Yesterday’s campaign kick-offs again made the writing on the wall even more evident with the clear topping of the shows of the day by administration candidates Bongbong Marcos and Sara Duterte who “rocked” a packed Philippine Arena. Even communist “journalist” Inday Espina Varona was moved to admit, “[in] terms of numbers, the son of Ferdinand Marcos and the daughter of Rodrigo Duterte won the campaign kickoff mobilisation game, no ifs nor buts.”
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In terms of production quality, scale of organisation, and overall pizzaz, the performance delivered by Team BBM-Duterte outclassed all the rest. As many in the audience observed, ABS-CBN star Toni Gonzaga was in her element as host of the event. Her booming voice could have filled the arena even without a mike.
To that, Rapplerette Lian Buan sourly points out, “Toni Gonzaga, one of ABS-CBN’s biggest celebrities, introduces Rodante Marcoleta who pushed to deny the franchise renewal of the network costing thousands of Kapamilya workers their jobs.” Buan, still likely butthurt from that “assault on press freedom”, seems to suggest that Gonzaga owes utang na loob (a debt of gratitude) to ABS-CBN. That’s just typical of kiddie “journalists” glossing over the real facts underlying the demise of the top Yellowtard media conglomerate just to push their preferred narrative.
Of course, a lame attempt to cut down the the host of the show is futile considering not just the star power that was on exhibit in the event but also the chemistry between the candidates. This was evident in the service vice presidential candidate Sara Duterte did herself in the clear and articulate speech she delivered to introduce herself and the grace she exhibited giving her running mate a rousing introduction.
Speaking of stars, third-generation Marcos star Sandro Marcos seemed to be making his dad proud demonstrating an ability to steal the show from the latter as the crowd roared when the big background screen briefly cut to him as he flashed the victory sign.
Indeed, it was a wild night — the culmination of steady consistent work over the last eight to twelve months to secure the numbers, form the best relationships and alliances, manage communications and messaging, and, overall, deliver an engaging and sticky brand to Filipino voters. Of course, this was a journey very-well documented by the more objective contributors to the national debate that the Opposition’s chi chi Katipunan-educated “thought leaders” like to pretend do not exist. As such, to really appreciate the remarkable nature of what was achieved by the administration camp would be to note what a respected member of the Opposition camp has to say himself (albeit a tad grudgingly) about even just the latter two to three months of that journey and what, by now, should be an outcome that no longer surprises…
Marcos’ refusal to slide down and Inday Sara eventually sliding down to number two coated him with a veneer of toughness and finally lent him the air of being a winner; it also gave both him and her (Marcos Jr. and Inday Sara, respectively) something they’d lacked thus far: the sense of being backed by a significant […] durable coalition featuring former president and speaker Arroyo (plus the Romualdezes). It was this drama, and the coalescing of the veteran politicians, that boosted Marcos’ presidential numbers, and made Sara the person to beat for the presidency. It sucked all the air out of the room, politically speaking, stalling the moderate momentum of Leni Robredo who’d kept the remnants of the opposition guessing, and absolutely depriving the other candidates, Moreno, Pacquiao, and Lacson, of what their candidacies needed, too: drama. The keep ’em guessing plus substitution gambit of 2016 succeeded in its 2021 rerun.
The point Inquirer columnist and former Undersecretary Manuel L Quezon III was leading to in making the above observation taken from his piece today “Now for the hard part” really had more to do with what he regards as the hard slog the Opposition is in for over the remaining weeks of their campaign.
This early, his campaign can claim the tantalizing possibility of the first majority presidency since (take your pick) either 1986 or 1969. But there remains hope of the others, currently in the teens or less, percentage-wise, to somehow convince the public to join them and thus start giving the Marcoses a run for their money.
Quezon’s statement of “hope” for the Opposition clearly doubles as a warning. It is a warning because the Opposition, specially the “leading” Yellowtard bloc within it rallying around presidential candidate Leni Robredo show no signs of reforming the negative messaging that characterises their campaign and which contributed to the running to the ground of their campaign. Even more important for the Opposition is that they reconsider the sorts of characters they habitually associate themselves with.
In the case of the Yellowtards’ chummy-chummy relations with the Philippines’ Catholic Church the officers of which are held to a vow of obedience to their overlords in Rome, displays like these — of nuns in ancient habits performing ancient rituals — raise questions around how serious Robredo’s camp are about upholding their supposedly progressive character. The standout example, in this instance, is their supposed championing of women’s issues and their supposed alignment with the “causes” of feminism and gay rights. The Roman Catholic Church, we might remind everyone, stands for everything that feminists and the gay community are against.
The big challenge in the coming weeks is mainly on the Opposition nuisance candidates. Will they continue competing amongst themselves for the Number Two position? Or will they be able to pull together the mettle, the creative chops, and the groundbreaking originality required to gun for Number One?
WATCH: Supporters of Marcos-Duterte tandem sing along to ‘Bagong Lipunan’, a popular anthem during the time of late president Ferdinand Marcos Sr. #VotePH #OurVoteOurFuture | @NAMercadoINQ pic.twitter.com/VWdzkv7BXW
— Inquirer (@inquirerdotnet) February 8, 2022
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benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.