For anyone who has been observing the Philippine political scene long enough, it is not hard to come to the conclusion that regardless of who wins the presidential election, Filipinos will remain the same mediocre, divided, and self-interested collection of disjoint tribes that they’ve always been. The term of Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino was marked by an inability of mainstream media to keep up with successfully covering up its deficiencies and obvious gaffes. The current term of president Rodrigo Duterte is poised to end unable to live up to its full potential of “change” – in no small part because the elites of Imperial Manila did their utmost to obstruct it.
Whichever side you stand on the political fence, Filipinos have in common that they see their politicians as sort of godfathers, mga ninong, who shower them with gifts and favors before, during, and after the elections. Self-interest is a great motivation; the rich want “concessions” and influence that will make them richer, while the poor want the freebies that will get them thru every single day without damaging the “budget”.
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The “decent” crowd – now AKA the Pinklawans, Pinktards, Pinkoloids, anything but Yellowtards – are clinging to their choice of Leni Robredo for president – buy, buy, MUST WIN – in order to salvage whatever is left of their clout and precious collective political ego. On social media platforms, despite having the weight of conveniently-placed assets to silence opinions they don’t agree with, they have been largely unsuccessful in totally cancelling out the DDS – the Diehard Duterte Supporters – and continue to be met with a ferocity that has led them to cry “our dissent is being silenced”, when all they mean to say is that, they’ve been so used to the privilege of having the last word on things that the loss of it feels like oppression. What complicates things for the Pinkoloids are the supporters – long-time or recent – of the Marcoses, particularly the presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr., who have ridden the momentum of the sliding irrelevance of the Liberal Party (LP) to come out in a “safer space”.
On the other side of the track, the DDS may have the numbers – or so the surveys say – but they have little socio-political weight even after five years of being the dominant force. They lack a large-scale communications infrastructure, which is why Duterte, his administration, and his supporters are left at the mercy of mainstream media to be misrepresented, and their words twisted, to give unwitting audiences the impression that things in the Philippines are worse than they actually are. It is still also more socially accepted in certain areas of the country to cancel/ostracize DDS in real life; by the virtue of “whom you’re connected to”, Duterte’s offensiveness will carry over to you as a supporter. Duterte’s supporters may not have the snooty air or the inability to step out of their echo chambers that the “disente” do, but they turn off the non-aligned just the same by being irrationally hostile towards any criticism of Tatay Digong, especially the warranted ones.
Suffice to say, both the LP’s supporters and the DDS most likely overestimate the number of live bodies they have on their side. When we focus on the presidential election next year, however, the mood this early indicates that Bongbong Marcos, or Sara Duterte if she decides to be a substitute, will win, and that Leni Robredo and any remnants of the LP will lose – if the Liberal Party competes fair and square. – a big if. Duterte and Marcos supporters, on the other hand, assume that people will fall into line and forget all the offensiveness associated with their candidates when they win.
Robredo’s win in the vice-president elections last 2016 remains unconvincing for a portion of the electorate. On the other hand, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) has been perceived for quite some time as too lenient on the skullduggery of the Liberal Party; the DDS and Marcos supporters may just find out the hard way, again, that, more than the votes, it’s who counts the votes that count. Regardless of who wins this election, certain bad blood (sama ng loob) will remain unresolved, and Filipinos will still be divided. The social conditions will result in a stalemate where everybody loses.
I believe, however, that the DDS and the Pinklawans can actually reach a compromise. Hence the following proposal.
As previously mentioned, in a fair fight Leni Robredo will most likely lose; Duterte and Marcos supporters, against all odds, will not allow a repeat of 2016 to happen. The agreement they can reach is that the Pinklawans get to keep their deluded self-righteousness and “entitlement” to label their political enemies all manners of “stupid”, but in return, they forfeit the election immediately, and all privilege to comment on politics in any medium they share with their political enemies. To extend this proposal even further, the Lenitards can have their own, Liberal Party-dominant piece of land, consider themselves seceded from the bigger Republic of the Philippines, and run it according to their own inoffensive, West-friendly principles/ideology. The rest of the Philippines will be run according to the vision of a Duterte-Marcos “dream team” that their supporters have. A “friendly” competition can even be staged to see who has developed the farthest after a certain number of years!
What happens to those who identify neither as Pinktards, or DDS? Sorry, Filipinos have already decided your side for you; if you criticize Leni, you’re a Dutertard. If you criticize Digong or Bongbong, you’re a Yellowtard. It’s up to you where you want to be lumped.
Filipinos have demonstrated time and again that they excel when they’re apart, rather than when they work together. It’s a win-win deal.
Your move, Philippines.
А вы, друзья, как ни садитесь, все в музыканты не годитесь. – But you, my friends, however you sit, not all as musicians fit.