What my support for VP Leni Robredo means

By Raul F. Borjal


VP Leni Robredo’s senatorial slate has become a point of dissension among her supporters. After its announcement, many were dismayed and expressed the intention to vote only for 6 or 7 among the candidates, and perhaps choose other candidates from opposing camps. The reaction is perfectly understandable. But, how should we look at the slate?


The slate is an important part of VP Leni’s overall plans for her administration. Its importance extends beyond the election campaign into her actual governance. She wants her supporters to vote for all her candidates as a team and make them win so they can drive her legislative agenda. It requires her supporters to trust her, even against their own deepest sentiments and moral qualms, in order to achieve a higher purpose - the success of her administration.


Some say that VP Leni does not need all her candidates to win since historically politicians always flock to the party of the President because they are only after their own personal interest. Party loyalty is fickle, they say. But, let us remember that VP Leni is running as an Independent. The Liberal Party will not play a major role nor have great influence in her administration. I do not think that politicians will flock to the Liberal Party. I do not see Imee Marcos, Bong Go, Bato de la Rosa, etc. kowtowing to a President Leni. They will operate as a demolition team to ensure President Leni’s failure in preparation for the next presidential election in 2028. And if there will be politicians who will promote their personal interest with President Leni over the interest of the country, I don’t see her acceding to shady deals and shenanigans. She will never be a transactional president with good governance as the foundation of her administration.


My support for Leni means that whatever I do must help her achieve her objectives. If it means voting for all her senatorial candidates, I will do it, even if I have to pinch my nose. It is not about me, it is about her. It is not about my conscience, principles or critical thinking, it is about doing what is pragmatic or even Machiavellian (yes, the dire situation calls for extraordinary measures) to help her achieve her goals.


In my view, the coming election is like no other, except the one that took place in 1986. VP Leni’s fight is an existential battle the outcome of which will determine whether the country will remain democratic with strong institutions, or drift to authoritarianism or even into the arms of a communist giant, and whether the economy will remain in its morbid state or be restored to the pink of health.


In ordinary times, I will take the same approach to elections as I have always done in the past, giving primacy to conscience, principles and critical thinking. But, not this time. As in 1986, I feel that this time I have to do anything and everything to help VP Leni achieve her purposes, not mine.