One more widow, bound to defeat another Marcos

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez (The Freeman) - February 23, 2021 - 12:00am

History has an uncanny manner of repeating itself. What happened in 1986 is most likely to duplicate itself in next year's presidential showdown. A widow, Cory, the underdog candidate in 1986 achieved what was then seen as inconceivable, a victory of a David against a political Goliath. In 2022, another widow is expected to defeat another Ferdinand Marcos.

In the 1986 snap presidential elections, a very reluctant, unprepared, and much pressured widow, Corazon Aquino, trounced Ferdinand Marcos, the seemingly unbeatable martial law dictator, despite his heavy loads of money, and notwithstanding his total and untrammelled control over the impregnable military, and his strong-arm domination over all institutions of the martial law government, including Comelec and the courts. If Cory did not defeat Marcos, in the polls, she made him flee in fear to Hawaii in the dead of the night, because of the massive EDSA uprising. In 2022, or after 36 years, another widow, Leni Gerona Robredo is most likely to make Bongbong bite the dust again. VP Leni is much more prepared than Tita Cory was then. She is a lawyer, a former congresswoman and a duly-elected vice president with more than 14 million votes to her name.

A few days before the Supreme Court, En Banc, promulgated that historic unanimous (15-0) decision dismissing the election protest filed by former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. against the vice president, this column came up with a piece titled “VP Leni Robredo is a viable presidential timber”. That piece has become viral all over the world, from America to New Zealand. Filipinos in Europe, Middle East, South America, and Asia reached out to this writer expressing their concurrence. After the release of that landmark decision, the viral level has reached geometric proportions. I realized that VP Leni is very popular, more so, after defeating Bongbong, not just in the elections but in his protest. The Supreme Court victory is Bongbong Marcos' Rubicon and Waterloo. That staggering win by knockout by a fragile lady knocking down a very strong opponent sealed the fate of VP Leni. Marcos can never recover from that killer punch.

The massive flood of millions of votes from a united Bicol and Southern Luzon is expected to inundate the Solid North of the Marcoses. Metro Manila, led by the passionate and idealists students and the disgruntled urban poor, will give Bongbong a run for his money. The strong support of the Church and the business community for Leni will surprise Bongbong with a big campaign kitty. The combined strong support of Western Visayas led by Senator Franklin Drilon and Mar Roxas will converge with the progressive, liberal-minded, and younger voters from Cebu, Bohol, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor. If VP Leni can get a strong vice presidential teammate from Mindanao or from Central Visayas, then Bongbong should prepare to flee to Hawaii in the greatest debacle of his political career.

If Mayor Inday Sara is going to run, that will make the Leni camp all the more confident. That would divide the votes that are aligned with the Marcos-Duterte alliance. GMA, the favorite daughter of the LP stalwart, President Diosdado Macapagal, will never support Bongbong. Ferdinand Marcos defeated Diosdado Macapagal in 1965, despite the fact that both FM and DM were Liberals. Marcos bolted the LP and joined the NP, edging out Fernando Lopez and Emmanuel Pelaez. If GMA will not support Bongbong, then the vote-rich Central Luzon will go for Leni because PNoy is still the kingpin of Tarlac. The Cojuangcos of San Miguel and Hacienda Luisita will never go for Marcos, after all that the Marcoses did to the Aquinos and the Cojuangcos.

All the cards are now on the side of Leni. She should play these cards well. She should forge an alliance with Alan Peter Cayetano who was jilted by President Duterte in favor of Jay Lord Alan Velasco. VP Leni should talk to senators Koko Pimentel and Migz Zubiri of Mindanao, and even Manny Pacquiao. Who knows, Pacman may agree to run as vice president to VP Robredo. A Robredo-Pacquiao tandem can cause Bongbong many sleepless nights, even if Cynthia Villar will run as Bongbong's VP. I am very excited. I may be the first to have sleepless nights. But, I am betting on the widow against the son of the dictator who jailed me as a student leader during martial law. I have an axe to grind too.

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