ELECTIONS 2022: Leni Robredo presidency needs Congress to cooperate with her

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Philippine Vice President Leni Robredo during a wreath-laying ceremony of the 121st Independence Day celebrations at the Rizal monument in Manila, Philippines, on June 12, 2019. (Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Philippine Vice President Leni Robredo during a wreath-laying ceremony of the 121st Independence Day celebrations at the Rizal monument in Manila, Philippines, on June 12, 2019. (Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Although still trailing by double-digits in the latest survey, I am already 95 percent sure that Leni Robredo will be the 17th President of the Republic of the Philippines. My evidence? The record-breaking turnout of supporters in her campaign rallies, support from different political parties and formations, basic sectors of society, and just recently, the endorsement of several labor groups and leaders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. In the entire history of these organizations, they have not supported any presidential candidates.

While this is good, we all know that President Robredo cannot govern alone. She needs all the support that she can get, including a Congress willing to champion her legislative agenda. Right now, the ruling party still enjoys a vast majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, with Duterte and his ilk in PDP-Laban tightening its grip on these politicians to ensure that he will not be held accountable for his crimes when he steps down on June 30.

That is why we must also campaign as hard for the senatorial slates of the united opposition. These senatorial candidates are carefully picked and examined by the leaders of the civic group 1Sambayan, and have committed to supporting President Leni Robredo on her agenda to rescue the Philippine economic, social, cultural, and political situation.

Let me illustrate it this way. When Barack Obama won the Presidency of the United States in 2008, his party, the Democratic Party, is the majority in both the House and the Senate. With the help of his partymates, with very little cooperation from the other party who declared that they will make sure that Obama will be a one-term president, they passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, a major piece of legislation aimed at solving the 2008 financial crisis that ravaged the American economy. It was also during this time that they passed the Affordable Care Act that granted medical insurance to millions of working class Americans.

The following election year, Republicans took control of the House. Obama never passed a major piece of legislation again.

The same is true when Donald Trump won in 2016. Republicans hold the majority in Congress, and they passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 with barely any support from the opposing party. The Democrats won back the House of Representatives in 2018, and, like Obama, he never passed major legislation again, even his campaign promise of funding for a border wall between the United States and Mexico. Though Trump tried to pressure the Democratic Leaders, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and then-Minority Leader Chuck Schumer were never deterred.

Robredo has some of the best platforms in the history of our presidential elections. She has a detailed roadmap to finally solving the pandemic, a campaign of transparency and accountability, and economic recovery for those who have lost their jobs during the pandemic. And without the help of Congress, Robredo can only do so much.

Marvin Joseph Ang is a news and creative writer who follows developments in politics, democracy, and popular culture. He advocates for a free press and national democracy. The views expressed are his own.

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