The best we can really say for the Otso Diretso senatorial line-up of the Opposition Coalition led by the Liberal Party for the 2019 Philippine midterm elections is “thanks for at least trying”.
The crumbling Yellow Empire of the East is in its end-of-days stages having contracted an apparently incurable terminal disease by the end of PNoy’s term. The bankruptcy in Otso Diretso is first evident in the choice of the number 8 in their current marketing strategy. Of the 12 available seats, they can ONLY field 8 candidates (compared with their 12 bets in the 2016 elections). Dwindling ammo (tsk tsk)… not a good sign.
What’s worse is that among the 8, only Mar and Bam have any realistic fighting chance of getting into the magic 12 (even by the Yellow-leaning standards of Rappler’s reported surveys). This means the other 6 (Alejano, Hilbay, etc.) are just wasting their time/effort and their party’s money.
And why lock a number to your brand? What if one candidate drops out midway along the campaign trail leading towards Election Day? What if someone misses a campaign sortie? How can people be expected to cheer for 8 when they only see 7 or 6 people on the stage? Whoever thought this up was not using “what if” logic.
So we have Mar Roxas, who is now known to be a consistent loser in recent elections (VP and Pres), which makes him a harder sell esp. now after displaying incompetence through the chaotic Yolanda relief efforts and MRT’s decrepit state under his watch during PNoy’s term.
Then struggling to get into the magic 12 is Bam Aquino, who takes pride and basks in credit-grabbing glory for the passage of the Free College Tuition law, when it was Bongbong Marcos who already surfaced the idea back in 2015 and it was Ralph Recto who actually authored it. And at this stage of the ballgame, selling the Aquino brand after PNoy’s lousy performance is a tall order indeed.
Meanwhile on the Hukbong ng Pagbabago side, most candidates are already big-ticket household names, with only Zajid Mangudadatu and Jiggy Manicad being the relatively less known though fresher names on the list.
Marketing Catastrophe Waiting to Happen
Diretso appears to be a subliminal rehash of PNoy’s Daang Matuwid (diretso = matuwid). And Filipinos know just how much of a sham (or scam) that marketing slogan was. Otso represents going in circles (like the endless finger-pointing we saw each time failure knocked on LP -led Noynoy administration doors). So this team appears to be all about going straight back to going in circles (a.k.a. Noynoying around) the very thing Filipinos detested during PNoy’s term.
People already know Daang Matuwid is now a lost cause; yet here they are trying to resurrect it? The hardest thing to sell nowadays during a time of exponential development and foundation-rocking change under the Duterte administration is a promise to return to the days of Noynoying around and bombarding the nation with bad news: unconstitutional DAP/PDAF pork, Dengvaxia, lalag bala, provocation of China, SAF44 massacre, Yolanda funds mismanagement, MRT deterioration, drugs in Bilibid,… (while apathetically grinning like the couple in our 500 peso bill).
Admission of Loss
Even among the candidates of this Otso Diretso line-up, they are already pessimistic about the idea of winning. They said the reason they are NOT FAMOUS is because they are not thieves. Macalintal said in the vernacular in a sortie in Iriga City:
Kaming mga Otso Diretso, hindi kami kilala. Hindi talaga kami kilala sa pagnanakaw
Admitting one is not famous during an electoral campaign is tantamount to accepting defeat. If a tricycle driver had to choose between ex-con Robin Padilla and a total nobody like Eduardo “Dodong” Macarandang for a national-level government post – who will he likely choose?
Why join a beauty contest if you’re not beautiful, tall and smart? In like manner, why join a popularity contest when you aren’t famous already from the get go? Do you think a few months of chanting in the streets can change that?
Look at Bong Go, who started building an image to make himself known to the public through selfies with world leaders. He had a plan, and he invested and planted the seeds way in advance – bearing the marks of an expert political strategist like his boss. Now people are more than eager to vote for him just to have the assurance of having the president’s alter-ego in Senate halls.
Politics in the Philippines is probably 90% marketing and just 10% actual real substance. This is the reality Filipinos signed up for in choosing to be a democracy.
- Jose Manuel “Chel” Diokno
- Romulo Macalintal
- Samira Gutoc-Tomawis,
who the heck are these people???
Ipaglaban ang ating bukas, boto mo ang lunas. Otso Diretso!
(lit. Fight for our future, your vote is the antidote. Eight Straight!)
What epic bankruptcy in campaign sloganeering: ipaglapan ang ating bukas??? Really? What does that even mean? Does anyone even still buy such commie-sounding motherhood-statement crap these days?
Laban could refer to Cory’s magic L-sign; so it probably means fighting the “dictator”. Without a dictator, a laban cause is relatively meaningless. That’s like saying “we are irrelevant without any antagonist.” And they need to convince Filipinos that the bad guy in today’s context is PRRD, who at some point the people gave their resounding thumbs up with an 80% approval rating.
Contrast this meaningless ipaglaban battlecry with how Duterte marketed himself with his Federalism and Anti-Drug Campaign – very clear and distinct target / end game.
Despite being around for decades, the LP camp has a lot to learn, … or rather unlearn. But as the saying goes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Will it be the end of their kind within the Philippine political landscape? In about 80 days (till the upcoming May 13, 2019 National and Local Elections), we’ll see the validation of what we already knew all along.
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- Scratching the ChaCha itch: Why an Opposition VP like Leni will never work well for the Philippines - January 9, 2020
- Political Suicide on a Yellow Noose: Duterte’s 87% Approval Rating Dooms the Future of Leni-led Yellow Opposition - December 25, 2019