Leni Robredo: The pink revolution
What a difference a single day can make in politics, especially in our festival-style democracy. Undoubtedly, Vice President Leni Robredo managed to overshadow all of her rivals last week, both those who formally entered their candidacy for the presidency and those who are likely to undertake an 11-hour “substitution maneuver” next month.
Thanks to a forceful speech, timely announcement and an exquisitely choreographed presidential campaign, Robredo has not only restarted liberal politics with a vengeance, but could also turn next year’s elections upside down. After years of political and legal harassment, while maintaining her dignity and moral convictions, the TP wasted no time in reminding everyone of her iron resolve.
“I am firm in my decision – we have to get out of the current situation. I will fight. We will fight, ”she said in her sonorous speech, which certainly impressed even some of her naysayers, while moving her most passionate followers to tears. She presented herself not only as a candidate for decency and hope, but also for competence and cooperation.
At the heart of Robredo’s campaign is nothing less than a revolt against populist incompetence and the “old and rotten politics” of traditional politicians. Again, we saw the same spirited Robredo who caused the biggest turmoil in the elections in the 2016 elections.
The new Robredo, or rather her return to form, clearly resonated with millions of her compatriots. Literally overnight, social media platforms went pink as countless Filipinos, from celebrity celebrities to humble folks, proudly soaked themselves in the new colors of political opposition.
It wasn’t long before big brands, seeing the rise of the “pink wave” on the internet, tried to make money from the new craze. It goes without saying that Barbie and Hello Kitty had a good week.
And with a flood of election excitement came an amusing linguistic confusion: The search frequency for the Filipino translation of “pink” jumped by a whopping 50 percent via Google when Internet users were wondering about the latest version of “Dilawan”, the derogatory term “Yellow” liberal supporters bound.
In the Philippines it suddenly became cool to be a “liberal”, especially as populism is declining faster and faster. The pink wave was not only an expression of support for the TP, but also a reflection of the explosive cocktail of seething anger and widespread disenchantment that greeted the populist’s dawn in the Malacañang Palace.
Certainly Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. wasn’t too happy that his 2016 rival saw the show steal again. So did the other candidates who refused to obey their call for a “united opposition” in pursuit of their own personal ambitions.
As for Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, the incumbent’s best election as anointed successor, her alleged campaign for Malacañang is rapidly losing steam. To be clear, drama is vital in politics, but as long as the script is fresh and well thought out.
In 2016, the 11-hour substitution worked for her dad simply because it had an unprecedented response and received millions of die-hard supporters. This time, however, there are no moments of surprise, as all other candidates expect such a change, nor the much-touted “rally-around-the-flag” effect, especially since Marcos is consolidating his base on the right-wing side of the political spectrum. The ship has sailed.
Historically, presidential elections in the Philippines are usually against the incumbent as people tend to change over continuity. Although incumbent Vice President, Leni Robredo is ironically the only candidate in this race who has consistently defied the incumbent’s political excesses and the worst instincts.
Robredo’s top rivals are either former allies of the President who conveniently switched sides on Mr Duterte’s twilight, or are still his allies for convenience who also happen to have their own historical baggage.
Nonetheless, the internet pink revolt ultimately needs to be supported not only by massive ground war (i.e., nationwide machinery) and aerial warfare (i.e., media exposure), but also by a committed and progressive grassroots movement if that is the case around our era of “old and rotten.” Politics ”to overthrow.
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