Manila Standard : My choice: Sara-Bongbong

News & Interviews
5 October 2021

By Emil Jurado | Manila Standard

"The tandem would be formidable."

Warning: A group of people are going around, soliciting money at P1,000 apiece supposedly for the campaign funds of Vice President Leni Robredo who has been claiming she lacks funds for her bid for President.

When I ask the people why they are soliciting funds for the Vice President, their answer was if you believe in Robredo, P1,000 will do. I did not contribute because I don’t believe in Robredo. I knew it was a scam, my gulay!

Just beware. This is the time when scammers take advantage of the gullible.
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There are now at least six running for President: Senator Ping Lacson, Senator Manny Pacquiao, former Senator Bongbong Marcos, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, Vice President Leni Robredo, and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.

I included presidential daughter Sara because sources told me she would run for President. I am told Bongbong Marcos and Sara will eventually team up, with Bongbong running as vice president.

They all have their strengths and weaknesses.

Ping Lacson: He is popular, having been a senator for quite some time. Senate President Tito Sotto, as Ping’s vice president, will also help him a lot. Both senators can rely on name recall and their stand against graft and corruption.

There are more popular candidates, to be sure. Nevertheless, I believe that the Lacson-Sotto team is strong.

Manny Pacquiao: His strength is his popularity as a boxing icon and his billions of money he earned while in the boxing arena. But I cannot believe that money and popularity can make a president. People are smarter than that. Pacquiao can also say all that he was once a poor man and a stevedore. But people know he lacks education, having finished only up to the fourth grade. Pacman’s choice of Lito Atiene will not help him, either.

Lack of education, to my mind, will be Pacquiao’s downfall. Personally, I will be ashamed to have Pacquiao as my President.

Isko Moreno: his strengths are his looks, and the fact that he is still young. People usually go for good-looking politicians, and the fact that Isko was a one-time movie actor. Having defeated Erap Estrada as mayor of Manila itself is a big score in his favor. Metro Manila and the National Capital Region are also his bailiwick.

But I believe it was a big mistake for Isko to have Dr. Willie Ong as his vice-presidential candidate. Isko should have chosen a running mate from another region.

Vice President Leni Robredo: Considering the fact that the Liberal Party is no longer in power, funding could be a problem for Robredo. Surveys already show that her rating is way down. I don’t know if Robredo will pursue her candidacy for president since up to this later date, her efforts to unify the opposition is becoming an impossible dream. She can always opt to run for Camarines Sur governor.

As far as I’m concerned, Robredo cannot win.

Bongbong Marcos: The name Marcos is still alive in politics no matter how the haters and enemies are concerned. I am convinced that Bongbong was cheated by the Liberal Party in the 2016 elections.

I am writing this on the belief that at the end, it will be a Bongbong Marcos-Sara Duterte-Carpio tandem. This is a winning combination, geographically and demographically speaking.

With regard to the poll surveys, their findings are just snapshots at that particular time when the surveys were taken. They could well reflect growing sentiments of people. What we should watch out for are poll surveys done during the last two weeks before election day. This is almost always accurate.

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A development that the much-touted Sambayan which hoped to unite the opposition under one banner is its decision to field Vice President Leni as its candidate for President. Some may say that I am biased — sure I am -- but I believe, considering the low ratings of Robredo in surveys, the opposition will lose. It was different during the 2016 polls when the Liberal Party was in power.

So, what will it be? From the looks of it, and unless my inside sources are wrong, it will be a fight between the Isko Moreno-Willie Ong tandem and the Sara Duterte-Carpio-Bongbong Marcos tandem.

I am inclined to favor the Sara-Bongbong team since it’s geographically and demographically formidable.

In my over seven decades as a journalist, I know the regional sentiments of voters. An Ilocano tends to vote for an Ilocano candidate wherever he is, whether in the North or in the South, whether he is in Ilocos or in Mindanao. But as I said, we must remember that politics is the art of the possible.

For the sake of our children, I hope and pray that our next President is somebody we can all be proud of.