MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews / 20 October) – After losing the vice presidency in 2016, a fact affirmed by the Supreme Court when it ruled against his electoral protest, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Romualdez Marcos Jr., son and namesake of the ousted late dictator, can only hope for a miracle in the May 2022 presidential election. All things considered, he may even slide down to the vice presidency if Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte should change her mind between now and November 15, and run for president to give the administration better chances at the polls.
He may be anything, but Marcos Jr. is not naïve. If he pushes his candidacy for president even if Mayor Sara runs in lieu of another placeholder, Senator Ronald de la Rosa, he knows it would be to their mutual disadvantage. The clash would divide the votes of those who support both the administration and the Marcoses and are in fact dreaming of a Sara-Bongbong or Bongbong-Sara tandem, depending on the pleasure of the lady.
At the moment, Mayor Sara could still be weighing her chances if she bows to her father’s wishes. She may be ahead in recent surveys. Yet, it remains to be seen how the fallout from the mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic, Pharmally controversy, graft allegations against officials that were swept under the rug, and other issues would impact on her candidacy. She’s thinking if she could walk past his father’s shadow, i.e., manage to dissociate herself from the scandals that have rocked his presidency.
If President Duterte’s daughter sticks to her current decision, the administration would likely be forced to field or adopt somebody else as their standard bearer. Nobody is expecting the President to tell de la Rosa to man the fort until D-Day. The only question is who will replace him. Or, maybe, the question has been settled since nobody else apart from Marcos Jr. fits into the criterion of who can give security to the outgoing President and his people after June 30, 2022.
Indeed, this is so far the most bizarre of elections, what with the ruling party having a hard time completing its senatorial lineup, and still waiting for its real presidential bet almost two weeks after the deadline for the filing of certificate of candidacy.
Add to that the fact that even Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, a known Duterte ally, has preferred to seek re-election as an independent. He hasn’t uttered anything adverse to the Palace, but his having shunned the administration ticket despite the inherent advantage it offers in terms of resources somehow sums up the fears – tentative perhaps – of many of its supporters that May 2022 would be different from May 2019.
I’d like to think it’s not just because a flower in the political meadow has turned pink. (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. H. Marcos C. Mordeno can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)