• In Quaerere


    In quaerere is Latin phrase for in search. I was in search of the right title for my column that would reflect the kind of writing I would do on a weekly basis. It was not easy. From “look beyond the fluff” to “connecting the dots” to “ring a bell” to “cut to the chase” and what my staff suggested, such as “outlier,”“vantage point” and “soapbox.” I used to write a column under the title Dream Catcher, but that was more like my other hat where I write on positive things. But the dream went pfft and so I decided to stick to Zilch.

    Zilch is my column in www.thelobbyist.biz, which is an online policy and politics magazine of my company PUBLiCUS Asia, Inc. I write policy and politics but I also want to write about communities, good news and then some. I write when I feel like it, but saying yes to
    The Manila Times would require some discipline which I hope to follow as a matter of keeping up with its tradition.

    Zilch simply means “nothing.” It could also refer to a person regarded as being insignificant, a nonentity. When one says business is zilch, he is merely saying it amounts to nothing. But “nothing” in policy can create externalities while “nothing” in politics may refer to a strategy. Zilch can also refer to a game of skill, luck and greed. Now that sounds more like business and politics.

    Zilch for me is just like a zero-sum game; a game in which the-sum-of-the-winnings by all the players is zero. In a zero-sum game, a gain by one player must be matched by a loss by another player. Poker is a zero-sum game if the house does not take a cut as a charge for playing. Is politics, Philippine style a zero sum game?

    As Otto Von Bismarck, the German chancellor in the late 19th century, once called politics “the art of the possible.” Today, politics is an art of rationalizing end results. For some,
    every conflict is a zero-sum game in which elected officials from the other party aren’t just rivals, but practically enemies. Is the Philippines in that political state?

    The blurring of political parties in our country has destroyed that notion. If one wants to win in an electoral contest, one should ensure that s/he is with the party-in-government.

    Then s/he gets proclaimed alphabetically and not by rank since no one is sure what has been canvassed and what remains in the black box.

    There were 52,014,648 voters for the May 2013. What was the turn out is still everybody’s approximation since we are in automated mode. During E-day itself, there were reports of disenfranchisement, breakdown of PCOS machines, and mix-up of ballots from the field.

    We still do not have that data, yet 12 Senators have been proclaimed. Allegations have been flying about probabilities and possibilities. It means nothing until the duty bound institution makes public the record of canvass and we put a closure to what I figuratively call hanging chads, loose ends in the aftermath.

    Voters searched and apparently found their candidates among the 33 men and women who took up the call. Voters predominantly picked young candidates. Among the 12, only Legarda, Villar and Hona­san are outside the youth category. The nine others average 43 years old.

    Simplicity and humility appear to be the other virtues most voters wanted, with Poe, Binay, Angara (who was visually simple), Aquino and Pimentel (no longer mentioning numero uno sa bar and matematiko) viz the moneyed Villar who ended up rank 10.

    The re-electionists were all elected but their rankings sent various signals that would take some time to decipher. Interestingly, the coup plotters were at the tail end. Dynastic candidates were at rank 5 (Binay) and rank 11 (Estrada). It also appears that the Estrada base is intact with the votes of JV.

    There are four women elected (Poe, Legarda, Binay, and Villar), two with military background (Honasan and Trilla­nes), four lawyers (Caye­tano, Escudero, Angara, and Pimen­tel), five with varying business backgrounds (Poe, Binay, Aquino, Villar, and Ejercito), two coming from the HOR (Angara and Estrada) and a broadcaster (Legarda). It would be interesting to see the SALN of the nine, what with the last minute offensive against Legarda.

    Now, we are in search of the truth to the so-called vote shares, which reportedly were consistent (in a linear manner) at 59.50 percent for administration candidates, 30.93 percent for the opposition, and 5.77 percent for independents during the canvassing stages 1-9 of COMELEC. As in other election cycles, our COMELEC has never been open to scrutiny and has in fact rejected criticisms. As a campaign practitioner, all the election data should be made public so that the academe can study and make recommendation.

    Imagine precinct data made public, one can truly study the election and learn from it as well as assist future campaigns in terms of demographics and psycho­graphics of the voters.

    I have been a voter since 1995 and a campaign strategist since 1995, yet to date we still are in search of answers in every election cycle. Can we have a closure, Chairman? Or do we go the way of zilch?

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