Leni scores in non-bearing bout with Digong

TO THE QUICK - Jerry Tundag (The Freeman) - March 5, 2021 - 12:00am

For two straight nights or earlier this week, President Duterte socked it to Vice President Leni Robredo in his regular televised reports to the nation. But the verbal attacks were not unprovoked. They were the intended results of Leni's well-calculated provocations. She and her backers knew that if Digong reacted, it is he who would look foolish, not the vice president.

And indeed I have never seen Duterte act so foolishly than in responding to the latest petty prickings by the vice president, tauntings that I will not dignify by repeating here. Somebody ought to tell Duterte that it is all a foolish and useless game. He and Leni will not be personally facing off in any future electoral contest. So if anyone earns any points in this inconsequential game of provocations, it is Leni, at Duterte's expense.

I have always thought that being the veteran player that he is, Duterte would have realized long ago that the Liberal Party to which Leni Robredo belongs does not have at the moment any real presidential timber with the qualifications and the charisma to make it to Malacañang nor the bright ideas and believable plans to whet people's imaginations and transform them into votes of support.

Duterte should have seen that beginning with Cory Aquino, the core strategy of the Liberal Party had been nothing more than to stoke hatred for the Marcoses and ride on that sentiment to wherever it takes them. Well, it may have succeeded with Cory and to a certain extent with her son Noynoy. But just below the radar, the Marcoses have been regrouping and regaining and winning. In other words, the ploy is passé. It does not work anymore.

To the discerning and the pragmatists, nothing is truly forever. If, as the latest scientific buzz suggests that life-sustaining oxygen will eventually run out and all life on earth will die, how much more for overworked ideas that have seen their day? The Marcos bogey almost did not work for Leni, who escaped electoral ignominy by the skin of her teeth and won only by judicial fiat.

Yet quite incredibly in this crazy game, even Leni herself has not seen the writing on the wall nor heard the bells tolling their warning. She remains oblivious to the fact that the time for riding the crest of others' shortcomings is over, as seen by the Liberals' complete shutout in the 2019 senatorial race. Leni misses the point that finally the emerging call of the day is to win on one's own strength and merits.

And so she continues to chew on Duterte's vulnerabilities and even the fumbles of the government to which she belongs, for gains that merit nothing more than good media exposure but not the political support that really matters, in a campaign that is not yet even hers. We are not yet at the point of choosing new leaders. What game Leni is leading Digong on to is nothing more than a cat-and-mouse.

Digong losing sleep over a game that lands Leni nowhere is a ridiculous game. He should ignore Leni. She is no longer a threat. Even if she mounts a coup d'etat, no uniformed serviceman will join an adventure so risky so close to the finish line. Even if she is proven right, why would Digong care a year before his term ends. On the other hand, Leni can become her own nemesis and the Liberals might end up with no one driving the bus.

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