Bongbong, the Teflon candidate Daily Tribune

Bongbong, the Teflon candidate Featured

A MONTH to election day last week, The Manila Times came out with a screaming headline, "Marcos expected to rake in 36M votes." This would translate to over 56 percent of eligible Filipino voters, a clear majority comparable to Ferdinand Makoy in 1986, where he garnered 53.62 percent and Cory 46.10 percent. Marred by massive electoral fraud exposed by the walk-out of 30 Comelec poll computer technicians, this triggered mammoth protests resulting in the booting out of the dictator from power. Now the son, if the figures hold, may reprise Makoy's win for his second term in 1969, garnering 61.47 percent over Sergio Osmeña Jr.'s 38.51 percent. After that year, Marcos declared martial law. And the subsequent referenda — not elections — were simply "Yes and No" votes for Makoy; garnering "Yes" 90.67 percent in 1973 and 89.27 percent in 1977. Walang kalabanlaban!

Released by Pulse Asia, three other pollsters had equivalent results with their own polls published earlier. Social Weather Stations (SWS) came out in early February, placing Marcos in the lead with 50 percent; PUBLiCUS Asia, (March 30 to April 6) BBM 56 percent, Leni 23 percent, Isko 9 percent. OCTA, February 12 to 17, BBM 55 percent, Leni 15 percent, Isko11 percent.

These pollsters came out with similar figures establishing a "trend" — or whatever appropriate syntax one uses to avoid disturbing partisan sensibilities. Pollsters claim to be non-partisans — but we know better — advancing a mantra that a poll is simply a snapshot of a particular time-period and therefore has no bearing on the next "photograph." But to the partisans of BBM who is leading — this is it!

For the Leni Kakampinks, they see a "trend" of a 9 percentage points gained from the last polling period with BBM losing 4 percent — or an effective net gain of 13 percent — raising excitement among the true believers that this captures the so-called nationwide surge seen on the tumultuous pink crowds during rallies, thus — "this is it"!

I am not aware however that in the group of Isko, Manny and Ping — they can also say — confidently, though tongue-in-cheek, that indeed, "this is it!

Travails of pollsters

I never had the pleasure of meeting any of the three leading presidentiables, but this doesn't really matter. It is they who are being scrutinized, placed under a political microscope with voters now making up their minds. I too have formed mine. I will not vote for any of them. In fact, I will not vote at all. I will be in America gracing my surrogate daughter Justine May's wedding — family obligation trumping my civic responsibility.

But having observed for decades Philippine election circuses and subsequent results, I have become jaded and very cynical of the capabilities of whoever wins to effect the changes my advocacies demand — not Marcos, not Robredo and not Moreno.

But I have confidence in surveys reflecting sentiments captured at the time the polls were made — particularly if the four major pollsters show comparable results. Unless these four collude to push for a certain candidate. But I doubt it. Polling is a superb statistical tool where technology has improved over the decades and has reached a certain sophistication producing better accuracy. The four pollsters cited above may have captured a "photograph of a particular period in time" — showing a certain kind of trend — careful not to peremptorily establish one. Offhand, the four agree that Marcos is leading the polls and if sustained, he could be President Bongbong on May 9, 2022.

I can hear partisan dissenting voices, calling the pollsters all sorts of names. In the Philippines and elsewhere, bad news and contrarian polling results are seldom accepted at face value. Politicians and their supporters have accused survey firms of being politically biased when these results are unfavorable to their side. In the olden days harbinger of bad news were disposed of, their heads or tongues cut off. Today, they are vilified.

"In 2010, Sen. Richard Gordon sued Pulse Asia and Social Weather connection with his poor showing in pre-election surveys in which he was listed as a candidate for president. Gordon explained that 'surveys serve no public purpose except to rob the people of their right to be able to engage in a mental exercise where they can gauge their candidate's capability. It is mental conditioning in no uncertain terms.'...During the actual presidential elections, Gordon received 1.39 percent of the vote, even less than the 2 percent the pre-election surveys had indicated." (Wikipedia)

But poll results can be mystifying. Our lame-duck president has been maintaining high ratings in the surveys for the past six years. Duterte's partisans declare that this reflects the President's superb handling of the ship of state, his accomplishments, especially his Build, Build, Build projects, his pro-poor "ayuda," his populist policies, and his style of leadership — giving him an unprecedented approval rating never seen among the presidents before him. In short, his bond with his constituency has been highly emotional and stable over the years as gleaned from the DDS and the fist-bumping hordes' behavior — despite contrary arguments from the partisans. But I leave this to later historians to ponder.

Bongbong Marcos (BBM)

But an interesting phenomenon is the rise of BBM since his loss to VP Leni. From an actual deficit of a few hundred thousand to the current survey gap of a few millions, his minions continue to maintain that BBM was cheated in 2016. Today, his numbers continue to rise despite the mud thrown his way by his presidential rivals, particularly VP Leni's camp, caused no doubt by some of his indiscretions in the past, his outright lies, his less than stellar performance as an elective official, and the overall perception that he refuses to debate with the other presidentiables fearing exposing himself as dumb — the same accusation his partisans throw at VP Leni. Again, his partisans' retort is, "Why risk a debate when he is already leading in the polls. There's no advantage for him in that venue?"

He failed to get a college degree from Oxford University in England and should have been expelled were it not for Imelda pulling strings. BBM hinted that he got a degree — although it was known that he lived a life of a dilettante. So what! his partisans retort. So what, indeed!

He failed to pay his income taxes for several years and therefore criminally liable with a conviction meted out by the courts. Even the Deegong calls him "a weak leader, a spoiled child, a 'kawatan' — hinting of cocaine use!"

These are just some of the negatives hurled at the man. And his response! Ignore all these and take the high road. Cloak oneself with motherhood statements and stake his candidacy on strong positive unifying values. Perhaps this will resonate with the voters tired of all the muck and dirt. As a respected Manila Times columnist Yen Makabenta wrote: "The negative campaign that has been desperately mounted to stop another Marcos from entering Malacañang appears to be generating the unintended effect of making BBM inevitable."

And if Bongbong ascends the throne on May 9 — with a majority, not a plurality — then perhaps his affirmative message of unification resonated across only too well.

And good luck to us all!


Read 795 times Last modified on Wednesday, 13 April 2022 13:27
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