Surprise, surprise. In the final stretch of campaign season the Liberal Party has concocted the greatest spin to save itself: there are only two candidates now, we are told, and it’s Duterte VS Roxas.
They couldn’t be more wrong. The Duterte-Poe-Binay race is a tight one if you’re looking at the bigger picture of mainstream surveys combined with barangay and city level door-to-door surveys, and even those questionable newly-created D’Strafford surveys with Roxas in the lead.
All surveys to me are questionable, so other than taking them with a grain of salt, I take them collectively and look at the bigger picture they paint, that bigger sampling of nation that these offer, and where nation seems to stand based on that. That is, surveys as indication not so much of election outcomes, but of what they fail to capture.
And then imagine the machinery and groundwork of one Jojo Binay, and of bloc-voting as promised by Makabayan to one Grace Poe, and you’ll find that this is still a pretty close race to the presidency.
Regardless of what the LP and Roxas say.
What they say at this point is all spin.
First it tried to convince us that a #silentmajority actually exists for Roxas – an ironic assertion when one considers that those who support Roxas have been far from silent, given the LP machinery, not to mention the advantage of access to government’s resources as well as captive media coverage.
Though they are actually silent about the LP’s use of public funds for this campaign, where government programs like the 4Ps and Bottom-Up-Budgeting for barangays are seen as being employed to gain supporters, if not inadvertently then legitimately (?) to “buy” votes.
They are also quite silent about stories like the one on the UP Medicine Student Council being invited to participate in a medical mission only to find that it was an LP event – and when they refused to participate because of the political color, the medical students were judged for walking out (April 24, UPMSC FB page). Or what about that Sayaw Kabataan concert in Araneta Coliseum, which many scholars posted about on social media (May 1, check out @ChiliMedley on Twitter) as a “required” event that turned out to be an LP-rally of sorts? For their attendance, they were purportedly given P150 pesos.
Now is this silent majority truly a majority? Well, if they are, why this fear of Duterte at all?
The Good VS Evil spin
And then it became clear that #thesilentmajority was really only setting the stage for the next level of spin: the good versus evil one.
After one or two questionable survey results, we heard it said: this is a fight between Duterte and Roxas and no one else, as if there weren’t five people running for President, as if it was enough to frame it as a fight between (one) Good and (one) Evil.
But so many got carried away. This period in the spin machinery had Roxas followers going on the offensive, doing pretty much what Duterte followers were doing vs. the anti-Duterte, taking on and pointing self-righteous fingers at Roxas critics, no matter how valid the criticism.
It’s a horrible and unproductive way to view critics and criticism. Even more so during an election where no candidate is as clean as a whistle, and even Roxas himself carries the burden of his social class, his Liberal Party’s mistakes, and his own mishandling of many-a-national-crisis.
It was also something else watching the educated classes going on the offensive. One realizes that while Duterte followers might threaten and hurt and offend us because of the crassness, the Roxas followers offend us, too, by presuming that if we are not for Roxas, then we are for Duterte. Which is of course not true.
There’s nothing worse than believing your own spin, don’t you think?
The united front
As I write this, today, May 6, three days before the elections, Roxas, PNoy, and the LP do a final spin.
After Poe dismisses the idea of stepping down in favor of Roxas, PNoy comes out to speak to all the other candidates: let’s form a united front against Duterte, he said, let us come together against him.
This is the same President who has gone on stage in various provinces in this country the past eight months, putting down these same candidates that he now calls on to unite with him. This is the same President who has actively spoken against both Binay and Poe again and again throughout the campaign.
This is the same President, of the same Liberal Party, that has been dismissive not just of political rivals but also of critics, calling them a noisy minority – the same critics who are now taking a stand, saying no to the Liberal Party, and will pick instead one of the four other candidates for President.
We are being told now by this same Liberal Party that we must all unite against Duterte, because we must stand for democracy and freedom.
But it seems important to remind the LP that democracy and freedom mean being given the right to choose who to vote for without fear of being dismissed for thinking beyond spin, without fear of an election where votes will not be counted correctly by a government institution like the Comelec that has yet to make us all feel secure about this election.
There are five candidates for President in this election. Vote for whom you must. Demand that PNoy and Comelec ensure our safety, and ensure honest and credible outcomes. And then let’s guard the vote. It’s going to be a tight race.