but the lack of sincerity and vision on the part of Robredo to govern with a clean conscience that is.
Marcos is campaigning on a platform of unity.
No matter how much they do to besmirch him, he remains silent. No matter how much they dig up his messy past and that of his family, he laughs it off. He maintains his composure in the light of accusations against him. After all, the truth is there to be verified. Then, consider the alternative. The others are busy maligning their fellowmen and fostering a platform of hate and exclusion.
The result is disturbing. I’d rather vote for someone who is bent on unifying our people than who is continuously and unashamedly promoting fear, anger, vengeance, and vindictiveness.