Another “hero” of the Philippine Opposition in the guise of never-had-been-chief-justice Lourdes Sereno has fallen. She follows others who waged hollow-headed and intellectually-insulting personal “wars” against the government of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. Like those who had fallen before her, Sereno’s biggest mistake was to presume to think that God was on her side. Indeed, the common denominator that links the fallen “heroes” of the Philippine Opposition is religion.
This is a problem the Opposition can easily address. They are, after all, vying for the leadership of a nation that aspires to modernise and transform to a progressive and secular society. One would think that such an aspiration is one you could readily associate with the more “liberal” end of the political spectrum. Therefore it is quite baffling that an Opposition led by the Philippines’ “Liberal Party” would be a political force that behaves more like the Taliban than a true movement for openness, diversity, inclusiveness, and modern discourse. Indeed, the Philippines’ Liberal Party is anything but. It derives political capital from its close association with the Roman Catholic Church and its members pride themselves for their piety which they they take every opportunity to publicly exhibit and express.
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Add to that theocratic flavour in their party character the more visible partisan branding they bring to their cause, the yellow-themed colours in their rallies (thus the term “Yellowtard” they had come to be known as) and the use of the L-shaped hand gesture to denote their “Laban” (“Fight”) battlecry. The Opposition led by these Yellowtards has, as such, become a closed clique of like-minded buffoons rather than the open alternative paragon of inclusiveness that actually wins modern elections.
It is no wonder that the Opposition today is confused and fragmented. They lack a robust and scalable platform upon which to build a consistent and coherent vision towards which a compelling strategic roadmap could be drawn. The Opposition have, in effect, substituted vision with cult-of-personality. This predicament is made worse by the fact that an Opposition personality to build a cult around does not even exist. None of the Opposition’s loudest personalities are strong or charismatic enough to serve as a true encompassing Opposition leader. And while having many Opposition leaders is normally ok, the formidable popularity of the incumbent they are up against means they cannot afford to spread their force thin across all the present leader wannabes.
We can see the abject weakness of the current Yellowtard-led Opposition in the lame ineffective messaging they send out to their constituents today. The once-awesome brand equity of Corporate Media behemoths that the Yellowtards once relied on to shove their partisan drivel down Filipinos’ throats are but pale shadows of their former selves — reduced to whining about a “weaponised Internet” and foolishly taking up the nebulous “cause” of competing with the imaginary enemy of “journalism” they refer to as “fake news”. Messaging is important in a democracy. And with elections looming in the horizon, the Opposition are left scrambling for the coherent messaging they need to compete in the memetic jungle that is a typical Philippine election campaign.
There is a lot the Opposition need to do to get up to scratch in time for the coming 2019 elections. But the one single biggest thing they could do for themselves is a simple and obvious one — ditch the Yellowtards. The Yellowtards are like stubborn weeds that infest the Philippine Opposition. It will take time to root them out and, as such it is best that a next generation of real Opposition leaders worth their salt get on with the job of weeding these parasites out. Now na.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.