With public servants like Brillantes, who needs public enemies?


MANILA: After Team UNA spokesman Tobias Tiangco asked the Commission on Elections to find out who were paying for all those pre-election surveys because they were not covered under campaign guidelines, the poll body ordered the firms to disclose the names of those who paid for those surveys (Matikas Santos, 23 April 2013, inquirer.net). Good.

Now, Comelec Chair Sixto Brillantes Jr. said, “What is given to us will be kept in confidence; it will not be published.” Bad.

Why would Brillantes not release to the media those names? Either Brillantes was afraid of the candidates, or their financiers, or their advocates—or transparency was not part of Brillantes’ commission, or he didn’t think he owed us millions of voters that much. If you have public servants like Brillantes, who needs public enemies?

Wouldn’t it be interesting to find out that in the survey results where most of those in the Top 12 or Top 22 or whatever were candidates from Team PNoy, it was a supporter of Team PNoy who paid for the survey? The same goes for Team UNA. Sometimes you do get what you pay for.

Never mind. The hullabaloo about disclosure of the names of financiers of pre-election surveys is, to borrow from Shakespeare, MAAN, much ado about nothing.

A friend of mine objects when I say, frankly, that I don’t believe in surveys. Let me put it this way today:

If those pollstergeists were as they claim scientific, how is it that they differ in their results, Pulse Asia from Social Weather Stations? Same population of voters, two scientific sampling and statistical techniques coming out with two different sets of results—and both claiming to be valid and reliable. Duh!

The questioning determines the results. Interviewer asks a respondent, “If the elections were held today, whom will you vote for?” Then interviewer shows a list of names, all the candidates for senator are there. Now, what does this become? Name-recall. To win in an election survey, you have to be already a winner in the public mind!

And Senator Franklin Drilon is in the midst of that MAAN. He who is the Campaign Manager of Team PNoy says, in favor of the pollstergeists, “The survey firms are just messengers of what the people think when the fieldwork is done” (Louis Bacani, 24 April 2013, phil­star.com). “They are simply messengers. Don’t shoot the messenger; look at the message.”

Okay, Senator Drilon, what’s the message? He doesn’t give any, so I will give it to him, and I can do that in exactly 1 word of 8 letters: RANKINGS. That’s all you get from all those surveys, who are at the top, middle and bottom, and who were there before the last survey.

“Grace Poe enters Senate ‘Magic 12’—SWS” (abs-cbn­news.com). She is tied with Antonio Trillanes at 10th-11th places. “Legarda, Escudero, Cayetano top latest Pulse Asia survey” (newsinfo.inquirer.net). Nancy Binay is 4th and JV Ejercito is 5th. “Chiz slips to 3rd in
latest senatorial survey” by SWS (philstar.com). Legarda is 1st and Cayetano is 2nd.

“Legarda, Escudero still lead poll survey” by Pulse Asia (philstar.com). Cayetano is 3rd, followed by Cynthia Villar and Nancy Binay. “Chiz back at No. 2 spot in Pulse Asia survey” (manilatimes.net)

That’s all you get. Rankings are the unhidden message. The hidden message is, of course, that the Top 12 candidates are the ones whom you should vote for because they have shown that they are winners in those repeated surveys. They want you to pay attention to WINNABILITY. You don’t want to waste your vote, do you?

And do you know how much they are paying just to get your attention on winnability? At least P1 million for each survey.

Team UNA was asked by the Social Weather Stations to pay P1.9 million each for its succeeding 5 surveys after the first (Raffy Bosano, 28 March 2013, abs-cbnnews.com).

That’s P 9.5 million. That’s a lot of money for paying for rankings. For an idea, if I earned P250,000 a year, and that’s much, I will need almost 4 years to earn what the SWS wanted UNA to pay for the next 4 surveys. (UNA switched to Pulse Asia.)

In any case, to paraphrase Shakespeare, this is MAAD! much ado about duh!

What we Roman Catholics should be doing following the White Vote Movement is to junk the rankings in terms of popularity and instead contemplate on the candidates’ commitment to confronting the crass commercialization of communities of Catholics by combatting current & contemplated codifications for:

(1) abortion on demand

(2) contraceptives on demand

(3) divorce on demand

(4) euthanasia on demand

(5) same-sex marriage on demand.

Rankings in poll surveys are good for pollstergeists and bad for us, people! Rankings distract us from the good gut issues. Catholics, stop following up on those surveys and start following up on the Catholic White Vote—and advocate for candidates who know the eternal values of family and life!


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