The objective of an election campaign is to convert voters, last we recall. So one could reasonably expect an Opposition camp going up against the political brand of a popular incumbent like Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to apply an inclusive approach. Unfortunately there seems to be no evidence that the Opposition led by the Yellowtards (the partisan bloc rabidly loyal to the Aquino-Cojuangco feudal clan) have learnt any lessons from the catastrophic electoral losses they have been suffering since 2016.
The fact is, the Yellowtards need the “Die-hard Duterte Supporters” (DDS) camp more than the DDS need them. So if I were the esteemed “thought leaders” of the Opposition, I’d be really thinking through my messaging strategies when launching campaign and PR initiatives as the powers-that-be start to get in gear for the coming race. The smarter amongst us would think that a key pillar of such messaging strategies is to get really friendly with the DDS camp and tone down rhetoric that seeks to belittle them. Of course the idealists amongst these “thought leaders” would balk at such an idea on account of what they will argue are the “principles” at stake.
And what are these “principles” these venerable Yellowtard sages hold dear?
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We need not look too far for an answer. A recent attempt to put up an “independent” opposition coalition dubbed “1Sambayan”, according to a Philippine Star “report”, presumes to lay claim to the “pro-democracy” label. According to the leader of this movement, retired Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio…
There are Filipino leaders who can do a much better job of running the government, reviving the economy, creating jobs for our people, and defending our territory and sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea.
We in the 1Sambayan will search for these Filipino leaders, unite them into one national slate and present the Filipino people with a clear choice in the May 2022 national elections.
But, see, principles don’t win elections in the Philippines.
Almost as soon as this movement was launched, it had fallen flat on its face copping a torrent of laughs from casual observers of the Philippines’ comedic politics as well as from the very partisan camps this fledgling “coalition” sought to rope in. Top Yellowtard politician and presumptive “vice president” Leni Robredo, while expressing flattery over being considered by 1Sambayan as a viable presidential bet, issued a mere non-committal “hope that [the independent process being conducted by 1Sambayan] will truly result in a greater degree of unity among democratic constituencies moving forward to 2022.” Ouch! So much for the who’s who of Yellowtardom gushing over the prospect of being anointed by the mighty 1Sambayan coalition.
Here is why 1Sambayan fails…
Fail Number One: The Star unilaterally bannered Carpio’s movement as a “pro-democracy” one on its headline. See, if you are going to be engaging the services of your Big Corporate Media connections, you really need to be on top of how they will be wording their stories. The Star suggests that Carpio’s coalition is presenting the “democratic” choice — as if asserting that the Duterte camp is undemocratic! That’s the sort of language that will likely evoke bemusement at best — a far cry from the awe an Opposition will need to inspire to win an election.
Fail Number Two: It relied on Yellowtard “influencers” to spread the news. For example, it would have been prudent for the PR consultants of 1Sambayan to think twice about associating their client with the likes of Pinoy Ako Blog personality Jover Laurio and Rapplerette Mara Cepeda in any sort of social media campaign.
Fail Number Three: The messaging focused on names and personalities and not on ideas and platforms. As is evident with that tweet issued by Cepeda, 1Sambayan kicked off with a list of names it presumptuously endorses as 2022 presientiables. The only outcome of this ill-thought-out approach was to create “debate” on whether or not these personalities were “anti-Duterte” enough to be considered “true” Opposition leaders.
As the famous saying goes, “small minds chatter about people, mediocre minds talk about events, great minds discuss ideas”.
This early failure in the opening weeks of the 2022 campaign already serves as an important lesson to the Philippine Opposition: don’t act like such pompous windbags. Find common ground with Filipino voters instead of being a force of polarisation. More importantly, ditch people like convicted mutineer Antonio Trillanes and find alternative channels and platforms to engage with the ordinary Filipinos and not just the chi chi private school set that waste their eyeballs on dishonest “social news networks” like Rappler.
And, please, enough of those cringey “opening prayers” that gjve non-Christian Filipinos the impression that they are outsiders in their own country. The Roman Catholic Church is no longer the mighty kingmaker it once was. No politician needs to kiss Catholic ass anymore. What they do need to kiss is “DDS” ass — at least just enough of it to convert a critical mass of voters to put up a worthy “fight” come 2022.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.