By Jojo Robles | Manila Standard Today
I said it before and I’ll say it again: If the constant background noise about removing President Rodrigo Duterte is to go away for good, former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. must win his electoral protest in the Supreme Court against Vice President Leni Robredo.
There is just no other way around it. Because those who are against Duterte are almost always the same people who will have nothing to do with Marcos (and who are, incidentally, absolutely in favor of Robredo remaining in office), installing Marcos as the vice president will immediately end all the plotting and scheming against the President.
This is what all those years of observing the Yellows, who adore all things Aquino and hate all things Marcos, have taught me: It is a basic, unshakeable tenet of their political faith that the only thing worse than having Duterte as president is removing Duterte and having Marcos take his place.
I would go so far as to predict that if Marcos wins his electoral protest against Robredo before the high court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, all the Yellows trying to figure out ways to remove Duterte (in order to install Robredo to the presidency) will become his most ardent protectors overnight. In such a situation, the jaundiced minds of the Yellows will automatically make them embrace the “lesser evil” of a Duterte presidency rather than to even consider the possibility that a Marcos would return to Malacañang.
And even if the Yellows do not suddenly turn into more rabid defenders of the President than any bunch of pro-Duterte bloggers, a loss by Robredo will make them reassess their priorities and give up on the short-term goal of ousting Digong by any means. Because the Yellows’ sole hope of regaining the power that they have been accustomed to in the last three decades with the removal of Robredo will be lost, Duterte will be able to perform the work that he’s been voted to do.
And he’ll be able to do the job without the distractions routinely provided by the Liberal Party remnants in Congress, the elitists and their pro-Yellow media, the leadership of Catholic Church and all the other carpers and naysayers who don’t want to give him a chance to prove his worth. That’s how important a Marcos victory in the PET is, for the Duterte administration.
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Understand, I’m not saying that there will no longer be any opposition to Duterte’s government if you take the Yellows out of the political equation—or that squelching all opposition is a good thing. But the criticism of Duterte that will remain will be legitimate, because it will no longer be based on the Yellow calculus which states that the President has to be constantly attacked since he stands in the way of a Robredo presidency.
And legitimate opposition is a sine qua non of democratic governance. By contrast, Yellow criticism is unfailingly destructive and unreasonable; its goal is invariably the seizure of power in a “people power”-style upheaval.
Which is why yesterday’s ruling by the Supreme Court as PET junking Robredo’s petition to dismiss the Marcos protest is significant. And, equally important, the court reiterated that the Marcos protest was sufficient in both form and substance when it threw out Leni’s plea.
The thing is, the Yellow propaganda machine which Robredo inherited has largely succeeded in keeping media attention away from even the existence of the Marcos protest. I certainly won’t be surprised if the game plan is to continue to ignore the high court ruling dismissing her latest petition, to make people think that her election is no longer being questioned.
And the Robredo propaganda campaign continues to chug along. For instance, persistent reports that Marcos will be appointed to Duterte’s Cabinet as soon as the one-year ban on losing candidates in the previous election ends is being spun into a demand—first made by an unabashedly Yellow congressman—that Marcos should withdraw his protest if he is named by Duterte to some appointive post.
This is a stupid (and very Yellow) twisting of a legitimate story. After all, it’s long been established in jurisprudence that the automatic extinguishing of an electoral protest happens only when the protester runs for another elective post, not because he has accepted an appointive one.
But this is only the latest proof of the hatred that wells up in the Yellows whenever they hear the Marcos name. Even Duterte’s own problems with the pro-Aquino clique, after all, can be traced ultimately to the perception that he is sympathetic to the Marcoses.
Which means that there are really two ways for Duterte to be rid of the carping from (and plotting by) the bitter Yellows: He can turn Yellow himself and publicly profess allegiance to the political faith of the Aquino family, or he can allow the Supreme Court to do the job of removing Robredo and replacing her with Marcos.
Duterte isn’t about to turn Yellow, by all indications. So he needs the insurance of having Marcos as his vice president, in order to shut up the Yellows who are constantly trying to remove him from office in order to bring back one of their own to power.
Having a vice president who is going to work hand in hand with Duterte to push his administration’s agenda, both in Cabinet and outside of it, is just a bonus.