Here we feature Marcos, Bong Go and Leni based on strengths (S), weaknesses (W), opportunities (O) and threats (T).
5. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr., 63, M –
(S) – Bongbong is still on the presidential radar despite being politically inactive for some time. This speaks to the resiliency of the Marcos brand. President Duterte has often said he would step down if Marcos was VP; but then again he also announced he would jet ski to the Spratleys to rebuff the Chinese and look where we are.
Wikipedia reports Bongbong was educated in LaSalle and an English boarding school, then partially in Oxford and Wharton. So he has the smarts.
Bongbong was Vice-Governor of Ilocos Norte at 23, then Governor, Congressman and Senator. He believes he won the Vice-Presidency in 2016 and he could be right.
Bongbong has the money to run but, true to his origin, it is unclear how much of it he is willing to spend on a questionable presidential odyssey.
The Marcos’ have a strangle hold in Ilocos Norte and Bongbong did well in NCR (except for Taguig, bailiwick of the Cayetanos) when he ran for VP in 2016. The family head up the Nacionalista Party which is more a legacy of the father than an ideology.
– In the Senate Bongbong was known for being unobtrusive and uncontroversial except when it came to the burial place of his Dad. His sister, Imee, is the more pointed one.
(O) – Bongbong’s opportunity is as kingmaker rather than as king. In a close contest between Inday and Pacquiao the Marcos solid north could spell the difference. He could join his sister in the Senate or run again for VP if neither Pacquiao nor Isko show up . A Sara/Marcos ticket would demographically make sense, a south/north, rural/NCR combination. Bongbong even as VP would redeem the Marcos name which is important to the family.
Pres. Duterte has said he will support Marcos (or Pacquiao or Isko) for President if neither Sara nor Bong Go run. That is, hmm, a long shot. It would not serve the Administration nor himself if Marcos was to run for President. It would be disingenuous to think he could win when he could not as VP. My bet is he will not.
(T) Not applicable.
6. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Tesoro Go, 46, M (?) –
(S) Although sometimes hard to imagine, Bong Go is an actual person with, like, feelings and a sense of humor. Admittedly the man is formed in the image and likeness of his mentor from whom he derives his super powers and the temerity to run for President.
There is more to Bong than meets the eye. He has a better sense of the political playing field than observers give him credit for. He is no wall flower. Like Prince Philip he just knows his place. He was the first to promote Balik Probinsya so he does think about things.
Bong is a generous man. He has a particular soft spot for medically afflicted kids; and he does it without the fanfare of traditional politicians.
Little is known of Bong’s private person. I believe he is/was married but I could not find the name of his wife but I did of his two children, Chrence and Cherese. His wife did not attend his Senate confirmation because it was, he claims, “short notice”. He is a family man, a Duterte family man.
Bong is an avid basketball fan. In his Wikipedia page, his position is listed not as Senator nor Special Assistant to the President but as “Guard” which I get to mean “point guard”. Think Stephen Curry of the Warriors running plays for the President.
Bong was number three in the last Senate race which speaks to the reach of the President’s halo. He is chair of the Senate Committees On Health & Demography and Sports. Both are part time jobs.
Bong’s has other strengths. Loyalty, check. Educated, check (La Salle). Hard working, check. I will keep you posted as I hear of anything else.
– Bong has no narrative other than being a reflection of the President.
I cannot recall ever hearing Bong speak. I am curious how that works in politics.
(O) – Bong has the opportunity, however limited, to become President without really trying. This is how trust fund babies must feel, all the benefits without the work. Actually, we can do worse with Bong than with some of the other candidates.
(T) – The President’s health is Bong’s biggest threat. He needs the President to be around.
Bong is unashamedly the President’s alter ego down to his D30 garb but without the profanity. However despite the osmosis, Bong is polling only at 6% and could be a hard sell to voters. As Lyndon Johnson once said: “This dog won’t hunt.” Political brands rarely extend to non-members of the family.
A Bong presidential play is either a distraction for a Sara run, a Plan B if she doesn’t or a Trojan horse for a last minute Administration candidate in the same way Martin Dino was placeholder for Digong in the last election.
The Opposition would be ecstatic if the Administration was to field Bong and dilute the competition. Bong denies he is running but then they all do. A Bong Go presidency is a half court shot with two seconds to go i.e. unlikely even with the President refereeing.
7. Maria Leonor “Leni” Gerona Robredo, 55, widow –
(S) – Leni’s biggest strengths are her backbone, her faith, her integrity and her commitment to the Filipino people. She has been the whipping lady of the Administration and its trolls yet despite the lashing has held her head high and forged ahead.
Leni is a widow who rose to prominence following the death of her husband Jesse in still unaccounted circumstances. She has done him proud becoming Vice President in a crowded field that until only recently was challenged.
Leni has a core of devoted followers but nothing that will move the dial.
Leni would seem to have the nod of the U.S. in the high stakes, geo-political competition between America and China.
– Leni’s biggest weakness is her association with the yellows. She inherited the image of exclusiveness even if that is not who she is. As the standard bearer for the Liberal Party and next in line to the throne, she was excluded, ridiculed and intimidated by bullies who like to prey on the unprotected. Leni was left out to dry by her previous backers so she was easy pickings. The bashing has succeeded in lowering her poll ratings currently at 5%, bottom of the list.
Leni has no organization to speak of and even less money.
(O) – As Vice President Leni is one heart beat or upheaval away from the Presidency. Leni has the opportunity to do more for the country but she has to choose her weapons and arena. Absent an unexpected early ascension to power, a presidential bid would, in my opinion, not be the best use of her qualities. Her opportunity lies in the Senate where she should win.
(T) – Leni faces the same threats she has had these 5 years. She has proudly withstood them all.
Leni is often compared to Grace.They are ideologically centrist with Leni more left having worked with the poor. Grace is urban, married and raised in privilege. Leni is provincial, widowed and middle class. Leni is the more battle scarred and, I believe, the tougher of the two.
Leni represents all we would want in a mother, a daughter a sister and a public servant, a role model for every Filipina in a society where women are not quite equal. Yet for all these Leni for President is, I believe, a stretch.