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Saturday, March 2, 2024

Of endearing moments, ‘tantrums,’ and ‘deadma’

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As the elections draw near, we are witnessing more telling signs of how the leading presidential candidates Marcos Jr., Vice President Leni Robredo, and Manila Mayor Isko Domagoso may govern should they win. The electorate should closely watch whether the candidates’ actions are consistent with what they say. Sometimes, how candidates act reveal more of the kind of person they are than the beautiful words they utter.

Per surveys, the leading candidate is Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., the namesake, and son of the late deposed dictator. From the start of the campaign, Marcos has never bothered to participate in the various debates among presidential candidates. These are designed to inform the electorate of their platforms so they are helped in making smart choices.

The dictator’s son has chosen to ignore the calls for him to take part in these events as if he could not be bothered to exchange note with other candidates and explain his program of the government to his prospective bosses, the Filipino people. He has also stayed away from serious interviews by media. Such arrogance is rarely seen during the campaign period when candidates are expected to woo the votes in their favor by telling them what they would do if elected.

Besides this, Marcos Jr. has been observed to “snub” supporters who want to shake his hand or even have a selfie taken with him. Bodyguards are always ready to ward off anyone who attempts to get near the dictator’s son. Are they scared that their candidate might be harmed by those who support him? Or is it just that Marcos Jr. is “allergic” to being with ordinary people having grown in a gilded cage?

These are red flags. This candidate who says he wants to serve around 110 million Filipinos care little about his responsibility to explain to them (beyond the “unity” rhetoric) how and what he will prioritize should he be given the chance to head government. If he does not want to be with people now, what can we expect if he wins? What about accountability? If he is able to get away as the “deadma” king now, can we expect him to change if he wins? If he cannot be bothered to be asked now, how will he be accountable to the people if he occupies Malacañan?

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The third candidate, Isko Domagoso, as of this writing, is on his fifth day of throwing tantrums and verbal tirades against the number two, Vice President Leni Robredo. Domagoso committed a major miscalculation when he, during the failed Easter Sunday press conference, went off-script and called for Robredo’s withdrawal of candidacy. His two companions has since disowned the such call for withdrawal. Perhaps he saw an opportunity to become “bida” so not only did the press conference boomerang, Domagoso was hit the most.

One would think that he would be sensible and stop. Instead, he has been continuously hitting and badmouthing the Vice President like a toddler whose lollipop was stolen. He goes on with the arrogance that has defined his personality since the campaign begun. He is digging his own grave, possibly not only for this election but for other elections after this. He has given people so much material for them to dislike him.

As early as now, we can already see that this guy is too full of himself. Frankly, in the remote possibility that Domagoso wins, the people should be warned that he cannot be expected to listen to people. He will not be consultative and will most probably just do things according to what he thinks is correct. It will not be surprising if he governs with an iron fist.

Domagoso is not fit to become president, at least, not yet. Hopefully, he truly learns from this campaign and realize that a public servant cannot be as arrogant as he is now. He needs to learn and practice humility.

The second most popular candidate per surveys is VP Leni Robredo. In contrast, this campaign has further endeared Robredo to many. Beyond the many programs that her office has implemented despite the absence of support from the president and very limited resources, VP Leni has shown how approachable she is, and how receptive she is of people’s ideas. She talks with and listens to people.

The color pink as her color was decided by her supporters and volunteers. She adopted it. She is not afraid to be with people as seen in all the campaign activities. She is always in the middle of crowds and she seems to like it.

VP Robredo is not scared to face the other candidates, her opponents. She is always ready to speak to the people about her plans, about the kind of governance the people can expect from her. She has answers to the problems besetting the country.

Perhaps because she is a woman and a mother, she is sensitive to the sentiments, even of random people. She saw a tweet of a sad girl saying she will graduate but her mother will not be able to attend. VP Leni responded and said she would like to be there for her. Imagine how happy the girl was by this act of kindness!

For the Cebu people’s rally, someone in Metro Manila tweeted saying that her mother whom she has not seen in three years will be attending the rally wearing a huge faux pink hair. She tagged VP Leni and asked her to hug her mom for her. What did Robredo do? She responded saying that she would look for her mom. What happened next was indeed endearing. The VP posted a video and pictures with the mom. They were in a big hug. Of course, the daughter was beside herself with happiness when the VP made good on her promise.

At another time, the VP was already speaking to the big crowd in a rally when from behind, a girl of about eight to nine years old approached and hugged her. Despite not knowing the girl’s approach, Robredo did not flinch, she looked, and when she saw the girl, she hugged her back as she continued speaking to the crowd.

This is Leni Robredo, the sensitive mother. The characteristics she has shown this whole campaign make people hopeful. We can have good governance. But first, Leni Robredo must win. The people must make her win.

@bethangsioco on Twitter
Elizabeth Angsioco on Facebook

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