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The Next Bicol Bet?

Many are wondering if former VP Leni Robredo will again run for a national position, or if she would rather enter local politics anew—this remains up in the air for the 15 million voters who supported her.

As of today—from among the opposition, no one is taking the helm. There is no logically strong leader in that group who is credible, charismatic, inspiring and with a magnetic personality rolled into one who could be a formidable challenger against the well-oiled administration’s next presidential candidate—“The Lady-in-Waiting”—and get the support of the majority.

Opposition wannabe leaders at this time are either considered weakling who profess to be gallant but groans at the sight of a worthy battle against the corrupt. Others who pitifully masquerade as members of the opposition have a deep-rooted historical connection with the present dispensation. They are locally dubbed as politicians with “birik-birik ang tambod”. Few are bona fide members of the opposition but none of them is considered presidential timber at this time.

The most deprived Region, by all means, is Bicol. To this day, it has not produced a President since the Republic was born while others had theirs. Twice, a Bicolano ran for the highest position: Sen. Raul Roco in 1988 and VP Leni Robredo very recently, both from Naga City. And, sad to say though, both also lost by a wide margin.

Bicol has produced principled Senators in the past, the likes of Jose Fuentebella (1928-1935), Edmundo Cea (1953-1959), Tekla San Andres Ziga (1963-1969), Dominador Aytona (1965-1971), Raul Roco (1992-2001) and many more. They remained true to their conviction—that a “Public Office is a Public Trust”.

Considered an opposition enclave, Bicol has become one of the poorest regions in the entire country. Perennially an anti-administration, it has supported almost always whoever was on the opposite side of the fence. In the 1986 snap election, it sided with Corazon Aquino against Pres. Marcos; in 1992 it sided with Sen. Salonga against DoD Sec. Ramos (winner), in 2004 it sided with Sen. Lacson against incumbent Pres. Macapagal (winner); in 1998 it sided with Sen. Roco against VP Estrada (winner); in 2010 it sided with Sen. Noynoy Aquino (who eventually won against former Pres. Estrada and snapped the losing odds of Bicolanos); in 2016 it sided with Sen. Roxas against Mayor Duterte (winner), and finally in the last election, it sided with VP Leni against BBM (winner). From these historical election episodes, one can surmise that Bicol indeed, is a land of losers.

The list of eventual winners above against the Bicol-backed losing candidates (except the Aquinos that Bicol both supported but won) is, however, tainted with corruption and their crookedness dismally continued until the very end of their term. Yes, Bicol is a land of losers, but its finest consolation is it solidly sided with the righteous ones—So Mote It Be.

But this doesn’t mean that Bicol is a lost cause. Bicol has other capable and distinguished leaders whose array of admirable characteristics and resolve in serving the true interest of the people is worthy of inspiration not only to Bicolanos but to all Filipinos as well.

Former Senator Leila de Lima of Iriga City, Camarines Sur is at the very top of that Bicolano lineup.

She has been incarcerated unjustly by the State because she is considered an exponential threat and too nosy and noisy on the past administration’s brutal War on Drugs. And yet, she would be remembered in perpetuity as a Champion of Human Rights despite of repeated attempts by her ruthless enemies to extirpate her honor. When the time comes and the truth is bared and she is set free, her palpable courage and belligerence towards corruption will be acknowledged and appreciated with enduring honor.

Bicolanos will never forget the mendacious politicians that abandoned and unfairly prosecuted her in exchange for their political survival and self-interest.

When the sky is finally clear, a unified Bicol shall rally behind her and shall remain steadfast in the face of adversity. A movement for unequivocal good government, which she intensely advocates will soon see a gush of enthusiasm that will engulf the discontented nation long been abused by the extended line of thieves. In the end, Bicol will at last by then, have its consequential conclusion—victory will be sweeter this time around!

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