The risk of a wrong decision is preferable to the terror of indecision.
– Maimonides

I’ve been trying to make sense of the opposition nowadays.

While I’ve written earlier how I would’ve wanted Trillanes to run for President instead of Robredo, there’s still a part of me that acknowledges how almost everyone I know looks up to her as a more formidable candidate for President and I totally recognize that.

However, there’s a huge problem.

Leni’s lack of decision on whether she will run for President or not presents a massive elephant in the room. And I have to agree with this analysis of Segundo Romero.

“One does not always wait for the wind to get to the presidency. One can create it.”

One of the reasons given by Leni was that it would be very unethical to talk about the elections of 2022 when there’s a pandemic staring everyone in the face.

However, her reaction also begs the question of what more can the country lose by having an inept president giving the reigns of power to another potentially inept loyal follower of his, such as his daughter?

When is the right time to talk about the 2022 elections? When the pandemic is over?

The problem with Leni’s argument is that it practically begs the question of who is the one more capable of ending the pandemic by making proper use of taxpayers’ money and responsible leadership.

Perhaps the most crucial question is, what does our country stand to lose by Leni’s decision of not announcing her candidacy?

Many people believe that she should announce her candidacy as early as now to raise campaign funds and build momentum with her support base.

While others think that by announcing earlier, her entire work and projects towards the amelioration of people’s lives in the pandemic will be construed as politicking.

The ironic thing about all these is that Sara Duterte is already known to be going around the country and solidifying her grassroots base by pushing out posters, billboards, and tarpaulins.

I assess that based on the actions of Sara, this is no time to be decent and politically correct.

So in thinking deeply about this, I came up with an imaginary conversation that could potentially make sense of the consequences of Leni’s decisions.

The conversation goes like this:

Me: Bro, let’s support VP Leni Robredo for President this 2022.

Friend: Ermm, is she going to run?

Me: Ermm. I am not sure, but we are trying to make her run.

Friend: Are you saying that you are asking people to support her first before she decides to run?

Me: What I would like to say is before she runs, there’s already a huge support base that is ready to help in her campaign.

Friend: But what if she decides that she doesn’t want to run?

Me: Well, we will support the candidate that she will endorse and has more chances to win.

Friend: Is that because of her dismal survey ratings?

Me: You can say that, but it’s more complicated than that.

Friend: What do you mean?

Me: There’s the issue of budget plus logistics and other stuff.

Friend: So let me try to make sense of all of this; First, you want me to support a candidate who’s not sure if she will even run.

Second, you want me to join you to convince her to run.

And third, you want me to support the candidate that she will endorse if she doesn’t run.

Isn’t that putting too much faith in just one person?

I also think that what you’re asking is too hard to sell. I mean, I am an undergrad, and I even find it hard to be convinced of all these, how much more for the masses.

Me: Yes, but then again, it’s not only her who hasn’t declared that she’s going to run; there’s Isko and Pacquiao and others.

Friend: I think that is irrelevant; her candidacy doesn’t hinge on them, it’s either she runs or not.

Me: I agree. But I hope you consider my invitation because she’s the only credible candidate for the opposition and perhaps the only one who can save this country.

Friend: Perhaps, but how about those who’s already decided to vote for her instead of the one she will endorse?

Because if they are already convinced that VP Leni Robredo is the only one who can save this country, it doesn’t make sense that they will support the person she endorses just because she said so, simply because it isn’t her who’s running for office.

Me: So what do you propose then?

Friend: I am not sure if VP Leni’s silence on running is a strategy or a tactic where the end goal is for her to win the elections. I am also wary that she is considering another candidate based on winnability and survey ratings instead of choosing her ‘replacement’ as a matter of principle and because of responsible leadership.

And lastly, I see a disconnect with her followers and herself; if you guys believe that she’s the only credible opposition and yet VP Leni thinks that she isn’t by giving up her candidacy to another, then that is a massive problem for the opposition because you are not of one mind and one heart.

Because logically, if VP Leni believes the same way you do, then she will run regardless of winnability. She will run because she believes that she is the only one who can defeat Duterte’s candidate, and even if she loses, the act of running is defiant enough to prove a point.

Me: I’m afraid that I would have to agree with everything you said, but what choice do we have right now?

Friend: I remember seeing a Tiktok video by Chel Diokno; he talked about procrastination and how his father, Jose Diokno, describes it in his notes as “tomorrowitis.”

His dad says that there are only two reasons why people procrastinate:
1. They think that the task isn’t important.
2. They are afraid to fail.

And the secret of getting the job done is to start it.

Now giving VP Leni the benefit of the doubt and based on everything you told me about her campaign, I don’t think VP Leni doesn’t believe it is essential to run for president.

However, I see a huge potential for the second answer as to why she is holding back from proclaiming her candidacy.

Me: Or perhaps she is just waiting for the right time, and it is her way of mustering support from the public. I remember Duterte also did the same back in 2016.

Friend: True, but his words were different; he told people not to vote for him after telling them that he would not run.

Yet, his actions imply that he will run because he was going around the country talking about Federalism and how it will benefit the country, covertly attacking the status quo using his infamous “imperial manila” narrative.

So you see the difference?

Me: I still don’t see it; care to expound?

Friend: He was saying one thing but doing another; his closest aides are saying that he will run but in interviews, he keeps on saying he isn’t, thus keeping the attention of the media, keeping them in suspense, he keeps people interested, and he gets to be talked about.

That is the thing; you need to be talked about regardless of the topic.

Me: But majority of the discussions about him were about his unbelief in restorative justice? His summary killings using his Davao Death Squad?

Friend: You’re correct, but then this is where he utilized social media; his online army harped on his “safety and discipline” safety from drug addicts and discipline as a means of success.

He effectively piqued the interest of the nuclear family; parents don’t like pesky children, let alone a drug addict one.

Who wouldn’t want to be safe, and who wouldn’t want discipline?

Don’t you notice that elections are won by targeting nuclear families across classes?

The genius of what Duterte did is that anyone can blame the lack of discipline as a reason for every problem in this country.

Duterte’s followers then concocted and sometimes fabricated stories of success revolving around these two straightforward campaign values.

It became a matter of how many stories people can come up with, whether they are true or false.

Their strategy was so successful that people associated Duterte with safety and discipline so much so that criticizing him would mean you are against safety and discipline.

And the messaging is so simple that even a ten year old can grasp it.

Me: That’s a compelling theory, but how does that translate to VP Leni winning the elections?

Friend: Everything I said earlier only points to one thing, keep people interested in her.

Let her be controversial, mysterious, transparent by letting people tell stories about her; if she decides to run, let her point at something she wants to bring the country to.

Without a destination, there’s nothing to lead people to.

Duterte did this by using Federalism changing the form of government where the minority will have an equal opportunity to better their lives; Pnoy used this by his “Daang Matuwid” a no corruption policy with the “Kung Walang kurap, Walang mahirap,” what does VP Leni bring to the table where the nuclear family can quickly identify and associate with?

Me: Point well taken; however, there’s also the problem of time and the pandemic.

Friend: Bro, we need to accept the fact that the pandemic will stay with us indefinitely. As for the problem of time, people make time for the things they find meaningful and valuable.

Me: I guess this is a life and death situation; I mean literally for our country and our people’s health. And the best reason for VP Leni to win is for our country to get out of this pandemic alive.

Friend: Bingo!

Me: So what now? Will you join us?

Friend: Ermm, is she going to run?