“Someone is in for a surprise.”
Obsessed with his allegedly massive opinion-surveys lead and firmly believing that his I-will-unite-the-nation campaign slogan will book him a ticket to Malacanang, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is blissfully unaware of the new People Power movement that is building up around him and that is threatening to bring down his bid to succeed his father and namesake, Ferdinand E. Marcos, as president of the Philippines.
The original People Power movement—the one and only EDSA Revolution—was, of course, the mass of Filipinos who, during four days in February 1986, rallied against Ferdinand E. Marcos and caused the eviction from Malacanang and forced exile in Hawaii of the Marcos family.
The People Power mass disbanded only after receiving the official announcement that Ferdinand E. Marcos had left the country.
Leni People Power differs from Cory People Power in several ways. For starters, it is peaceful. Unlike the violent environment in which Cory People Power developed—mass arrest of suspected “rebels,” displays of military firepower, threats of bombardment, etc., the People Power buildup that is in progress is rooted in peaceful protest, adherence to the rule of law, respect for individual rights and primacy of civilian rule.
A second point of dissimilarity between Cory People Power and Leni People Power is the difference between the public records of Cory Aquino and Leni Robredo at the time they launched their respective candidacies for the presidency. Cory, the widow of the then-recently assassinated Senator Ninoy Aquino, was a well-bred and well-educated woman whose only claim to fame was being the dutiful wife of a highly successful politician. In contrast, Leni Robredo was a lawyer who understood economics, was the effective partner of a major-city mayor and was the nation’s second-highest official. Cory Aquino was a reluctant but inevitable challenger to Ferdinand E. Marcos, but Leni Robredo was merely biding her time before launching her widely desired candidacy for the presidency.
The third and most significant point of dissimilarity between Cory People Power and Leni People Power is the latter’s volunteerism aspect.
Whereas Ferdinand Marcos Jr. – now better known as BBM – is spreading hundreds of millions of pesos that his parents stole from the nation’s coffers, Leni Robredo’s campaign is heavily supported by volunteers who donate money—some of it in modest amounts—and contribute their effort, time and ideas. This is a nationwide phenomenon that has been growing in nature, magnitude, and scope. Pink is steadily becoming the 2022 electoral season’s predominant color, and pink garments and paraphernalia are being widely seen in a steadily increasing number of provinces, cities and municipalities. People who contribute and volunteer resources to a candidate must be wanting change very badly. Those who claim that Leni Robredo is resorting to paying for voter support clearly do not have their ears to the ground.
Still, the Cory People Power and Leni People Power are similar in one key respect. Cory Aquino was fighting a Ferdinand Marcos in 1986; Leni Robredo is likewise fighting a Ferdinand Marcos. The Cory forces waged a valiant and determined campaign against Marcos Sr. and won.
The Leni forces are fighting a fierce and noble battle against Ferdinand Jr. and will prevail, Pulse Asia survey results notwithstanding.
Leni’s People Power is going from strength to strength. Like Ferdinand E. Marcos, BBM is in for an unpleasant surprise on May 9. The difference between the 1986 results and the coming 2022 results is that BBM and his family will not have to be sent to exile in Hawaii this time around.