A fake leader with a fake color and a fake character.
That, more or less, was how Manila Mayor and Aksyon Demokratiko presidential candidate Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso described outgoing Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo in a press conference last week. Although Domagoso did not explicitly mention Robredo’s name in his tirade, it was pretty obvious that he was referring to the veep.
Robredo is purportedly an independent candidate for president, although she insists that she is still the chairman of the Liberal Party (LP).
Earlier in September, Robredo met up with Domagoso and Senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao to explore the possibility of coming out with a single opposition candidate for president. Those talks fizzled out after Domagoso and Pacquiao both decided to run for president.
It was also learned that Robredo met up with another candidate for president, Senator Panfilo Lacson, and with Senator Richard Gordon, for a possible team-up in the elections. Those talks led nowhere.
All along, Robredo wanted to be anointed as “the” candidate of what she thought would have been a united opposition.
The Domagoso camp learned that right after Robredo filed her Certificate of Candidacy with the Commission on Elections, her supporters went online using the telltale #WithdrawIsko hashtag.
That hashtag urged Domagoso to withdraw from the presidential derby, on the premise that he will steal votes which are meant for Robredo. Naturally, the Manila mayor’s camp was angry.
Domagoso himself was terribly upset to learn that Robredo disclosed in an interview that his positive views about the late President Ferdinand Marcos was one of the reasons why she decided to run for president at the last minute. For Robredo, Domagoso is a Marcos admirer.
Indeed, Domagoso has always been candid about his high regard for the late President Ferdinand Marcos and the latter’s many enduring accomplishments for the country, but he has also expressed his disapproval for some abuses committed during the strongman’s martial law regime. Robredo does not see it that way.
By describing Robredo as a fake leader with a fake color and a fake character, Domagoso referred to Robredo’s lack of leadership skills; her clumsy decision to supposedly disassociate herself from the LP by running purportedly as an independent candidate for president; and Robredo as an insincere person.
Domagoso said it all.
As he pointed out, Robredo vainly sees herself as the leader of the political opposition, but she is unable to unite the political opposition under one presidential candidate. Add to that Robredo’s earlier five-and-a-half-year indecision as to whether she will run for president or not.
Domagoso also scored Robredo’s scheme to use pink as the symbolic color of her campaign, instead of yellow, the color identified with the LP which she chairs. For him, Robredo’s shift to pink and decision to run as an independent candidate for president shows that Robredo is ashamed of the LP. He added that if Robredo can easily abandon her own political party, she can easily abandon all 110 million Filipinos whom she purportedly wants to serve as president.
The mayor also urged the people not to be fooled by Robredo’s color tactics. He called Robredo’s use of pink as a superficial, self-serving attempt to disassociate herself from her own political party.
As observers noted, by using pink as her campaign color and by running as an “independent” candidate, Robredo wants to trick voters into thinking that she has nothing to do with the LP, which has become very unpopular with voters.
Robredo’s strategy is, at best, cosmetic in character, because her vice-presidential running mate, Senator Francis Pangilinan, and her campaign manager, ex-Senator Bam Aquino, are LP names.
Domagoso also scored Robredo and her supporters for behaving as if they own democracy in the Philippines, as confirmed by the #WithdrawIsko hashtag.
Pink or yellow, Robredo’s true color should now be obvious to the electorate.