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BBM vs. Leni, Part 2 (2022)

TO THE QUICK - Jerry Tundag (The Freeman) - July 4, 2016 - 12:00am

Bongbong Marcos made good his promise to protest his close defeat (by just a little over 200,000 votes) to Leni Robredo in the May 9 vice presidential race. And I repeat my earlier position that it is best if he hadn't. The loss was too close it could have gone either way. Besides, unlike Leni, Bongbong's real target in running is the presidency in 2022. The bid for the vice presidency was just a tactical move to position himself. The loss does not bar him from pursuing his real goal.

More importantly, the closeness of the vote underscores the real message of the results - that martial law as an issue is no longer as strong as some people would like to continue believing. That the results were so close they could have gone either way in its own strongest argument. And with Leni and every member of her party wasting no opportunity to raise the martial law bogey against Bongbong, who can really say the issue was not amply amplified. And still Bongbong nearly won.

Of course, martial law victims are fully justified in continuing to rail against the son of the dictator. But not everyone was a victim and those who went on with their lives now find the repetitive nature of tragic memories too cumbersome in their desire to continue moving forward.Besides, other people needing to profit politically from martial law as an issue have muddled the picture, all the more giving impetus to set aside what ought never to be forgotten.

There is, therefore, no other way to read the results of the 2016 vice presidential race than that Bongbong, despite losing the election, still won the larger issue that has hounded him and his family ever since they returned from exile following the overthrow of his dictator father.In fact this was already apparent in 2010 when he won as senator, placing high at 7th. A Marcos placing 7th in an election that had an Aquino running for president, was a sign missed only by the blind.

And that is why I think it is a big mistake for Bongbong to pursue his protest. Several things can happen that will not be in his favor. One, the Supreme Court may refuse to rock the boat considering that Leni is already in place. It can throw out his protest on a technicality and still not resolve his beef. Two, it can rule more convincingly and give the victory to Leni, in which case he will be worse off than if he had just let the matter go and dwell on the possibility he probably won.

Three, and more importantly, the protest can preoccupy him, especially if it is to drag on interminably and thus deprive him of time he can better spend preparing for his presidential bid in 2022. If he drops his protest, and he is free from any weighty legal burden, he can merrily go on his way crisscrossing the country, making new friends and strengthening alliances that he will need for the biggest battle of his family.

There is another reason why Bongbong should choose to be unhampered by any legal or political baggage and elect to move around. And that is because President Duterte has not given Leni any Cabinet position. This frees up Leni to go around the country. Leni is not dumb. She may not be thinking of it right now, but having come this close to the presidency, surely she must now be giving it some thought, either by succession, which is what she is the VP for, or by election sometime later.

Indeed, I think it is a big mistake for Duterte not to give Leni anything to do. Taking her on board will not only earn him valuable points, it will also keep her within his sight. If he is that devious, he can even arrange for her to fail.Keeping her out of the loop, on the other hand, not only gives her the appearance of a martyr, it also allows her to do her own thing. And that is like giving her a full six years headstart to campaign for president in 2022.

The fans of Leni who are all harping for her to be given something do not have the slightest clue about their own harping. Romanticism takes nobody anywhere in a hardball game like politics. The vice president is a spare tire. Period. Nobody who ever aspired for the vice presidency had any illusions it would be anything more than what it is. The reason they all ran is for the proximity it gets them to their real objective, which is the presidency.

The case of Leni was the exception. She was the reluctant candidate who could not say no to her boss, not even if she knew the only reason she was chosen was because nobody else wanted to be the runningmate of Mar Roxas. And not even if she knew she was not even the first choice. Boss Noynoy never bothered to hide the fact that he repeatedly tried to woo Grace Poe first, and then Vilma Santos later. Only when all that failed did Noynoy turn to Leni. Leni, of course, dutifully obliged.

If the romantic idiots behind Leni know what is best for her, they should stop asking for her to be given a job that is not in her job description to begin with, and where she can miserably fail. If this was America, she would have had a job presiding over the Senate. But this is the Philippines, where the vice president is what it is - a spare tire. The best thing for Leni is to brush up on the presidency, either as successor to Duterte, or rival of Bongbong in 2022.

jerrytundag@yahoo.com.

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