MANILA — Fervent volunteers may have failed to bring Vice President Leni Robredo to Malacañang, but their so-called "Pink Movement" could be the seed for a foundation, a new political party, or the opposition under presumptive President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., analysts said.
Born when Robredo declared her presidential bid last October, the Pink Movement "is barely even a toddler" and with direction, its potential is "vast", political analyst Richard Heydarian said on Twitter.
"All is not lost. Unlike in 2016 when the Yellows were defined by how they fell, the Pinks could be defined by how they get up. May 9 has shown there is a significant impetus for change," said political and economic analyst Leo Alejandrino in his "Heneral Lunacy" blog.
"The work the opposition put into the elections will have been for naught if it does not result in something bigger and better. There is the genesis of a movement but it means harnessing and sustaining the amazing energy of the volunteer network, building a socio-economic base for the next stage of the journey, the local elections of 2025 and beyond," he said.
THE PINK CAMPAIGN
Clad in Robredo's pink campaign color, volunteers had pooled resources, delivered mammoth sortie crowds, and went door-to-door for her, drawing comparisons with the 1986 "people's campaign" of democracy icon Corazon Aquino that led to the ousting of Ferdinand Marcos Sr.
"This coalition of Robredo is the broadest coalition we’ve ever seen in Philippine politics, [from] the most ideal to the most conservative, the Catholic Church to very militant organizations on one side," said Antonio La Viña, a lawyer and former dean of the Ateneo School of Government.
But while the movement was a "remarkable" feat, De La Salle University political science professor Julio Teehankee said some veteran analysts had been "doubtful whether this could easily translate to actual [votes]."
Why? "Time," he said.
“It simply started late. Had we seen this kind of groundswell of support late last year, then she could’ve at least closed the gap between her numbers and that of Bongbong Marcos,” Teehankee told ANC.
"Part of the support for the front-running candidate is what we call bandwagon effect. If the ordinary voter, the nonpartisan voter feels like his or her vote would not count with his first preference, then he or she would vote for the leading candidate, iyong sinasabi nating liyamado (who we call the favorite to win)," he added.
La Viña added that the pink movement was "not enough to counter the combination of the Marcos supporters and the Duterte supporters."
Marcos Jr's running-mate Sara Duterte-Carpio inherited the popularity of her father President Rodrigo Duterte, analysts earlier said.
Robredo meanwhile earned the ire of the President when she opposed his drug war, push for bringing back death penalty, policy towards China, and his go signal for the hero's burial for Marcos Sr.
Marcos Jr. also ran a "brilliant" campaign, said La Viña.
“One can disagree with it as a disservice, like the way the press was treated, the way they did not did not engage in debates, the way the platforms are very general, no policy prescriptions were given. But from the point of did it work, yes, it worked,” he said.
“The disinformation, did it work? Yes, it worked. You have to learn lessons from that for the next round of elections.”
THE PINK FUTURE
The May 9 election “is actually a reset,” said La Viña.
“You might not like the beginning of that reset, but everyone gets a chance to change the country... Those that are elected and come to power, hopefully they will not make mistakes, hopefully they will do the right thing. But if they won’t do the right thing, that’s an opportunity for change,” he said.
“I’m actually excited of the possibility of the coalition that Robredo and Kiko Pangilinan were able to bring together,” added La Viña.
For Teehankee, “We are seeing now the rebirth perhaps of people power and perhaps the making of a new political party.”
“Sa tingin ko, may opportunity at maraming kabataan, maraming mamamayan ang naging muling aktibo sa pulitika at ang kailangan, maorganisa sila,” he said. “Ang importante, hindi mawalang parang bula.”
(I think there is opportunity because many young people, citizens became active again in politics and they need to be organized. What is important is that it does not burst like a bubble.)
Political analyst Dr. Jean Encinas-Franco agreed that the Pink Movement could launch a new party. It could also start a foundation rooted on Robredo's Angat Buhay livelihood program or be absorbed into the Liberal Party (LP) chaired by the outgoing vice-president, she said.
Asked how willing volunteers might be to join the LP, she said, “Hindi ko rin alam kasi baka naman the reason why the Pink Movement flourished is because it’s parang disassociated itself with the Liberal Party.”
(I do not know because perhaps the reason why the pink movement flourished is because it’s disassociated itself with the Liberal Party.)
“Ang hirap kasi kapag gagawa ka na naman ng another political party. At least ‘yong Liberal, may continuity na. Siguro iyong Liberal Party na lang mag-adapt kung ano ‘yong mga changes na gusto ng Pink Movement,” said Encinas-Franco.
(But it's difficult to form another political party. At least the Liberal Party already has continuity. Perhaps the Liberal Party should just adapt to the changes that the Pink Movement wants.)
Another option for the movement is to “form the backbone of the opposition,” said Encinas-Franco, an assistant professor at the Department of Political Science in University of the Philippines-Diliman.
“I think for now, it’s necessary that VP or si Kiko Pangilinan [ang manguna],” she said.
(For now, it's necessary that VP Robredo or Kiko Pangilinan leads it.)
A former lawyer for the disadvantaged, Robredo has yet to detail her plans in the face of Marcos Jr's insurmountable 16-million lead in partial, unofficial tallies.
But in January, she said it would “not be difficult for me to go back to the life I was leading before my husband died and before I entered politics.”
“I will still be doing the things the things that I have been doing before I became a politician and that is working very, very closely with the margins,” she added.
Alejandrino, meanwhile, urges the public: “Let us remember we are as a nation bigger than any presidency. We are a Republic of the people, for the people and by the people, a country of 110 million Filipinos who are the arbiter of our fate.”
“If we can keep reminding our leaders that we have that power in us, then we may just get the accountability and respect from them that we deserve.”