And there they go! PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 11 February 2016 11:13

BEHIND  THE  LINES

BY BOB JALDON

Los Angeles, CA. — They galloped out of the gates like triple crown winner American Pharoah and the once mighty Ilocos King as if tomorrow’s the last day of the campaign. My goodness, social media played a huge role as the red carpet for the presidentiables was rolled out that would extend up to Malacanang after May 9 for the winner, no matter the margin of victory.

They wasted no time going after each other’s throats. Social media is partly to blame for the propaganda blitz, good and dirty, alike. Mar Roxas and Vice President Jojo Binay are at the receiving end of black propaganda and dirty tricks.

The poll numbers keep changing, depending on who’s paying to do the survey. Today it’s Binay. The following week, Poe, and yet another seven days it’s Roxas and Duterte statistically tied. It looks like the respondents aren’t truthful as to who their candidate for president is to confuse the candidates and even the pollsters. What I know for sure is that Rodrigo Duterte will win in Davao and its surrounding provincias. He may score a little in Cagayan de Oro and Zamboanga, depending on how much his donors can throw.

Roxas will most likely take Bacolod and Iloilo and split a portion of the votes with Miriam Defensor-Santiago. Binay will take the big cities like Manila and Cebu, while Ms. Poe will pocket some of the small cities and provinces in Luzon and Mindanao, may be Sulu and Tawi-Tawi where her foster father, Fernando Poe, Jr., did pretty well. She’ll probably grab some votes in Zamboanga and parts of Bicol and Quezon province. And all of them will pick up votes in MPQCC - Manila, Pasay, Quezon, Caloocan cities. The polls point to a victory by Binay in Southern Tagalog.

This will be a slow campaign, considering that presidentiables and their seconds don’t want to lose steam and money. They have started their respective campaigns last year yet, except for Duterte who started late. They have spent a considerable amount of money already for advertisements, endorsements, public relations, handouts and dole outs, the one that we used to call POINT SEVEN in clear violation of the Omnibus Election Code. The escape clause is their ads and whatever have been paid for by their friends. Who are they fooling? They should all be disqualified. I’ll explain later.

Fidel V. Ramos said before his run for the presidency that when people will see him kissing babies, that’s the signal that he is running. It’s different in Duterte’s case. He kisses ladies in shocking view of the public. He doesn’t hold punches, ah lips, when provoked.

But I’d like to listen to candidates talk about climate change, not about how to make our economy grow. They should all spread concerns about the green house effect on earth. They should offer solutions to counter the record-setting drought in Mindanao that has brought about blackouts because of the dysfunctional Agus and Pulangi hydroelectric plants. Take care of the needs of the majority of Mindanao first before doing anything for FILIPINOS seeking a separate state.

In the better days of Cesar C. Climaco, he would pick up a broom (walis tingting) and sweep the dirty streets himself. It wasn’t for show. When he was asked by one of his aides why he was doing it when he had 10 sweepers to do it, his answer was plain and swift: “This is my city.” That was Cesar. No one comes close to being like him. He was one hell of a maverick. That’s why he lost three times gunning for a senate seat under the Liberal Party. Like Duterte, he had a thin campaign wallet.

In Zamboanga, I don’t know, nor will I hazard a guess, who will come out victorious among the presidential candidates. If they are registered voters, all the bisayans will vote for Duterte. Zamboanga may partly go for Roxas because of the mayor’s and perhaps the two district representatives’ support. The Freemasons, members of the Iglesias ni Cristo, the Knights of Columbus, fraternities like APO, other civic and service clubs and the Catholic Church  are divided. The LP has the clear edge in strategy because of its well-oiled machinery and caches full of money.

Now, my explanation. A report filed by ABS-CBN two days ago said that 40 congressmen are running unopposed, according the records the network acquired from the Commission on Elections (Comelec). Half of all the candidates for congress and vice governor who are running unopposed are members of the LP.

The report continues: Nearly half of the unopposed candidates for mayor are also members of the LP. Of the 40 unopposed district representatives, 20 belong to the LP. Seven of the 14 candidates for vice governor are LPs. Nearly half of the 224 candidates for mayor belong to the administration party (105).

In the six of the top 10 vote-rich provinces in the country, 12 are running unopposed and eight of them belong to the LP. The network further reported that 35 mayoral candidates are running unopposed in the top 10 vote-rich areas. Of the 19 candidates running for district representatives under the LP, four are running unopposed.

This all means that the LP has a lighter, if not easier, time to campaign for its presidential bet. Stalwarts of the LP have said that the accepted theory is that unopposed local candidates are in a better position to help in national campaigns because they don’t have to think of their political survival. They may have a point.

A professor in political science said that the campaign will be fought in three fronts: the ground, the media and social media. Money, he continues, will be the key to victory. Naturally, he who has the gold wins. Vote-buying will play a significant and decisive role in this election. While the automated voting system is hard to rig, the system isn’t perfect.

It is guessed that the going rate for a vote can go as high as P500. That’s a lot for aroz, sardinas y azucar. The Comelec said that there are 53,363,844 registered voters. Based on this number, each presidential candidate is allowed by law to spend around half-a-billion pesos. OMG, how much have they spent so far? But that’s how Philippine politics works. The more money in circulation, the better it is for the economy.

By the way... My family and I were in Mazatlan, Mexico a year ago at the start of Lent. We had our foreheads ashed at the Catedral de Immaculada Concepcion.

May the Lord be with you always, my friends.