THEY could not simply wait for 2022.
In fact, they have a blueprint on how to grab power and install Leni Robredo.
Former US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg has already drafted a masterplan.
Unfortunately for Goldberg, and the political opposition, the plan was outed by no less than Dante Ang of this newspaper.
The plan was so typical of US interventionism, a remnant of the imperialist heyday when the whole world was just like a game board for the Americans to mess and rearrange according to their interests, except that they forgot that things have changed. Goldberg should have read the writing on the wall when he was kicked out of Bolivia for trying the same trick of plotting a regime change there.
The man just simply doesn’t learn.
This time, he planned to even use our Southeast Asian neighbors such as Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, and even Japan, against us, where he urged the US to isolate us politically and economically by undermining our image and relationships with these countries. This is to punish Duterte for disturbing the balance of power in the region, by showing more openness to China, and even Russia.
Goldberg forgot to brush up on his realist international politics. Had he done so, he would have realized that such pivot is the one that could just insulate the Philippines from US machinations. China is now an option for us, an alternative, whereas in the past it was a constraint, or an adversary. The bold positioning of the President vis-à-vis China has also impressed upon neighboring countries that it is foolish to be held hostage by US interests, and one can only but surmise that no sovereign country would allow itself to be used as a pawn by a distant bully to simply punish a neighbor who is now a close friend of the neighborhood bully. Laos and Vietnam share borders with China, while Cambodia has always been China’s ally.
Goldberg was counting on Filipino expats in the US, people like Loida Nicolas-Lewis, to provide the moolah to finance destabilization, through a massive PR campaign. Evidence suggests that such is in fact already in motion, with the incessant negative publicity being done on the President in both local and international media. This, even as political opposition figures such as Leila de Lima and Leni Robredo, and even Edgar Matobato, are getting extraordinarily unusual positive coverage.
Goldberg and Lewis may have overplayed their hand too soon. Goldberg was outed by this newspaper, even as Loida outed herself when she called on the President to resign. And both did not anticipate the election of Donald Trump, which has thrown a monkey wrench on their plans. Obviously, luck was on the side of President Duterte, and it did not harm him that he was more politically astute than the regime-change peddler Goldberg, and financier Loida, who is so used to funding winners that she is at a loss on how it feels funding losers, not only once with Mar Roxas, but twice with Hillary Clinton.
Goldberg would like to put his hopes on the political opposition, or whatever is left of it. He is hoping that they could, in his words, “change the political landscape by dividing the core leadership of Duterte” by “sowing discontent among (his) partymates.” He forgot that there is no such thing as party politics in the country.
What prevails in the country is a political landscape in which Duterte thrives.
It is not just the President’s authenticity and disarming familiarity with the people that are Goldberg’s problems.
The political opposition is a motley group of detached elitists, unable to relate to the people who trusted them in 1986, but whom they betrayed. People are not willing to risk their hopes for change even if it means placing such in the shoulders of a cursing, undiplomatic President, just to go back to the 30 years they have just escaped from.
The tragedy of Goldberg’s plan is that it places a lot of hope not only on spent, detached political forces, but also on political personalities that are so diminished by their own flaws.
Leila de Lima is practically reduced to a political joke, and is now just a firecracker one should say goodbye to.
And what Goldberg offers to the Philippines is Leni Robredo, one who has very little record to show and whose greatest presence in the political landscape is her absence at a time her people needed her most. Typhoon Nina did not just wreak havoc in Bicol. It may have also practically blown to smithereens Leni Robredo’s political future.
The greatest enemy of Goldberg is not President Duterte, but the people whom he trusts to be implementing or benefiting from his planned regime change.
Goldberg, Loida, Leila and Leni should all realize that it is because of them, and what they represent, that the people are willing to die for this President.