The Philippine Opposition are bewildered and in DENIAL. Here’s how they can regroup…

The Philippine Opposition are lost and have scattered, running around like headless chickens. You can see it in how their disgraced candidates have withdrawn from the limelight and clammed up following their catastrophic loss in this year’s mid-term elections. Despite an array of assurances to their flock that the Laban (“fight”) will persist and contrite vows that they will continue their “work” as private citizens, none have actually demonstrated any semblance of a plan to do just that — the very ironic attribute of their sorry campaign that lost them these elections.

Indeed, for that matter it is unlikely that any of the Otso Direto coalition members will ever work together again seeing, in hindsight, that the decision to band together into that branded campaign machine was a foolish idea that proved absolutely fatal to the Opposition bid for control of the Senate. The verdict is confronting but can be very succinctly put: Next time, don’t campaign like YELLOWTARDS.

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I cited this flaw in the Opposition campaign a few months ago (when that insight was still actionable) in my article The Opposition led by #OtsoDiretso will LOSE in this year’s elections because of their DISHONESTY

As a coalition, Otso Diretso has so far failed to make a compelling pitch to the broader base of Filipino voters. What it has, instead, achieved is merely ratchet up the inbred rabidness of its small cliquish community of constituents. It did this by continuing to drum in the dogma of the liberal orthodoxy into its followers’ heads. The uppity notions of “human rights”, “gender equality”, “gay rights” — long rendered irrelevant to a public grown weary of no-results abstractions — continue to serve as fodder for the ineffectual campaign of Otso Diretso.

Most important of all…

…the worst and most dishonest ideas the Opposition are propagating today involve painting the current Philippine government as one that is “tyrannical” and the judiciary as hopelessly dysfunctional. It is really bad because they do this not to build upon but to tear down. They would rather see a Philippines set back to achieve their ends rather than craft a platform or strategy to build upon what is working and what’s been progressed. We can see this destructive attitude in the way they would run to and get in bed with foreign powers to undermine the Philippines from the outside — a perverse sort of reverse colonialism.

But, perhaps this is a lesson made quite clear to them now that the mainstream “thought leaders” have belatedly picked up and regurgitated the very same lessons in their post mortems all of which are handily summed up in a report published on chi chi Washington Post.

The massive hit for the president’s critics reflects what analysts say is a public perception of the opposition as elitist. The Liberal Party fielded eight candidates, branded as the “Otso Diretso” or “Straight Eight.”

But La Viña said the opposition politicians could have benefited from a broader alliance with independents and the left, rather than promoting their own party principles.

“The strategy is actually not to fight Duterte, but to fight for positive things,” La Viña said. “You really cannot fight Duterte.”

Aren’t we all glad mainstream “news” media are here to tell us these important things, right?

What the Opposition need to do is man up to their loss and get past the residual shrillness of their collective soul (or, rather, scapegoat) searching. Already, the social media “thought leaders” who supported them — and contributed to the elitist character of their “cause” — continue to do a disservice to the Opposition by failing to take on board these obvious lessons. One of the ill-thought-out responses to their loss is a rather low-brow effort to paint the Filipino Voter under a bad light.

A certain Ash Presto, for one, who is a “summa cum laude graduate” and supposedly “teaches at the Sociology Department of the University of the Philippines, Diliman” and “is currently taking her MA Sociology at the same institution” presumed to lead the charge writing an opinion piece published on Rappler where she all but dismissed even the most educated Filipinos who voted for non-Opposition candidates by calling them “just plain rotten”. This is to see past the basic fact of a scholar of the esteemed field of “sociology” insulting the subjects of study of her discipline without the benefit of some semblance of a scientific inquiry into the evidence that may (or may not) validate that observation.

It is also interesting to note that Presto publishes sexually-explicit blogs. One which carried the title, My First was With a Macho Dancer, had since been put off line. This is interesting because she encourages her audience to defer to moral responsibility (presumably conservative Christian teachings that most Filipinos grew up on). It’s not that there is anything wrong with publishing sexually explicit material online to a consenting adult audience. However, Presto is evidently confusing morality with ethics. Ethics is a field that aims to determine wrong or right on the basis of a process of deduction that avoids deferring to belief systems that prescribe arbitrary codes of conduct (such as religion and cultural traditions). Morality, on the other hand, necessarily defers to cultural constructs that prescribe specific ways to judge what is good or bad. Often these constructs are selectively applied — something the Yellowtards have proven to be good at.

The fact that Presto would now delete her sexually-charged blogs points to the long-observed intellectual dishonesty of the foremost “thought leaders” of the Opposition. It also highlights one of the key virtues that underpins the already-legendary staying power of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s popularity — being real and wearing one’s flaws and unpopular views on one’s sleeve. Unlike Yellowtards like Presto, Duterte had everything — popular and unpopular opinions and all — up front at Day One. When I say Day One, I don’t mean May of 2016. Day One of the real Duterte was way back before that — back when he first decided to run for president, which was the very same day he announced that his planned war on drugs would be a YUGE bloodbath. That appealed to Filipino voters back then and it continues to appeal to them today. It is therefore quite baffling to see the Opposition make highlighting that attribute and asserting that it is a bad thing a cornerstone of their campaign strategy. When you want to win voters over, you don’t demonise a key feature of the regime they voted for. That’s just plain stupid.

When you don’t pretend to be good and, instead, do what it takes — even do “bad” things — to fulfill what you promised to your constituents, you will win people’s trust. More imporantly, there will be no dirt about you that can be uncovered and used against you — because all of it is already laid bare. Compare that to the Yellowtards — people who are far more dishonest than the people they call dishonest — who have lots to hide. Look no further beyond Ash Presto who, it seems, forgot to hide her skeletons before she started issuing anti-skeleton statements on Twitter.

The Opposition really need to ditch the Yellowtards. That was a lesson they failed to apply back when it could still have won them the 2019 elections. Now it is a lesson that they can heed next time. And wherever there is a next time, it certainly is never too late to change.

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