Surely Filipinos deserve something better than the “lesser evil”. Perhaps. But the trouble is, Filipino voters and the mavens who shape their opinion do not believe so. With only a year and a half to go before the 2016 elections, only one man represents a credible bid for Philippine President by a far far margin — current Philippine Vice President Jejomar Binay. What’s an “Opposition” to do? What else, but try and stop him. Here are the three key strategies they have put in place to do just that.
(1) Trial by media.
This is the main circus act currently on-going, and it is led by an apt ringleader, mutineer-turned-‘senator’ Antionio Trillanes IV. Would the reader like me to elaborate on this further? Nah. It’s become last week’s boring news.
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(2) Putting a stop to Binay’s “premature” campaign.Neal Cruz in his Inquirer column today invokes the old discredited concept of “epal campaigning” (epal is Tagalog for “grandstanding”) popularised by social media “activists” during the 2012-2013 mid-term elections, writing about how Binay is “again violating the law by town-hopping, shaking hands, and delivering speeches to gain support for himself.” He also attempts to incite action from the Philippines’ Commission on Elections (COMELEC) which supposedly applies rules on the matter of campaign governance…
I am surprised that until now the Commission on Elections has been very docile and quiet, and has not issued any warning to Binay that he may be violating its rules against premature campaigning. The Comelec should not allow itself to be made a laughingstock by Binay. It should at least warn him that he is breaking the law.
Good luck with that. The COMELEC has a tradition of being ineffectual in its mandate to “control” election candidates’ pre-election activities. But COMELEC Chairman Sixto Brillantes in a 2012 meeting with so-called “anti-epal advocates” back in who were at the time howling in protest against the same reportedly pointed out that “the [Philippine] Supreme Court decriminalized premature campaigning in a decision in November 2009.”
More to the point…
“Long-term solution is for Congress to reenact/pass a law prohibiting/punishing premature campaigning,” Brillantes said.
Too bad for Filipinos. Their “senators” seem to be busier using the resource-guzzling Senate Blue Ribbon Committee for their own ironic premature campaigning instead of underpinning the inquiries they use it as a vehicle for to implement an intelligent legislative agenda.
(3) Mounting an “Anyone BUT Binay” campaign.
This is the campaign of last resort of the emerging (or, more aptly, fragmenting) Philippine Opposition. No credible challenger to Binay’s march towards the presidency has so far been presented by the “Opposition” to the Filipino public. So what do they do? Mount a negative campaign. Indeed, this sort of attitude stands out as the single biggest proof that Philippine elections are all but intellectually bankrupt. This essentially says that the Philippines deserves a ZERO president as an “alternative” to the current leading contender — someone who Filipinos voters, back in 2010, found to be deserving of the post of Vice President of the Philippines.
What do Filipinos deserve more? A Binay presidency? Or the sort of Zero-Proposal “Opposition” we see today?
That’s up to the Vote. Recall the tired old Democracy Rocks! rhetoric of the 1980s: “the voice of the people” is what ultimately determines the future of the Philippines, its champions preached back then. Small surprise that in the forefront of the mess that is the current Philippine “Opposition” are the same characters who make up the once-mighty “Black and White Movement” (B&WM). The philosophy that underlies the noise they currently add to the national “debate” has got the same old moronic signature. Back in 2007, the B&WM were mounting a similar campaign against then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to which I observed…
Discussion has, and has always been, thick on gossip on the personal agendas and posturings of individual politicians and thin on much else. In fact, the only real objective of the campaign of the “Opposition” is no different from any other “opposition” campaign in the past. “Unity” in any Philippine “Opposition” is based and has ever only been based on a common objective of removing an incumbent.
Seven years hence and not much progress in thinking has been achieved when it comes to the business of opposing the incumbent or (in today’s case) the election favourite. Indeed, as I wrote further in 2007…
History shows that once the typical “opposition” objective (removal of an incumbent) is achieved, the lofty ideals of any “united” opposition (past and present) vaporise as well. Each moron politician that was originally part of the preceding “united opposition” then goes his/her own way to found his or her own splinter “party” and pursue their own respective personal agendas. “United” opposition parties or alliances in the Philippines are almost always unions of convenience, no more than that.
The only thing different now is that the “Opposition” is no longer opposing the incumbent. It is opposing the top contender for the next presidency. Amazing. One thing Filipinos are good at is plumbing new depths in and pushing the creative boundaries of political moronism.
The laughable irony here is how the term “Opposition” has so naturally creeped into the current political lingo to describe those who oppose Binay’s imminent 2016 presidency today. These bozos have effectively organised (or perhaps disorganised) themselves into a Premature Opposition. How apt. A Premature Opposition campaigning against a future President who is mounting a premature campaign. I might add alleged to the latter, of course. Then again, that one is no longer a crime says the Philippine Supreme Court. So I am safe from being sued for libel in that instance.
Filipinos may not deserve a Binay presidency. But they also do not deserve an idiotic Opposition that offers nothing.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.