“They should consider putting their egos aside to look at reality dispassionately.”
As presidential candidates Isko Moreno Domagoso, Ping Lacson, and Norberto Gonzales found out the hard way, a show of toxic masculinity and fragile egoism in the face of adversity is likely to reap criticism, particularly when the position they are running for requires a leader with wisdom, maturity, sagacity, diplomatic skills, and empathy, along with other virtues.
They staged a presscon last Easter Sunday at the swanky Manila Peninsula hotel and claimed that persons from the camp of another presidential candidate, Leni Robredo, had contacted them to make the “ultimate sacrifice” and quit the race. They added they were being asked to withdraw their candidacies in order to beat former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who is leading the surveys.
The trio declared that they will not back down from the race.
Not only that, Domagoso called on Robredo to withdraw “because whatever you’re doing is not effective against Marcos.” He claimed that she is running only to “fight Marcos” and told her: “Withdraw. Come and join us. Can we substitute? We might get three points. One of us. It doesn’t have to be me. It can be Secretary Norberto Gonzales. It can be Sen. Ping. That is what we are saying.”
People took to social media to air their opinions on the matter. The comments ranged from accusations of misogyny and toxic masculinity, to extravagance for spending money to hold the presscon at Manila Pen, which is known for its elegance and quality and is by no means a cheap venue. The money, some said, should have been donated to the victims of typhoon Agaton in Leyte and elsewhere.
On Twitter, Dr Tony Leachon wrote, as a caption to a video of Domagoso doubling down on his call for Robredo to withdraw and alleging “bullying” by the “yellow-pink” – “We don’t need arrogant leaders ~ we had enough. This latest evidence could be the final nail in the coffin for him. Let’s focus on the right path to choosing the authentic leader.”
Leachon was formerly a special adviser to the National Task Force on COVID-19, who said he was forced to leave the position after criticizing the Department of Health’s Covid-19 response measures. His Twitter caption encapsulates the reaction of many to Domagoso’s declaration.
Domagoso’s knee-jerk reaction cost him the support of many – on Monday, the day after the presscon, several Muslim groups declared their change of allegiance to Robredo’s campaign. They used to support Domagoso.
There were also tweets related to individuals having a change of heart after hearing Domagoso’s declaration.
Here’s one way of looking at this situation – it has now become a matter of practicality and reality. The camps of the Easter Sadbois (as some Gen Z’ers are calling them) are claiming also that Robredo’s supporters are pulling their supporters from them, with one extreme example being that Lacson’s own party, Partido Reporma, switched support to Robredo.
The shifting allegiances to the strong contender to the frontrunner, Marcos Jr., is sending a strong signal to the three male presidential candidates that the race is a two-way match. This supposed “framing” by media is something they are pushing against also.
But they should consider putting their egos aside to look at reality dispassionately. Robredo is the strongest contender among them and has the best chance at the moment to beat Marcos Jr. Why should she be the one to withdraw when she is already in second spot? It doesn’t make sense for them to pull her down. Rather, a pragmatic approach will make it obvious to them that they stand to gain if she wins and they are on her side.
If they set aside their own campaigns, this gives Robredo a better chance to win, and together they can all forge a participative government that will boast the leadership and integrity of Robredo, the administrative expertise of Domagoso, the law enforcement and legislative savvy of Lacson, the defense savvy of Gonzales, the sincerity and eagerness of Pacquiao, the healthcare expertise of Ong, and so on.
How much stronger and better such a government would be. But then practicality isn’t on their radar. And they spoiled Easter this year for many.
*** FB and Twitter: @DrJennyO