The Easter egg hunt last Sunday, April 17, turned out to be a show of three male presidential candidates ganging up on their fellow candidate, Leni Robredo, who is the only woman in the presidential race. And the most interesting thing: Robredo is not even the survey frontrunner.
But, should Leni be afraid of these male chauvinists? Apparently not. The Easter Sunday event simply pointed out that the male chauvinists have lost their cojones and can only pretend to be macho by calling on a woman to drop off from the presidential race. They can’t even call on the survey frontrunner to withdraw – a candidate who is the least qualified yet full of disrespect to institutions. Who, among the presidential candidates, have not finished a degree? And, who among the candidates continue to brandish the idea that he/she was cheated despite a final and executory judgment against his electoral protest? Or, who among the candidates paid only their taxes because of the incoming elections?
What Leni should be afraid of, first and foremost, are her supporters who are growing day by day driven by the ray of hope that things will be better post-May elections. These supporters are the ones raising funds for her political rallies and campaign materials, who make her political events lively, and paint streets with arts and color. Artists share their talents, beauty queens share their thoughts, keyboard warriors combat fake news, and the rest, from all walks of life, do whatever they can to keep the pink campaign going – including house to house campaigns which are only being done by local candidates.
Because of the momentum, ground swelling occurred and continue to occur. From the 20,000 individuals who attended her political rally in her hometown Naga City, the numbers rose to as high as 220,000 in Pampanga, the province said to be controlled by former President Gloria Arroyo. Arroyo is also among the key supporters of Bongbong Marcos. With the ground swelling, politicians both local and national are becoming more jittery. In fact, political tidal waves are starting to occur starting in Bicol to Northern Samar where almost all local candidates from opposing camps join hands to endorse Robredo. As the election draws nearer, more and more politicians are expected to change their hand signs to L-sign. These are the second group of political actors that Leni should be afraid of.
But, why should she be afraid of her supporters and the local politicians who switched to her side? Simple: If she cannot fulfill her promises, these are the very people who will topple her down.
Leni cannot do a Rodrigo Duterte who, to pay his debt of gratitude, appointed his supporters and campaign mouthpieces to government posts even though the latter are less qualified. Doing a Rodrigo-like payoff scheme would be a recipe for disaster on the part of Leni given the number and kind of supporters she has. Second, the government coffers are almost empty, and she has to deal with the loans Duterte and her other predecessors acquired. Dole-outs won’t definitely work in events of restlessness and signs of chaos. An iron hand in the guise of “war on something-something” won’t also work.
Third, Leni offered a leadership that will serve not only her supporters but all Filipinos regardless of political blocs and colors. This can blow up right on her face as her possible opposition knew very well how to use and abuse the social media. Lastly, she minted a ray of hope that cannot be addressed by the simple “I lied” or “I am sorry”.
In simple terms, Leni forged a sword that could either be used to fulfill her promises or chop her head. If she wins the elections and fail to act on her promises, the volunteers who came out to her support will be the ones to drive her away from the presidential seat and the local politicians who switched to her side will be the ones to push the button for a new leadership.