Mayor Rody’s “triangle offense”: classic Sun Tzu strategy

If you remember Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, you will also remember the famous triangle offense designed by their coach, Phil Jackson.

This strategy that won the Bulls six NBA championship trophies came to mind once more as I contemplated on the series of moves made by the brilliant political grandmaster, Mayor Rody Roa Duterte.

Until the last minute, the opposition was bewildered by the series of feints made by President Duterte, always unsure about where he was taking the political chess game.

On Saturday, his communications Secretary Martin Andanar said he would be filing his COC for Vice President. Senator Bong Go filed his COC for President.

Everybody waited with bated breath until the last two minutes. when it was finally announced the President was filing his candidacy as Senator.

By fielding Senator Bong Go, President Duterte was sending a message to the opposition that he wasn’t taking their disqualification case against Bongbong Marcos lightly. SBG’s candidacy was a safety valve, an insurance, against such a possibility.

President Duterte knows that SBG faces an uphill battle with his candidacy, what with the tidal wave of support rising for BBM.

But it is a brilliant sacrifice move to shield the administration, just in case.

Hence, with President Duterte joining the Senate race, his daughter Mayor Inday Sara running for Vice President, and SBG as the second pro-Duterte candidate, a perfect TRIANGLE OFFENSE has been put into effect.

Those who reacted rather violently to the President’s seemingly disoriented moves did not see the trap he was laying down. The opposition was hoping he would run for VP and use the issue of a family feud against the administration.

Little did they know that they were being taken for a ride.President Duterte knew that for his trap to be credible, he had to give the opposition something to bite and chew to distract them from the real goal.

With SBG in the race, the PDP-Laban machinery will get to work and build support for him. It is a classic “squeeze play” that will effectively isolate Vice President Leni Robredo. Down the line, the battle will likely be between BBM and SBG, with Marcos enjoying an edge with his extreme massbase support. What is important is that this strategy will reduce the opposition to smithereens.

Now it’s too late to do anything to get out of the trap.President Duterte has secured victory without firing a single shot.Classic Sun Tzu.

BREAKING NEWS: Senator Bato to withdraw COC as President! – source

Senator Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa is set to withdraw his candidacy for President under the PDP-Laban before the close of office hours of the Comelect today (Nov. 12, 2021), a source said.

This development comes after Davao City mayor Inday Sara Duterte took her oath of membership with the Lakas-CMD last night in Cavite as a preparatory step to her filing her certificate of candidacy either for President or Vice President.

The PDP-Laban game plan apparently anticipates Mayor Inday Sara to run for President, and Senator Bato’s withdrawal will signal the party’s all-out support for her.

Philippine Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa answers questions from the media after filing his certificate of candidacy for president, for the 2022 national election, in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines, October 8, 2021. Aaron Favila/Pool via REUTERS

Mayor Inday Sara has declined to answer questions on her next moves after last night’s simple oath-taking ceremony administered by House Majority Leader Ferdinand Martin Romualdez at a wedding reception where she stood as principal sponsor along with former Senator Bongbong Marcos.

Her closest allies have hinted that Mayor Inday Sara has decided to run for President after all in the wake of the growing public clamor urging her to succeed her father, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

Only two weeks ago, after a three-hour closed door meeting with BBM, Mayor Inday Sara reiterated her decision not to seek national office and declared her support for Marcos’s candidacy for President.

In an interview with CNN Philippines, Davao City councilor Danilo Dayanghirang said he had a long conversation with Mayor Inday Sara last Nov. 9 after she withdrew her COC as re-electionist candidate for Mayor of Davao City.

Mayor Inday Sara intimated to him that she is heeding the “deafening calls” for her to run for President, Dayanghirang said.

Leni Robredo could be disqualified as Presidential candidate for receiving foreign funds in 2013!

In 2013, Ma. Leonor “Leni” Gerona-Robredo, the widow of the late Jesse Robredo, was fielded by the Liberal Party as its official candidate for the congressional seat of the 3rd district of Camarines Sur. She challenged the incumbent, Nelly Villafuerte, wife of former Governor and Congressman Luis T. Villafuerte. It was a classic “David versus Goliath” electoral battle. Except that David was backed by the party in power and enjoyed the support of the police and the military. “David” also received a huge financial aid package from Americans led by Loida Nicholas-Lewis.

Robredo defeated Villafuerte by a landslide margin — 70,000 votes. Just as soon as the smoke of battle cleared, Villafuerte marched to the Commission on Elections with allegations of cheating and criminal violations committed by Robredo. One of the charges was that Robredo received foreign funding, which is prohibited by the Omnibus Election Code. Villafuerte presented solid evidence that Mrs. Lewis raised funds for Robredo in the United States. Among those that made donations were U.S.-registered corporations. Lewis herself is an American citizen who availed of the dual-citizenship law to regain her status as a Filipino. But at best, Lewis is half-American, half-Filipino. It must also be pointed out that her income comes from the profits of American businesses founded by her deceased husband.

The financial contributions made by Lewis was acknowledged by Robredo in her counter-affidavit. She insisted that it did not violate the law, however. Lewis was a holder of a Filipino passport. It is not known how she responded to the charge that American corporations also contributed money to her campaign. Apparently, Lewis is so influential that she could get her rich friends in America to help Robredo win with tons and tons of money.

The only bone of contention is whether those contributions fall under the definition of foreign funding. The case appears to have been put to sleep in the Comelec during the incumbency of its disgraced chairman, Andy Bautista. Villafuerte tried to bring it up against during the 2016 national and local elections. But her protestations was simply ignored; the yellows were still in power. Bautista was the skipper of the ship at the Comelec.

Fast forward to the present.

The case is hibernating in the Comelec. All that is needed is for the Villafuertes to seek for the resolution of the case. Alternatively, anybody can file a disqualification case against Robredo, using the evidence that the Villafuertes have submitted to substantiate the complaint.

To get a clue on how the Comelec views foreign funding for candidates, we can turn to the statement of Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon just a few days ago that a similar fund raising scheme started by Robredo’s camp was illegal. It’s simple logic: if it is illegal now, it should have been held illegal in 2013. Here’s the link to the ABS-CBN story on Guanzon’s statement (click here).

It looks to me I have opened the Pandora’s Box. There are so many skeletons of Robredo’s closet. And the ghost of Jesse Robredo will haunt her.

Inday Sara’s final answer: “BBM is my President!”

Everybody’s attention was focused on events that transpired behind closed doors in an undisclosed hotel in Cebu City. “Waiting with bated breath” was an appropriate phrase to describe how most Filipinos watched out for clues. At the back of everybody’s mind, the meeting between former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. and Davao City mayor Inday Sara Duterte will determine the outcome of the May 9, 2022 elections.

When they emerged from the meeting, both BBM and Inday Sara were tight-lipped about what they had talked about. But the pictures that were splashed all over Facebook and Twitter spoke volumes. A picture speaks a thousand words, as the old saying goes. The message was singular, as it was unmistakable. The fusion of the solid South and the solid North had taken place. As a picture published by Mike Acebedo Lopez, a known trusted friend of Inday Sara, the tiger and eagle had morphed into just one.

But it must have been hard for Lopez to keep the suspense. In a series of posts, Lopez reported that the two-and-a-half hour closed door meeting revolved around ISD’s support for the candidacy of BBM. And later on Sunday, Lopez published another poster showing BBM and ISD as a tandem. I checked with my own sources who have access to the two. They confirmed what Lopez had broadly hinted at: ISD made a commitment to helping BBM win the Presidency.

It is not yet known what ISD’s own plans are. Initially, she will stick to her re-election bid as City Mayor of Davao. The idea for her to run as Vice President, however, remains strong. For indeed, a BBM-ISD tandem would be formidable. She has until November 15, 2021 to make a final decision.

As I pointed out in my livestream Sunday night, ISD as Vice President would be feasible if BBM agrees to make her a working second-in-command. That can be achieved by assigning her to a major Cabinet portfolio that she can use as platform to demonstrate her leadership capabilities for the next six years. Two departments stand out as perfect candidates for this purpose: DSWD and DILG. Either departments will enable her to build a strong grassroots base to make her the hands-down choice to become BBM’s successor.

What is important at this time is that the suspense is over. BBM can now focus on building a strong national organization. He should approach President Duterte to formally seek his blessings now that ISD has opted not to run with finality. I believe PRRD won’t have a hard time deciding to give his support to BBM. With this unfolding of events, we can look forward to making continuity happen.

Strange bed fellows: the bad, the badder and the baddest together in Leni’s ticket

Vice President Leni Robredo’s senatorial ticket is one for the Guinness Book of Records: She brought together rusting political figures who have been rejected by the Filipino and have a history of deep personal animosity that I wouldn’t be surprised seeing them coming to blows once they get physically close to each other. Their only common denominator is a shared hatred for President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and an unquenchable thirst for power. These motivations are so strong they are willing to bury the hatchet, at least momentarily.

But seeing them run under one ticket unfurls a contradiction to the avowed goals and purposes of Robredo, one of which is to “clean government” and “get rid of corruption”. The candidates under her ticket have at one point or another accused each other of the worst corruption ever perpetrated in the country.

For instance, former Vice President Jojo Binay is hardly the icon for clean government. It wasn’t too long ago when the entire Binay family had come under relentless attack from then Senator Antonio Trillanes IV over a list of corruption issues. Foremost in that list was the grossly overpriced Makati Car Park building which became the basis for the Blue Ribbon Committee to file corruption charges against ex-VP Binay. His wife, Dr. Elenita, was also charged before the Sandiganbayan for a number of corruption cases, as was the son, former Makati City mayor Junjun Binay.

Can Robredo talk about clean government while Binay is beside her? Won’t Binay flinch at every reference to overpriced projects and other anomalies? And what will Trillanes now say about the man he was once ready to crucify for allegedly being the greediest public official in the country? Will he praise Binay now as the cleanest public official he has encountered?

Senator Leila de Lima is another character with a murky background. When she was DOJ Secretary during the Aquino administration, De Lima used to frequent the Bilibid prison to hobnob with convicted drug lords and singing and dancing at their parties. Where on earth has this happened? Only in the Philippines! She wasn’t there to investigate the cramped conditions at Bilibig; she was there to strengthen the bonds with friendship with her financiers. These drug convicts later testified before the Senate and the House that they contributed millions of pesos monthly to the campaign kitty of De Lima. These statements were corroborated by no less than her own lover/bodyguard, Ronnie Dayan.

Hence, it wasn’t difficult for the Blue Ribbon Committee chaired by Senator Richard “Dick” Gordon to file a complaint before the DOJ for De Lima’ criminal behavior. The report became the basis of the DOJ in filing these criminal charges that resulted in her incarceration without bail for over four years now.

Will Gordon now campaign for De Lima during the virtual campaign rallies? As we all know, it is the tradition for each senatorial candidate to ask voters to support his or her partymates! Will Gordon say, “Vote for Senator Leila de Lima”?

What about Gordon and Trillanes? Gordon had filed an ethics case against Trillanes. The latter filed graft charges against Gordon before the Ombudsman.

Such is the ugly shape and face of Robredo’s senatorial ticket. It shows how bankrupt the opposition is for political characters to form the line-up that will go up against the administration. The corrupt and the criminal hand in hand, helping each other to wrest power from the Duterte administration. Robredo, far from claiming to symbolize clean government, is the very embodiment of the worst in politics.

The sweetheart deal that turned sour

Seven years have gone by since I exposed the anomalies in the Iloilo Convention Center, and despite efforts of Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon to bury the issues, the truth simply cannot stay hidden. It must be told, and retold, and retold. Drilon has used everything in his power to destroy my credibility and keep his corruption below the radar screen of the Duterte administration. And he wants me to go to jail for daring expose the ugly truth about his projects, especially the Iloilo Convention Center.

The time is ripe to bring back the issues to the center stage. Drilon has been attacking the Duterte administration for “planned plunder” in the procurement of vital equipment and supplies to combat the Covid 19 pandemic since last year. The allegations are shallow, bereft of evidence and anchored only on a desire to demolish the image of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. Drilon is a great pretender. He talks as if his own record is spotlessly clean. In truth, his corruption is beyond compare.

Without a doubt, the ICC project is the single biggest act of plunder committed by the Aquino administration. It was funded from the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) which was the brainchild of Drilon and then Budget Secretary Butch Abad. In fairness to the late President Aquino, he didn’t know Drilon and Abad were taking advantage of his feeble mind which was incapable of comprehending the gargantuan scheme to rape and plunder the national treasury.

The corruption in the ICC took place in stages. At each stage, numerous violations of the law were committed. Such was the rapacity of Drilon that he wasn’t satisfied with cheating the Filipino people only once, but at least four times. Each segment is enough to send him to eternity in jail.

Let me unravel these anomalies one by one.

The Sweetheart Deal With Megaworld

As the chief architect of the DAP, Drilon suddenly had a bottomless ATM machine from which to draw public funds. The DAP was already being challenged before the Supreme Court, and Drilon found himself in a race to look for projects into which to funnel money, with an eye to raking in tons and tons in kickbacks.

He had started with the Benigno Aquino, Jr. Avenue (known locally as the “Diversion Road”) and the Esplanade into which he earmarked more than a billion pesos. DAP virtually gave him a blank check; he had the power to allocate fabulous amounts of money for pet projects.

His search for more projects took him to the area of tourism. Local officials suggested the construction of a convention center. As it turned out, the Megaworld Corporation was developing the Iloilo Business Park out of the 72 hectares of land that used to be the Iloilo Airport. With the transfer of the airport to its present site in Cabatuan, Iloilo, the government put the property up for sale through public bidding. Megaworld won it with a bid of P1.2 billion.

Drilon saw that part of the development were two five-star hotels along the main avenue. Between these hotels that were under construction was a 1.7-hectare property that was clearly earmarked as site for a convention center. Megaworld’s timetable had put the convention center’s construction on the backburner; it wanted to develop the market for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE).

A lightbulb popped inside Drilon’s head: Why not get Megaworld to put the convention center to the front of its timetable? It would definitely look good for Iloilo to have its own convention center. It would complement the massive infrastructure building program that was underway to transform the landscape of Iloilo City. It would give Drilon the show window he needed to project his image.

Not too many people knew that Drilon had ambitions to become President. In fact, the DAP was his slush fund to build a campaign warchest for a future presidential bid. And the development of Iloilo City was to be his propaganda vehicle as a man of vision and action.

With this in mind, Drilon approached Andrew Tan, chief executive officer of Megaworld, and laid down a proposal that was too good to turn down.

Iloilo needed a convention center, Drilon told Tan. The government is willing to bankroll its construction on that 1.7-hectare lot between Richmonde Hotel and Courtyard by Marriott. But the law requires that any infrastructure project on which public funds can be spent need to be owned by the government. Would Megaworld be willing to donate that property? Before Tan could blink, Drilon followed up with a sweetener: Once the ICC is completed in accordance with Megaworld’s own architectural design, the facility would be given back to the developer as operator under a lease agreement. Megaworld was going to have its cake and eat it, too.

Deed of Donation

At once, Megaworld got its architect, W. Coscolluela and Associates, to prepare the plans for the facility. This world-famous architectural firm made a rough estimate of P200 million as the funding requirement for the ICC construction and site development. This figure was incorporated in the Deed of Donation as one of the obligations imposed on the Department of Tourism as donee — earmark P200 million to finance the project. In addition to clearly stating the financial requirement for the project, the Deed of Donation also provided for the engagement of a private company to operate and manage the ICC. This was supposed to be the icing on the cake.

The Deed of Donation was signed on November 13, 2012 in what was hailed as a historic public-private partnership to push the economic growth of Iloilo City.

Unknown to Megaworld, the ICC was just a legal cover for the rechanneling of public funds into private pockets. By itself, the donation was littered with violations of law. Among these are:

  • The donation violated RA 8974 (for acquisition of right-of-way from private owners or donation of real estate as site for government projects). This law states that the donation must be simple and unconditional. The late Ramon Jimenez, as Secretary of Tourism at the time, usurped his authority. The deed of donation was null and void.
  • The conditions that were contained in the Deed of Donation were the following:
    • That the government allocate a specific amount of money (200 million pesos) to finance the construction of the convention center;
    • That the government adopt the architectural design of Megaworld’s architect for the convention center to conform to the over-all development plans of the Iloilo Business Park; and
    • That the government, upon completion of the project, would turn over its operation and management to a private company under a Lease-Operate-Manage (LOM) contract.
  • A careful examination of the deed of donation would reveal that the undertaking was a joint venture between DOT and Megaworld. NEDA guidelines require joint ventures to undergo a competitive process in the selection of the private sector partner. Before the government can allocate funds for such undertaking, the project proposal must undergo scrutiny by the Investment Coordination Committee (ICC) of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA). Short-cuts that are fatal to the whole project were taken because Drilon was in such a hurry. This violated Executive Order No. 230, series of 1987.

Unwarranted benefit or undue advantage in violation of RA 3019

In this donation stage of the ICC, Drilon and the public officials who were involved are liable for violation of RA 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, particularly Section 3 (e) for giving unwarranted benefits or advantage to Megaworld. Without a doubt, the construction of a convention center to be situated between its two hotels was in the over-all development plan of Megaworld. The very configuration of the lot makes it obvious. Hence, by allocating public funds for the construction of the ICC, Drilon and his cohorts gave Megaworld’s business as property developer an unfair benefit or advantage.

Conversely, this act also caused undue injury to the government which is punished in the same section of the anti-graft law because it was done in blatant violation of the law

How the cake turned sour

Fast forward to 2014. Even before the construction of the ICC was finished, the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), an attached agency of the DOT, advertised its search of a private sector partner to operate and manage the facility as set forth in the Deed of Donation. The “competitive selection process” was just a cover. While there was a public bidding, only Megaworld took part. Naturally, TIEZA issued a Notice of Award on the PhilGEPS website on May 5, 2014.

But strangely, the transaction wasn’t consummated. Megaworld backed out of the deal even if it was handed over on a silver platter. The reason? The project was grossly overpriced. By then the total expenditures had reached P750 million, way above the P200 million specified in the Deed of Donation.

The question needs to be asked: Why did Megaworld specify the amount of P200 million?

First, it knew that it was the amount necessary to undertake the construction and complete the project in accordance with the plans and specifications of W. Coscolluela and Associates.

Second, Megaworld was fully aware that a lease contract for the operation and management of the ICC would have the recovery of the asset valuation as basis for the computation of rental. In the private sector, the capital investment must be fully recovered within 5 to 7 years. As a property developer, Megaworld need to set a cap to what the government needs to spend on the project for its own protection.

Unfortunately, the greed of Drilon put Megaworld’s business interests into the garbage bin. Apparently, he didn’t care about the feasibility aspect of the project from the viewpoint of Megaworld. His objective was to use the ICC as a funnel to divert public funds. This put Megaworld in a losing situation. It gave up a property worth P510 million in the mistaken belief it would eventually be handed back on a silver platter with a convention center. Now, it held an empty piece of paper.

For Megaworld to proceed with the management contract would only aggravate its losses. It would bleed dry in having to pay for the overprice as contained in the computation of the rental payments. At P750 million, computed over a 10-year recovery period, Megaworld would need to pay TIEZA a minimum of P75 million a year! At best, rental income for the first 10 years would range between P10 to 12 million A YEAR. Andrew Tan wasn’t stupid. He’d rather not have his own convention center rather than suffer from financial hemorrhage.

As a result, TIEZA was also stuck with an ICC that nobody wanted to operate and manage under such horrendous financial terms and conditions for the rental. Between 2015 and 2016, TIEZA conducted three to four public biddings in search of a private sector operator, to no avail. It tried to revise the terms of reference to ease the financial burden. Nothing worked.

(To be continued)

Old tricks in propaganda

Politicians rely on propaganda to build on their image and use it as vehicle in seeking their fortunes. No, propaganda isn’t necessarily bad. It has its good uses. But in politics, the examples on how it is used in a bad way are abundant. These propaganda efforts are so blatantly false that one easily unmasks the truth. It exposes the superficial knowledge of these people in the art of political propaganda. They are crudely done, with almost no effort to disguise the true nature of their message. The method is an insult to the intelligence of Filipinos.

Because of this, the propaganda becomes ineffective, a waste of time and money. It is offensive to the sensibilities of audiences. Of course, it will appeal to supporters of these politicians. The purpose of the propaganda, however, is undermined.

These thoughts come to mind as I watched and listened to the barrage of propaganda aired over radio, television and social media for Leni Robredo and Isko Moreno. As a veteran journalist, I don’t see any of their messaging accomplish the desired goals: to enhance the image of their candidates.

For instance, Isko Moreno’s “hospitalization” for Covid 19 was more comedy than news. Leni Robredo’s chant-like recitation of her name — obviously a desperate attempt to drill her name into the minds of the public — will not lift her an inch higher than her poll numbers have shown during the last five years.

One might ask: what was the purpose of this media blitz during the last two weeks? Well, Isko and Leni want to bolster their name recall so that when the next poll survey expected to be undertaken this week, their numbers will have improved. I am almost certain the big pollsters will come out with a final poll survey before the period for filing of the certificates of candidacy on October 1-8, 2021.

Shameful hypocrisy

I can’t help it. I feel like puking each time I see the face of Vice President Leni Robredo. The sensation has been there a long time now. But as each day passes by, the intensity grows. The hypocrisy of this woman is unbearable. When she appears in a video, the lack of sincerity leaps out at a viewer. It’s almost like being assaulted by a strong gust of wind carrying the most awful smells.

Shameful. That’s how I describe it. Her hypocrisy is shameful. Worse, she doesn’t seem to feel it at all. Being shameful is already part of her character.

This is easy to see in her behavior the last two weeks. After her secret meetings with Senator Ping Lacson became public, Leni retreated and called for a ceasefire in the political conversation. She wanted to focus on the pandemic response activities of her office, she said. Her tone made it look that engaging in political discussions was sacrilege. Leni was a political saint, her propaganda tried to show, who backed away from the loud conversations about the 2022 elections.

But beneath the camouflage of doing pandemic response work, Leni was busy preparing a propaganda offensive that seeks to raise her poll survey numbers in time for the filing of the certificates of candidacy in the first week of October. A wolf in sheep’s clothing is what best describes her. The meekness was deceptive: a few days later, endless propaganda materials began airing on mainstream media — radio and television — as well as the social media platforms. She even launched a podcast.

And all the time, Leni has been coy about her political plans. Politics was the last thing in her mind, she kept saying over and over again. When it came to politics, her goal was to bring everybody on the opposite side of the political fence under one roof and put up a single candidate to run against the anointed one for the Duterte administration.

No, she wasn’t seeking to help build consensus on who among those interested can give the best fight: her selfish agenda became apparent when she endeavored to persuade Senator Lacson and Senator Gordon to shelve their own ambitions in her favor. Shameful. Selfish. After five years, her poll numbers have consistently put her in the bottom rung. Between her and Davao City mayor Sara Duterte, there are five more probable candidates — Bongbong Marcos, Isko Moreno, Grace Poe and Manny Pacquiao.

The right thing for her to do is withdraw her name from the list of contenders. She needs to acknowledge she can’t possibly win. If her motives are right, she should push for a consensus on who among those ahead of her must be pushed as common candidate. Leni’s greed and ambition are unfathomable. Sadly, the sacrifice made by her husband will go to naught. She will go down in history as the woman who thought allowing her husband to be murdered in exchange for her ambition will ultimately plummet to hell.

The problem named Leni Robredo

The problem with Vice President Leni Robredo is she thinks she can fool the people, all the time.

A little over a week ago, Mrs. Robredo issued a call for a time-out from politics. The nation needs to focus on the Covid 19 pandemic, she said. But that lie was quickly exposed after she started an aggressive multi-platform propaganda campaign, costing millions of pesos every day, in an apparent effort to gain traction and improve her poll survey numbers. Her radio and television commercials are flooding the airwaves; maybe she believes this media offensive will bolster her image and put her with striking distance of the leaders among probable candidates for the Presidency.

As if that was not enough, Mrs. Robredo launched her podcast on Spotify last Monday. She is leaving no stone unturned to make herself more palatable to voters, especially among millennials. Podcasting is popular among the younger generation, but for topics that they share an interest with. Unfortunately, only a small segment of the population depend on podcasts for their political diet.

If Mrs. Robredo thinks this will be a game-changer, she’s wrong.

How can she make herself appealing to the younger generation when she didn’t even create a ripple with her non-stop social media marketing campaign?

As a political product, Mrs. Robredo suffers from factory defects. The most glaring is that audiences quickly detect a lack of authenticity — insincerity oozes out of her — when she speaks. I have commented in the past that Mrs. Robredo’s face is like rubber used to make giant tires for 10-wheeler trucks. Her facial expressions betray her lack of empathy for her audiences, which has dwindled steadily over the years.

It’s not about the platform, Mrs. Robredo. The problem is you.

Mayor Rody accepts call for him to run as Vice President

No other President in our history has achieved what Mayor Rody Duterte has done: enjoy the extremely high trust and popularity ratings with just 10 months left in his administration. In the past, Presidents usually experienced a sharp decline in their poll ratings upon reaching the halfway point. President Erap didn’t even get to the finish line. But Duterte? He is now headed for a spectacular finish for his six-year term despite being bombarded by criticism non-stop, with destabilization plots coming out of the shadows again and again. Mayor Rody remains unscathed. His mass base support is rock solid.

His political success will be a model for future leaders of the country. Mayor Rody isn’t cut from the typical mold of politicians. He minces no words when he talks, to the point of being uncouth. As city mayor of Davao, he governed with an iron fist, and it’s no secret a long list of dead drug pushers and criminals have piled up in more than two decades as local chief executive. He brought that same brand of governance to his job as President of the Republic, especially in the war against illegal drugs.

True, he wasn’t able to stamp out illegal drugs and corruption in the five years now that he’s been in office. But we have to keep in mind it took him more than a decade as Davao City mayor to establish the peace and quiet Filipinos have come to admire about his home city. Corruption is so deep rooted in the national government, and powerful interests are at play: the oligarchs, traditional politicians and ranking police and military officials. It’s because of corruption that our problem with illegal drugs persists.

Hence, Filipinos understand that six years is not enough for Mayor Rody to accomplish what he had set out to do. Much has been accomplished in five years, but much remains to be done. The momentum is on his side. With a Constitutional prohibition against re-election, the best way for Mayor Rody to fulfill that mission is bow to the popular public demand for continuity. He can do that by running as Vice President.