Maria went to town

TO THE QUICK - Jerry S. Tundag - The Freeman

There was, in the old days, a grade school ditty called Maria Went to Town. It was sung to the tune of Leron Leron Sinta. Back then, when our umbilical cord to America had barely healed, Filipinos felt it necessary to come up with English translations or, when that proved difficult, English versions of Filipino songs.

I am reminded of Maria Went to Town because of another Maria Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo-- who is virtually going to town with almost every conceivable issue she can comment about. She has been letting loose almost daily statements, mostly in criticism of President Duterte and his policies.

I will not touch on these statements, not only because Robredo is entitled to her own opinions, but also because it is good she is baring herself by her own words and actions. That way, the public can judge her, or at least form their own opinion of her without running the risk of being accused of political or any other bias. By coming forth unbidden, it is like she asked for it and she is going to get it.

But I do know why she is coming out almost daily with public statements. She has shifted her 2022 campaign into high gear. It is not that Duterte is such a doggone failure that Robredo has found an almost inexhaustible arsenal of brickbats to throw at the president. The attacks may not even be personal. In the realm of endless possibilities, they may have nothing to do with Duterte as a person but of him being president, and thus a target.

I do not even blame Robredo for coming out swinging early. There is no such thing as being early in politics. I have even heard it said that any political campaign for the next election starts on the first day after the last election. It is already October 2020. Waiting for January 2021 may be a tad too late for the May 2022 election.

Hence, Maria has gone to town. But there is just this wee bit of concern I have about Maria going to town, regardless of whether she is early or not. I find her tirades against Duterte rather misdirected. Whether her issues against the president are valid or not, they eventually will mean nothing to someone who is no longer up for reelection. The shots are a complete waste of ammunition.

Worse, Duterte is not just out of contention, he has remained popular even late in his term. According to an ABS-CBN News online post dated September 29, 2020 a poll conducted by the UK-based market research and data analytics company YouGov, the man Filipinos admire the most is Duterte, followed by Manny Pacquiao, Isko Moreno, Jackie Chan, and Pope Francis. The most admired woman is Angel Locsin.

So, instead of just attacking Duterte and his policies without offering what or how she could have done better, Robredo should make good use of her time opening up about what Filipinos might expect of her if elected to whatever office she may eventually run for in 2022. Again, Duterte is no longer in the running. He is no longer the enemy. It might even do her good if she helps him finish the job he and she were elected for as leaders of the land.


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