I would say that the Leody-Leni dilemma mostly exists among people with clear ideological principles to weigh. I’ve been meditating on this using Mao’s works, too, and with much thorns I should say.
To put it badly, what is a ‘principled’ vote given our times? To the ideologically driven person, the question is moot and academic.
Regardless of whoever wins, Semi-Colonial, Semi-Feudal Philippine society remains. With either Leody or Leni, a breathing space, a fighting space is guaranteed to all progressive forces; with others (Marcos, Lacson et al), a veneer of space is granted but remains sinister.
Now, Leni aims to build a ‘Big Tent’, the broadest anti-Marcos force possible. Considering her Class background and politics, it will be a sapin-sapin of well-meaning people, progressive forces, and undesirable but necessary old powers as allies.
Such was also the situation of Mao and the CPC during their anti-imperialist war of independence against the Japanese. Still guided by a pro-people political and revolutionary line, urgency and liberation demanded that they ‘hold hands’ with the reactionary Kuomintang (KMT) of Chiang Kai-shek.
The NatDem forces, in my opinion, do not have illusions with Leni, as is she is backed by old powers, landed power elites, and political dynasties. But their move in theory is backed by praxis, that being politically evil regimes are overthrown during urgently dire circumstances by a convergence of progressive, nationalist, and middle forces. This takes to account the Objective Conditions of the nation in crisis and the Subjective Capacity of the people.
Hence, progressive votes for Leni are principled votes.
What about Ka Leody?
The thorn in the dilemma is about tactics, not principles.
Yes, one may argue against Ka Leody’s run by saying that this looks to be an improper reading and application of Marxist Science (Objective Conditions-Subjective Capacity). But then again, leeway is given to praxis—his success is the necessary justification for such a bold move.
From the onset, Ka Leody is clearly anti-establishment, presenting the Sharpest Line. But by doing so, getting the broadest body meet at the sharpest point is crucial.
Progressive votes for Ka Leody are also principled votes, however thorny and risky it looks.
The burden of proof is in Ka Leody’s forces, added to it is the burden of building a power base broad and large enough to counter Marcos et al. A lot of propwork needs to be put in for visibility, recall, and retention.