Dangerous possibility
TO THE QUICK - Jerry S. Tundag (The Freeman) - June 28, 2019 - 12:00am

Asked by reporters if she intends to run for president in 2022, Leni Robredo tried to be coy by saying everything is possible, which is to say that, yes, she might run and, to push the possibility further, that she might actually win. I truly shudder to think of just how dangerous this business of possibilities really is.

As it is, it is very dangerous already that Leni is the vice president. Consider for a moment that she is just a sneeze away from the presidency. If something happens to incapacitate the 74-year-old Rodrigo Roa Duterte --a wayward and particularly pernicious cold virus for instance-- then bam! Leni the vice president will become the president.

All of a sudden, from a laughing session and photo-op with Filipino fishermen who survived an attack by a Chinese militia vessel, Leni will find herself thrust into a situation where she will no longer be innocuous in the background but face-to-face with the Chinese dragon.

Now, Leni and her partymates in the Liberal Party are very vocal in criticizing and opposing Duterte's chosen tack of dealing with China. They think Duterte is soft and selling out to that country. If given the chance at the helm, then it is possible (there's that word again) she and her yellow cavalry might do the opposite and recklessly charge at a country with 1.3 billion people.

Leni cannot slam Duterte for his chosen policy toward China and then pursue exactly the same policy if she is president. She will have to lead us down the other path toward confrontation. For there are no two ways with a China that submits to no conventions but its own. Now I finally get why foreign secretary Teddy Boy Locsin called her what he called her.

Whether she becomes president by succession or by election, the possibility of a Leni presidency is a terrible proposition. And it has nothing to do with her being a woman or of her lacking any real political leadership experience of a scale that is relevant to the position she finds possible for the taking.

It is terrible because it can lead us to war, the very thing Duterte is precisely trying to avoid. Duterte has a foul month. He has a temper and God knows what else that we can only wish had been sufficiently embellished by hyperbole. But what he has that others don't is his ability to see the big picture, and the good sense to steer clear of a war we cannot win but only lose.

As she is now vice president, all we can do is pray that the possibility of succession will remain that way, just a possibility. As for 2022, we ought to pray even more that the possibility of her election to the presidency will not come to pass. Let it not be the destiny of this country to just perish needlessly, even if even that remains a stark possibility.


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