Thursday, March 29, 2007

pure drivel

This was my column yesterday. My workload has been really heavy in the last few weeks (and I have been sick as well) so I haven't been able to update this blog aside from posting my columns here. There are really interesting comments left in some of the posts and I wish I have time to respond to them. I will, soon. I am actually looking forward to the Holy Week as I see this as an opportunity to catch up on my readings and to update this blog.


The next few weeks should be really interesting times as the campaign period for all elective positions, now including those for local government posts, officially begins.

The important question, which has been the subject of what is being passed off as intellectual discourse, but which I consider as nothing else but pure speculative drivel, is: Will political machinery at the grassroots level really make a difference in the results of the senatorial elections?

There are those who contend that political machinery will not make any difference since national posts, and consequently, the candidates vying for these seats, are too far removed from everyday realities of ordinary people. Thus, the selection of senators is subject to voters’ perception of the candidates’ worth rather than the endorsement of local leaders. And on this aspect, the opposition claims to have the upper hand.

There are those who claim that political machinery will only affect the last two slots of the senatorial elections. The proponents of this theory suggest that the percentage of hakot voters is not significant enough to alter the top rankings.

And then there are those who swear by the powers of political machinery. They are the ones who insist that the real battle for the hearts and minds of voters happen at the barangay or precinct level. On this aspect, the administration has the edge. The opposition is barely able to get its act together at the national level. How much more at the local level?

The political parties and the pundits may claim parallelisms with previous election results, cite googols of statistical figures, even trundle opinions of a whole gamut of soothsayers from Madam Auring to Mahar Mangahas. The bottom line remains: No one has categorical answers.

Nobody really knows, because this midterm elections is unlike all other elections in the past. And quite frankly, despite what the so-called experts and the purveyors of surveys claim, who really understands the political psyche of the Filipino voter?

At the beginning of the year, everyone was certain of 12-0 win in the senatorial elections, with the opposition being the hands down winner. But the latest surveys show a different picture. It looks like it is going to be a close fight after all.

And when the candidates for the House of Representatives, for governors, mayors and the various local elective posts join the fray, begin raising hands and distributing sample ballots and political largesse, will there be a significant change in the rankings? This remains to be seen.

We can all make educated guesses. At the end of the day, though, nothing is certain until voters cast their votes and the tallies are made.

Anything can still happen.

Thus, I am aghast that certain people continue to make pronouncements as if they have just come back from the future.

And yet there are candidates who, this early, have already started whining. They are already predicting that they will be cheated in the elections, citing the results of the latest surveys showing a decline in their numbers. They now claim that the public is being conditioned for eventual cheating. Sigh. As they say, nobody loses in elections in this country. It is either one wins, or one is cheated.

***

Senatorial candidate John Osmeña wants us to believe that he has filed this and that bill in the Senate that would have made our lives easier. He does not explain why that has not happened yet or what else he intends to do if he gets reelected as senator since he claims to have already done his fair share of saving this country.

Osmeña makes claim to a brand that he calls “Tatak Osmeña.” I wonder what brand he is talking about. I hope he is not talking about the fact that after fiercely defending former President Joseph Estrada during the impeachment trial, he jumped fences and became an administration ally in exchange for the chairmanship of the powerful Senate finance committee. And now he is back in the Estrada camp again.

***

I must hand it to us Filipinos. We do have this ability to always see the light side of any situation. The run up to the midterm elections is generating muck and dirt and all kinds of unusual behaviors, but many Filipinos still find something to laugh at. Here are some of the funny stuff I have come across recently:

One joke goes this way: Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano is not the only senatorial candidate who may have problems with votes not being counted in his favor because of another candidate with the same name. So if someone were to write “Sonia” in the ballot for whom shall it be counted? Roco or the other senatorial candidate who is believed to answer to that name as well?

I still don’t get Mike Defensor’s “tol” campaign and it seems I am not alone. There is this joke that the reason most people don’t get the whole point of Defensor’s TV ad because it is misleading and inaccurate. According to the joke, “bakit tol e pandak naman siya? (why he is being called “tol” [tall] when he is short?)”

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

sir bong!

thank god i saw your blog from someone's webpage. i'm one of your former students (you're my thesis adviser as well) and reading all your previous posts is like listening again on your lectures in class. i also miss those sensible opinions from you. good thing i found your blog!

i also hate mike defensor's tol campaign and the bad thing is lagi talaga siyang pinapakita on tv! it's annoying na madami ang nagbibigay ng budget sa kanya for those irritating tv campaigns! argh

vic said...

To avoid confusing votes for one candidate to another, the ballot for senator should carry all the candidates name and those with the same surname should be clearly identified by their first name, middle name or even nickname. And the voters just mark the names of their choices. I think everyone can count up to twelve for senators and if necessary to have separate ballots for national candidates and local ones, then why not. I wish the system is fully automated where the ballot is rejected and return to the voter if not properly filled or if the voter choose to have it voided as protest vote then it too should be counted...

Anonymous said...

I doubt if there is any UP alumnus/alumnae who will vote for Osmena considering how he filibustered and successfully kill the bill granting the university more autonomy and be able to raise funds on its own to cover operation. This was the offshoot of one of his 'proteges' was not accepted because he was unable to pass the UPCAT, if we are to believe the rumors. The UP President sthen stood on his ground as would have been expected and the senator was able to get the wotes of the "old bosys club" which is the Seanate as a body.
Hernan