By Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza, Reporter
VICE-PRESIDENT Maria Leonor “Leni” G. Robredo has a better chance of attracting more votes by running as an independent candidate, but she needs broader support to beat the ruling party’s presidential bet, political analysts said.
“The vice-president’s campaign should prioritize inclusive strategies that will appeal to all colors,” media research expert Jay L. Bautista said in a Facebook Messenger chat at the weekend. “If she can go beyond a change in color then we will see improving numbers in future surveys.”
Ms. Robredo, who heads the Liberal Party, on Thursday filed her certificate of candidacy for president, ending months of speculation about her political plans for next year. She will run as an independent candidate.
She should reach out to undecided voters and people who criticize the government of President Rodrigo R. Duterte but do not identify with the opposition, said Victor Andres Manhit, president of think tank Albert del Rosario Institute for Strategic and International Studies.
“The challenge for her followers is to transform their enthusiasm into broader support across sectors, especially those who belong to class D and E,” he said.
Social media turned pink last week after Ms. Robredo announced her presidential bid wearing a pink ribbon pinned on a blue blouse. She was flanked by her two daughters who wore pink masks.
On Facebook, profile photos showed bright pink circles, while some showbiz personalities shared photos where they wore pink clothes.
“What we are witnessing are strong mainstream and social media coverage with her announcement, but the greater challenge is to translate and convert this into voter preference,” Mr. Manhit said.
Ms. Robredo’s ratings in opinion polls would probably improve in the coming months after she made her political plan official, Jean Encinas-Franco, a political science professor from the University of the Philippines, said in a Facebook Messenger chat.
“Now they can weigh on her candidacy clearly,” Cleve B. Arguelles, a political science lecturer at De La Salle University, said in a Messenger chat.
Her ratings could go up by as much as 5%, said Antonio Gabriel La Viña, professor of law and politics at the Ateneo de Manila University. “It could be more if this was not limited to a few social media bubbles.”
But Ms. Robredo should improve her campaign strategy to sustain the trend, Mr. Bautista said. She should also target voters outside the capital region and “go outside the realm of social media,” he added.
“They should know which voter segments they are weak in and which national issues they need to be identified with.”
Davao City Mayor and presidential daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio, former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos and Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko” M. Domagoso were the top three choices for president in Pulse Asia Research, Inc.’s recent poll.
Ms. Robredo and her supporters should capitalize on the Duterte government’s poor handling of the coronavirus pandemic, Mr. Manhit said.
She should also explain to ordinary voters how state corruption and the Duterte government’s ties with China could affect their daily lives, he added.
Ms. Carpio is seeking a third and final term as Davao City mayor but her father said she is running for President next year.
“Sara’s rating may be affected by the confusion generated on whether she is running or not,” Ms. Franco said.
The government’s approval rating fell across all national issues in September from a quarter earlier, including on fighting criminality, protecting migrant Filipino workers and defending Philippine territories, according to a Pulse Asia poll.
Ms. Carpio may substitute for Senator Ronald M. de la Rosa, the presidential bet of the ruling PDP-Laban, for as long as she becomes a party member. Parties have until Nov. 15 to substitute candidates who either withdrew, died or got disqualified.