Manuel Mejorada : VP Robredo should ask Andy Bautista: where did 9.9 million votes go?

9 August 2021

By Manuel Mejorada

For more than five years now, Vice President Leni Robredo has made it a career to build a public image of a competent, hard-working and dedicated leader of the nation. At every opportunity, she tried to put down President Rodrigo Duterte by suggesting, unashamedly, that she could have done a better job in all aspects of the government. With the support of the mainstream media, VP Robredo never lacked media mileage. In fact, there was an overflow of it.

Those efforts, however, have achieved nothing. As in zero. After five years on the job, VP Robredo hasn’t gone up an inch in terms of her trust and approval ratings. Her poll numbers have stayed flat at near bottom, fluctuating every so slightly from 6 to 8%. She’s like a consumer product that, despite billions of pesos spent for advertising and marketing, couldn’t even get 10%. Her rival in the 2016 polls, former Senator Bongbong Marcos, is a constant second place in the surveys at around 14% without effort.

VP Robredo is aware of what her numbers are. And that’s the reason for her hesitation in deciding whether or not to seek the Presidency. As the incumbent VP, she is the most logical choice to lead the opposition as presidential candidate. Her partymates have said time and again, the privilege is hers for the taking. She doesn’t need to ask for it. All she needs to do is say, “yes”.

I find it hard to understand her hesitation. Is she hoping that a miracle would happen? Why is she “negotiating” with Senators Lacson and Gordon to “forge a unitied front”? What does she mean by “united”? That the others will step aside for her? Well, Lacson has every reason to insist about running. His numbers are statistically tied with VP Robredo. This is the reason he suggested his “formula” about all of them filing their candidacies, watch their numbers during the campaign period, and then give way to the front-runner among them close to the elections.

Why doesn’t VP Robredo simply back out of the race? She can’t possibly win under any scenario. Unless, of course, another hat trick is pulled off by Smartmatic.

But Andy Bautista has gone into self-exile, afraid to face the criminal charges that will arise from his corruption and the data leak that may been the precursor to the cheating.

And talking about Bautista, why doesn’t VP Robredo ask the former Comelec chair about where the 9.9 million votes that supposedly gave her a hairline of a margin over Marcos had gone? Translated to percentage, that number of votes is about 24.5%. That means when she assumed office, she had about one-fourth of Filipino voters supporting her. If that was true, she shouldn’t have had difficulty building up her power base in the course of five years. Is the logic hard for VP Robredo to comprehend?

By this time, with the abundance of media mileage she obtained from mainstream media, her figures should easily hover in the vicinity of 50%. That’s on the assumption that her PR campaign was effective.

From where I stand, VP Robredo’s situation unravels the truth about the cheating. There never was almost 10 million votes for her. It defies logic for her numbers to fall precipitously to just 8% after five years of massive marketing.

It’s time for VP Robredo to throw in the towel.