Women will be running the country after the elections in May.
Whether Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo wins the elections or his archrival, former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos makes it, there will be women in the corridors of power.
The country will be in good hands if Robredo wins because she has a good track record as a lawmaker and as an executive in the last nine years.
She has a clear vision of where and what directions the Philippines will go to in a post-pandemic situation. She has a blueprint for growth and development, looking after the welfare of the poor who unfortunately trust Marcos more to lift them up from poverty.
Blurred by disinformation and the sins of the past administration, the people in the class D and E, unfortunately, do not see Robredo as the leader who can lead them out from misery and despair.
But Leni’s “Angat-Buhay” program is a tangible, doable and more pragmatic program to help the poor as it has been proven in the last almost six years.
In Marawi and other parts of the country, including typhoon-hit areas in northeastern Luzon and central and southern parts of the country, Robredo’s programs and projects have helped a lot despite the meager resources her office has.
Billions have been poured in the Marawi rehabilitation plan but the only Islamic City in the country is still waiting to be rebuilt, frustrating the Maranaos.
If Filipinos commit a mistake electing Marcos, there will be uncertainty because he has not fully explained in debates and forums his programs of government in the next six years.
Apart from unity, Marcos has very vague platforms except for motherhood statements which other candidates have been saying in the last two months.
President Rodrigo Duterte is right. Bongbong Marcos will not make a good leader. He is a weakling who was pampered all his life by his father’s wealth.
He has not worked in his life. He never experienced running even a small mom-and-pop store. All he did was enjoy the luxuries of his father’s ill-gotten wealth estimates worth to be $10 billion.
And he refused to pay his own income taxes from the 1980s and the billions in estate taxes for his father’s P38 billion worth of assets that escaped sequestration by the government in 1986.
Two powerful women close to him could be the ones actually running the show in case he wins on May 9.
Marcos’s lawyer wife, Liza Araneta, controls his presidential campaign and would be critical to vetting the people who will sit in his Cabinet. She has her own circle of friends in the business community and legal profession and they could be in a Marcos Cabinet.
Her former law office partner, Pacquito Ochoa, might suddenly be resurrected. Although it is a long shot, the former executive secretary in the Aquino Cabinet, may still have some clout.
But the older sister, Sen. Imee Marcos, will also assert her authority. She was, after all, instrumental in convincing Sara Duterte-Carpio to run as his vice president.
If Sara decided to run for president last year, Bongbong would have a minimal chance of winning. She is immensely popular and the government’s machinery will be thrown behind her by her father, Duterte.
Imee might have become ambitious and wanted to become the Senate president. Many political analysts believe Imee is a better politician than Bongbong. She inherited her father’s intelligence and political astuteness.
However, Liza and Imee do not see eye-to-eye, people close to the two women say. It seems Imee was kicked out of her brother’s inner circles in the campaign. Lisa has the upper hand but Imee will not likely do anything once Marcos Jr. wins.
Both women are certainly capable of manipulating Marcos once he is elected into office.
There is a third powerful woman who would play a central role in a Marcos government — Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. She is a kingmaker and was behind the Marcos-Carpio tandem.
She would likely become the next Speaker of the House of Representatives and would also vet some Cabinet appointments, mostly likely on his economic team — finance, economic planning and trade.
Of course, Sara Duterte-Carpio will also flex her muscles to reward her own people for key appointments in the government. Rumors swirling in political circles say she wanted the defense department and officials loyal to her to be retained in their positions.
There were estimates that about 95 percent of Duterte officials would be replaced but Sara could be given the opportunity to appoint her own loyal people to positions of power.
The four women around Marcos could cause some frictions as there could be conflicting positions and rivalries of influence. These petty intramurals among the women are not healthy for a Marcos government. It could get messy.
But one thing is for sure. Marcos could become a puppet on a string manipulated by these powerful women. The women would run the government for him and do what he loves best — chill.