Goes to show that there is no sincerity in the Opposition’s regard for the future of the Filipino people. Rather than work on something constructive in the lead up to the 2022 elections (like coming up with a forward-looking platform), they remain hopelessly fixated on taking lame potshots at Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. Hey we get it, alright? Part of the effort to convert voters to your side is to paint the enemy under a bad light. But, see, that can’t be your only strategy. Having a single pillar to prop up a political strategy is setting yourself up for failure — because having a single point of failure enables your enemies to focus all their firepower on just that one point.
It is clearly evident that demonising Duterte and inciting rebellion against his government is no longer working. Yet the Opposition continue to do the same thing over and over again and, bizarrely, continue to expect different results. Worse, by continuing to whine about Duterte and about their miserable lives that, get this, is Duterte’s fault, Opposition “thought leaders” merely highlight just how vacuous their value proposition to the Filipino voter is. The Opposition, in essence, offer nothing other than a promise — yet again — that they are the “decent” alternative to Duterte (or any other parisan camp for that matter).
More disturbing is that the Roman Catholic Church are beginning to creep back into the picture. References to prayerfulness and retribution against “evil” are making their way back into the Opposition rhetoric. While these may appeal to the lot of superstitious Filipinos that have been the traditional voter base of the Yellowtards (the partisan bloc loyal to the Aquino-Cojuangco clan that presume to “lead” the Opposition), being in bed with the Church will only split the Opposition further. There are, after all, people who don’t subscribe to the Church’s non-negotiable hardline stand against homosexuals and transgenders, artificial contraception, abortion, gay marriage, and intellectual and sexual freedom among others. There seems to be no advantage in having the Church as a backer nowadays but pandering to religion and schmoozing with priests and cardinals are hard habits to break, indeed.
A space to watch is what a growing community of increasingly underemployed celebrities with lots of followers will be doing in the next several months. As unemployment bears down on the chi chi lifestyles of these social climbers, they increasingly become easy-pickins for conscription into one PR campaign or another. With Big Corporate Media and their top “talent” now more aware of the risks of being seen to be under the payroll of vote-hungry politicians, there will likely be less tolerance for celebrity political extravaganzas from both their fandom and their employers. The entertainment business, after all, is all about acquiring monolithic fandoms — not splintering them into fragments. On that regard, entertainers are on notice. Go woke, go broke.
The Opposition had still not learnt an important lesson since 2016. Playing “decent” is not an effective weapon against Duterte. In the lead up to the 2016 election, Duterte made thumbing his nose at all cultural conventions and social institutions — foremost among which is the Roman Catholic Church itself — a cornerstone of his campaign. This basically inoculated his persona against the Yellowtards’ Morality Police approach and appeal to Filipinos’ voodoo Catholic sensibilities. It therefore does not make sense to continue using an appeal to “decency” as the core of a campaign against the man. And yet here we are, still seeing the same obsolete approach being applied by the Opposition. Not smart, to say the least.
The clock is ticking and Philippine Opposition have yet to pick and sharpen their weapons. It is obvious that many in their arsenal have long fallen into obsolescence — appeals to “decency”, prayerfulness, showbiz PR, and parading around with an entourage of nuns no longer work. Calling for extra-constitutional “ousters” and waxing romantic “revolutionary” poetry are now brand-eroding no-nos. The Victim Card has been overused to tatters and “human rights”, “feminism”, and all that woke goodness have proven to be hopelessly abstract notions that don’t resonate outside of the chi chi halls of Catholic private schools and the communist tambayans of the University of the Philippines’ campuses.
The Opposition need to try harder and stop being such try hards. Filipino voters demand a modern and intelligent Opposition — not the pretentious prayerful lot we see today. People will relate to a forward-looking visionary proposal for better governance — not one that habitually harks to obsolete 1970s- and Cold-War-era bogeymen. Time to step up. The 2022 elections are looming in the horizon. Tick tock tick tock…
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