Skip to content

We’re With Her

April 23, 2022

Will Autocracy Win the May in the Philippines?
May 9th Elections Are Decisive Test

Commentary by Editors of

Only one woman is now running for President of the Philippines. We’re with her. We wholeheartedly endorse, Leni Robredo, who is currently serving as the 14th vice president of the Philippines, for president. She is the most qualified person for the job. She rose from life as an attorney defending the rights of the poor to serve a distinguished tenure in government that includes her work in her present role.

Here is an interview with Leni Robredo by Maria Ressa, Nobel laureate editor of Rappler.

Hollywood offers Dirty Harry-like vigilante entertainment to eager audiences globally. To recap why Leni’s election is so important for those just engaging with the nation’s political affairs, current Philippine leader, President Rodrigo Duterte’s time as mayor of Davao, important port city on the south side on the large southern Philippine Island of Mindanao, was dirty, in the way Clint Eastwood’s Harry was.

The more the mayor flaunted his motorcycle-riding, gun-slinging vigilantism, the more it brought him fame of a flavor, infamy. Thereafter, his campaign for the presidency of the island-blessed nation was dirty. It took place during the days Donald Trump was on the rise, who Duterte said was “just like me”. Vigilante statements became a Duterte campaign staple.

After Duterte arrived in the Philippine presidency, he was still dirty. He and his minions thwarted investigations into his Davao death squad’s shootings. And Duterte began a war on drugs that continues, with citizens being shoot in night raids by masked men on motorcycles for allegedly being drug dealers, with each person’s death an ultimate denial of their constitutional right to due process of law, their right to be presumed innocent until convicted in a court of law for a crime they are accused of, their right to face and to cross-examine those who accuse them.

Here is a link to the US State Department Human Rights report about the Philippines security forces committing numerous abuses by and on behalf of Duterte. “The national police’s institutional deficiencies and the public perception that corruption in the police was endemic continued,” the US report noted. “The Philippine National Police’s Internal Affairs Service remained largely ineffective.” Amnesty International agrees, noting that the lack of accountability among perpetrators provided the breeding ground for extrajudicial killings and human rights violations by President Duterte. The United Nations has reported extensively on this every year of the Duterte presidency.

Duterte is almost done with his single six-year time in the office of Philippine president, the time allotted him by the nation’s constitution. Duterte is by his own admission hopeful that after he leaves the president’s office, the current mayor of Davao will be voted into it, the president’s daughter, Sara Duterte. Sara had been striving for the president’s office. However, she never got enough helium under her poll numbers, and thus she now supports Bongbong Marcos for president (that’s BBM, aka Ferdinand Marcos Jr., more in a moment) She switched to running for vice-president. Should she succeed at ascending to her goal, the question all would watch for an answer to is whether she would quash investigations into her father, President Rodrigo Duterte’s, past wrong doings. Every indication from her so far shows that she might.

Leni Robredo’s opponent for the president’s office is Ferdinand Marcos Junior. Recall that his father, Ferdinand Macros Senior, took hold of the presidency of the fledgling Philippine democracy and succeeded in making it his kingdom for over two decades. Bongbong, the nickname commonly used by all to speak about the former dictator’s son, has spent his political career attempting to rehabilitate his father’s reputation and protect his family’s wealth from being repatriated to the Philippines. BBM was aided in his effort by President Duterte, who moved his father’s remains into the cemetery for national heroes.

There is no reason to vote in a dynasty from the past to build a fine future for the Philippines. Why, however, do so many support the leading candidate, BBM?

Most of the Philippine people are young, and thus a large percentage of them did not live under the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos. An editor of this website grew up to be a college student at University of the Philippines, Las Banos, as the Marcos era neared its terminus. To help end the Marcos dictatorship, she and many thousands of other Filipinos filled Manila’s EDSA Boulevard between the entrances of the Philippine National Police headquarters complex and the PH Army HQ base. Helicopters circled over her and the other Filipinos demonstrating with her that day. Ferdinand Marcos gave the helicopter pilots the order to fire on the peaceful protestors. When they refused to do so, it became another of the quickening steps toward Marcos’ departure from the Philippine Islands for the Hawaiian Islands, with Bongbong and national treasure, leaving behind the infamous closet with his wife Imelda’s shoe collection. What all those above a certain age the whole world round remember, Bongbong Marcos wants all young Filipinos to forget.

As the Bongbong Macros, President – Sara Duterte, VP ticket poll numbers are slipping, a new ploy has been hatched by their supporters. A “devious plan to install Sara Duterte as VP at all costs,” is what a Philippine News Today editorial called the tactic. “What Americans refer to as throwing someone under a bus, Filipinos know as ‘laglagan,’ or dropping someone like a hot potato. This is what’s happening now to Senator Francis ‘Kiko’ Pangilinan, running mate of presidential bet Leni Robredo. In various places throughout the Philippines, groups have sprouted supporting the so-called RoSa tandem, short for Leni Robredo and Sara Duterte. Robredo wants no part of this RoSa nonsense, of course, but there is a growing movement to push for both women to win.”

As election day nears Leni is gaining ground in her campaign to win the presidency. Will victory be ahead for her? We hope so. There is apparently, again regarding the polls, a large distance, easily two dozen percentage points behind Bongbong, that she must win to her cause in very short time.

Unless Philippine voters defy the polls of the moment, two family dynasties, one from the far south of the nation, the other from the far north, the families Duterte and Marcos, will share Malacañang palace, the nation’s white house in Manila, as the next president and vice-president. As the current president has reportedly had the history of the EDSA Revolution stricken from the Department of Education curriculum, so too it has de-emphasized history instruction generally.

Now that we have explained, we would like to reiterate our endorsement of Leni Robredo for President of the Philippines as an exclamation. We’re with her!

To overcome BBM’s seemingly insurmountable lead, Leni Robredo, the only woman in the race for the presidency now that Sara is striving for the VP role, will have to win the hearts of millions more Filipinos. Can she do so? It is worth noting that Leni pulled off an upset in the last presidential election cycle when she won her current job as the nation’s vice-president. We are hopeful that she is able to pull off another upset victory in the Philippine elections come the ninth of May.

“Leni has the momentum, which we expect will only further intensify and accelerate all the way to May 9,” said Barry Gutierrez, Robredo’s spokesperson about what the latest poll numbers are starting to reflect. “What we are seeing now is the turning of the tide,” what we have been seeing on the ground.”

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: