Los Baños, Laguna – No one ever predicted that at the height of this election season, the whole country will be tinged with varying shades of the color pink.
Of course, many expected Vice President Leni Robredo to run for president and be the flag bearer of the opposition.
After all, as Vice President, she demonstrated the qualities that make her a good leader, from her ability to react in a crisis to her ingenuity in making her office one of the most successful executive agencies. ; from her determination to face the political and legal harassment to the dignity she has shown on the diplomatic scene.
After all, too, she has already won an election against all odds, beating political heavyweights including Bongbong Marcos himself. During this campaign, which saw her skyrocket from zero to 31% in a matter of months, we saw glimpses of her charisma; his way with words, his way with people; her provincial middle-class upbringing that allowed her to relate to people across the country – and, conversely, allowed people across the country to relate to her.
Yet no one foresaw the energy she would elicit, the crowds her rallies would attract, the rallies those crowds would organize themselves even without her; the sheer enthusiasm they would carry.
No one imagined that politicians from across the political spectrum would rally behind her.
And no one imagined that beyond the elitists she and her supporters have been falsely stereotyped, she will be backed by an unprecedented assembly of farmers and fishermen; indigenous and labor movements; scholars and artists; Bangsamoro leaders and Catholic groups; really people from all walks of life.
What can explain the pink movement?
First of all, enough people noticed it. They noticed that despite the pambabastos of the president, the vice-president remained dignified; despite the panlait of her many adversaries, she remains imperturbable. And despite the years of paninira, his record and his character remain irreproachable.
Moreover, enough people are fed up with the tyranny, corruption and incompetence of the past six years, and the chronic failures of our elite political system. Every administration will have its share of laudable accomplishments, but Mr. Duterte’s legacy will be his murderous war on drugs, his failed COVID response, and his attack on our institutions.
Plus, enough people remember who the Marcos really are and what they stand for: cronyism, corruption, torture, and other untold human rights abuses.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, especially in the coming weeks, enough people volunteer to bring the above to more people, keeping in mind that, in Leni’s words, ” radikal ang magmahal”. Beyond the crowds in its rallies, the house-to-house movement is what can ultimately make a difference in these elections.
It’s unclear if her momentum will be enough to carry her to victory. Although the surveys may be flawed, their findings suggest that it will always be an uphill battle; beyond the electoral calculus, it will have to overcome the political cogs and machinations, and alas, the Electoral Commission itself did not inspire confidence.
We also don’t know if, if she wins, her promises will be kept. For all my admiration for VP Leni; despite all my faith in her, I must say that her support is only as good as her loyalty to the principles she has shown over the years.
These caveats notwithstanding, her candidacy is already a victory in that it has revealed what is still possible in our country amid attacks on our democracy, truth, history and freedoms.
This is a country where a middle-class lawyer who took the bus to Naga and stayed in a dormitory in Diliman can aspire to run for president and attract the support of millions.
This is a country where people could still freely gather in whatever color they wanted and make their voices heard, whether in Pasig or Pangasinan.
It is a country where one still calls a liar and a thief when he tries to return to his family’s crime scene.
And yes, it is still a country where our votes, yours and mine, can make a difference.
And so, as I head to the polls on May 9, I will take with me the belief that Leni Robredo can win, and with the even stronger belief that, whatever the outcome, our support for her can make a difference. between darkness and light. .
For, indeed, Leni Robredo and the pink movement she inspired have already given our country something we will need more of in the months and years to come:
To subscribe to MORE APPLICANT to access The Philippine Daily Inquirer and over 70 titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to news, download as early as 4am and share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.