From what started out as an estimated 80,000-strong crowd before sunset yesterday, the “official” estimate issued this morning (and amplified by mainstream media) ballooned to 137,000. In its “report” on the event, Inquirer “reporters” Jeannette I. Andrade and Krixia Subingsubing further bumped up the estimate to 180,000. As expected, most participants in this rally wore pink — a reminder that theirs is an exclusive club of partisans who identify with a political brand. This latest “show of force” was impressive — impressive in how it demonstrates the resolve of a beleaguered political camp to send across to the public an unfounded perception that they are “winning”. But are the Yellowtards actually winning? This is the more important question. How many voters are the Yellowtards actually converting?
The most recent reports on voter preference polls issued by reputable research firms show that administration tandem Bongbong Marcos and Sara Duterte continue to maintain a formidable — very likely insurmountable — lead over the rest of the Opposition candidates. Pulse Asia, reporting off the results of a survey conducted over the 18th through the 23rd February showed Marcos and Duterte attracting 60 and 53 percent of survey respondents’ preferences respectively. Yellowtard presidential candidate Leni Robredo attracted a measly 15 percent while Opposition vice presidential candidate exhibited a more respectable 24 percent of respondents. The recent Publicus Asia Pahayag report made use of an even more recently-collected sample acquired over the period 9th through the 14th March. This period would have likely captured any change in voter sentiment accounted for by successful Yellowtard rallies conducted then. The fact is, however, there is no evidence that the proverbial needle had moved. The more recent Publicus report remains generally consistent with the Pulse Asia numbers with Marcos and Duterte attracting 55 and 56 percent of survey respondents’ preferences respectively.
All that these rallies really prove is that Yellowtard supporters are willing to dress in their pink best, get on a chartered bus, and scrunch together in a rally at the beck and call of their “leaders” on a Sunday afternoon. As to the number of non-Yellowtards who would suddenly experience a miraculous change of preference and express this by doing the same? There is no reliable way of measuring how many people fit that story. In short, it is only a fool who would conclude on the bases of these “shows of force”, impressive as they may be, that voters are being won from rivals.
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More importantly, the manner with which the Yellowtards are trying to win over voters is intellectually-dishonest. All of what they contribute to the national political chatter are no more than appeals to emotion. The colour, crowds, and, notably, the celebrities who perform for free at these rallies are targeting only one thing — an emotional response. Even this far into the campaign, the Yellowtards would be hard-pressed to articulate clearly what their “movement” even stands for. They proclaim themselves Filipinos’ “champions of democracy”, yet show no evidence that said democracy is even being threatened to begin with. They claim on one hand to to be “in solidarity” with gay people and feminists yet, on the other, schmooze with the conservative Roman Catholic Church whose members and honchos are dogmatically opposed to both. These bald inconsistencies are likely at the root of why a strong colour branding is being used in this campaign — to distract Filipinos to the vacuousness and dishonesty of Yellowtard ideology.
With just a little more than 40 days to go in the campaign it looks like rallies like these are all the Yellowtards really have to show the Filipino voter. Anecdotes of members of their lot “converting” their parents, their driver, their maids, and even their own children are being exchanged in Yellowtard echo chambers. But if the polls are to be believed, even if all the rest of the Opposition candidates stand down from their candidacies and back Robredo as a “unified” force, Marcos would still enjoy a comfortable lead. And if they lose these elections? There are indications that they have already thought that far ahead. One cannot put it past them to incite rumblings of another “people power revolution” that they hope would result in an illegal change in leadership. The Yellowtards, quite simply, feel entitled to an electoral win this year as they are of the strong belief that God himself is on their side. For the sorts of people who think that way, any means justify the end.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.