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What RoSa Can Learn from NoyBi, 'Illicit Affairs' in Politics are Perilous

Does it work?
by Arianne Merez
Mar 22, 2022
Photo/s: Vice President Leni Robredo's Facebook Page/Manman Dejeto, AFP

(UPDATE) An off-brand pairing of candidates, this time between Leni Robredo and Sara Duterte, is again being pushed into the spotlight like in previous elections, in what an analyst compared to an "illicit affair" that is fraught with danger.

A group of lawmakers on Monday formally started their push for a Robredo-Duterte tandem dubbed "RoSa 2022", reminiscent of the previous unofficial political pairings that while unlikely, succeeded in winning elections in the past.

"Pushing for a tandem like this is like an illicit affair because these candidates have their own running mates or partners so it's conflicting," political analyst Dennis Coronacion, who heads the University of Santo Tomas Department of Political Science, told reportr on Tuesday.

Robredo is running with vice presidential candidate Kiko Pangilinan while Duterte is running with pre-election survey frontrunner Bongbong Marcos.

While Robredo is willing to work with Duterte should they win the elections, “in so far as the Vice President herself is concerned and her campaign in concerned, our Vice Presidential bet is Senator Kiko and that will never change," her lawyer Barry Gutierrez told CNN Philippines.

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"The formal tandems, especially the candidacy of the running mate being left out, tend to suffer from politicians campaigning for specific personalities instead of pairs," Coronacion added.


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'Conflicting, incompatible'


The Philippines is no stranger to unofficial tandems since voters elect a president and vice president separately even if candidates campaign in tandems.

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From the 2016 "DuBredo" pairing of incumbent Rodrigo Duterte and Robredo, to the 2010 "NoyBi" match of the late Benigno 'Noynoy' Aquino III and now senatorial candidate Jejomar Binay Sr., Filipinos have elected officials from opposing sides of the political fence.

The elder Duterte ran in 2016 with Alan Peter Cayetano as his running mate while Robredo was part of the Liberal Party with Mar Roxas as its standard-bearer.

"Having conflicting leaders is an unintended consequence of electing a president and vice president from different political parties because, in simple terms, they are incompatible. They have different platforms and leanings so what happens is you get an internal opposition within the executive branch," Coronacion said.


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And since the president is more powerful than the vice president, whoever gets elected as second fiddle usually ends up "marginalized" according to Coronacion.

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Take for example Robredo who became the head of the opposition and was virtually excluded by President Duterte in government affairs. Robredo only had a short stint in the Duterte Cabinet before she was removed via text message. 

"It's not healthy for policymaking, program management, and implementation of government. You also get that persistent opposition within the executive branch since the president and vice president don't get along," Coronacion said.

Tandem voting?

While Philippine election laws provide Filipino voters the freedom to separately vote for a president and vice president, Coronacion said electing a tandem for the two highest positions in the country poses more benefits in terms of government programs.

"With a tandem, it's easier for the administration to push for its legislative agenda because they are allies and there's already a rapport," Coronacion said. "When the president and vice president are allies, the government runs more smoothly because you remove the opposition within the executive."

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And while the saying goes "vote with your conscience", Coronacion said Filipinos should also be ready for the repercussions of such if election winners end up coming from different political parties.

"Pag magkaibang kandidato from different parties, the normal course is that the two of them are going to fight," he said.

"Parang relasyon, kapag hindi compatible, hindi magka-match, laging nag-aaway," he added.

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