Manila Standard : Who will take the driver’s seat?

News & Interviews
30 August 2021

By Charlie V. Manalo | Manila Standard

"Lawyer Larry Gadon predicts that Bongbong Marcos will run for president."

Early last week, Senator Imee Marcos shocked the throngs of diehard Marcos supporters when she bared during an interview, she would not support her brother, former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. should he decide to run for president.

The senator instead floated the idea of her brother running as vice president for Davao City Mayor, Inday Sara Duterte, describing the proposed tandem as “a marriage made in heaven.”

Seeking a reaction from the staunchest Marcos supporter regarding Senator Imee’s pronouncement, lawyer Larry Gadon said that while he hadn’t talked to the lawmaker lately, her statement was the most appropriate at that time as both camps have not declared any intention as to what post they would be running for.

“Why would you close the door when you haven’t even reached the point wherein you have to declare what post you are really running for?” said Gadon.

“It would be improper to demand upfront for the post you would like to seek especially if it is for the post of the president and then go hardline, assuming there is or there would be a negotiation between the Marcoses and the Dutertes,” Gadon added.

I definitely agree with Atty. Larry. Election is a game of numbers, mainly addition. So why risk losing a potential chunk of votes from a potential ally? If they indeed would run as partners, which I have long said to be potentially unbeatable, they would have to open their options as to what would be best for the people and what could help them claim their victory in 2022.

But as the filing of the certificates of candidacy is only a few weeks away, they would have to decide sooner as to who between the two of them has to take the driver’s seat – who will run for president and who will vie for the vice presidency?

If we are to take into consideration the latest political development, it seems Inday Sara has the most formidable political machinery with five major political parties throwing their support in her way – Lakas-CMD, Nacionalista Party, National Unity Party, Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino and Partido ng Masang Pilipino.

Senator Manny Pacquiao is counting on people’s emotions after he was humiliated in the ring by Yordenis Ugas two weeks ago and is reportedly forming his own political party. Rumor has it he may be teaming up with Vice President Leni Robredo.

Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko” Domago has joined a reactivated Aksyon Demokratiko, supposedly composed of Leftist groups and a faction of the Yellows.

PDD-Laban is bent on fielding the tandem of Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go and President Rody Duterte. But with the controversies surrounding the administration over the alleged anomalies involving the procurement of materials and equipment to combat COVID-19, it seems Go has to kiss his political ambition goodbye and just focus on the legal cases he might be facing in the near future. (According to a breaking news yesterday as I was writing this piece, Pacquiao’s PDP-Laban faction has ousted Duterte as party president).

Which leaves us then to Bongbong Marcos -- or simply BBM to his supporters.

If indeed he teams up with the presidential daughter, what then could he contribute to ensure their victory, given the support Inday Sara has gathered from five of the country’s major political parties?

Votes. BBM has the votes. As I have mentioned in my previous columns, Marcos supporters have been steadily on the rise, first coming out in the open in 2010 when a member of the Marcos family – BBM finally decided to seek a national post, 24 years after his father was removed from office. BBM won despite the fact that his party mates, those adopted by the NP from the Left, heavily campaigned against him.

And assuming he indeed was not cheated in 2016 for the vice-presidential post, the number still shows. He got more than 14 million votes. In 2019, his sister, Senator Imee got a little less than 16 million votes.
In fact, many of Duterte's supporters whom I have talked to concede that a large portion of the votes President Duterte got in 2016 came from the Marcos supporters. I have also stated this in my previous articles.

Also, what could spell a downside for the Davao City mayor is the present controversy hounding her father-president and his loyal aide. It was a good thing she had distanced herself from the two before the issue on the COVID-19 anomaly imploded right in Go’s face. As Neil McCauley would have advised her, “Don't let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner.” And she did that exactly.

So, with BBM having the numbers and Inday Sara having the machinery -- albeit with a baggage created by her father’s alalay -- who would be the most logical to lead the team if ever they partner up?
Gadon has got the answer.

“BBM will definitely run for president!” is Gadon’s bold prediction. And I have no reason to doubt him.

**

Speaking of BBM, the religious community has expressed elation over his appeal to ease quarantine restrictions on places of worship.

Expressing his gratitude, Willy Lasac of the Worldwide Soul Winners described Marcos as “God's instrument to help make the church stronger during this difficult and uncertain time.”

The Cenacle Harvest Ministries, for their part, said Marcos’ understanding of their predicament was a “manifestation he was raised in a God-fearing home.”

"At this point in time, we are holding on to our faith alone to cheer us up and not to be consumed by fear, insecurity and anxiety," the ministry said in a separate statement.

Pastor Kenneth Andre Durante of the Biyaya ng Diyos Revival Church said it is blessed Marcos “took the cudgels” for the church and other places of worship to give people opportunity to express their faith while the country battles the pandemic.

Personally, I am also in support of Marcos’ appeal to ease restrictions on religious gatherings. In fact, I even believe restrictions should also be eased on economic activities including the opening of the malls.

Why wait until we get that herd immunity when we could start our path to normalization by opening up little by little? As of August 23, we have already administered more than 30 million shots with about 13.2 million having their complete doses.

So, why not start with these 13 million individuals to lead the way in getting our lives back to the old normal? That would be much better instead of giving out dole.