Tiktokers for #MamaLeni

All of a sudden, social media was awashed with tiktok videos extolling the virtues of Leni Robredo!

It was as if these young content creators who have gained wide viewership with short clips that are funny found the holy grail for their genre.

By its nature, Tiktok videos are incongruent with politics. It’s like mixing oil and water.

But in their desperation, the PR handlers of Robredo offered these kids — yes literally kids as in minors — oodles of money to create Tiktok videos about her and boost her poor image with less than 10 months before the elections.

Well, this PR effort fell on its face almost as soon as it began.

With the deluge of Leni Tiktok videos, it became apparent that this was a giant attempt to keep the vice president’s hopes for a Malacanang bid in the 2022 elections alive.

There wasn’t even a smooth transition to disguise the marketing campaign. What they could have done was begin with just one, then two, then three Tiktok creators to make it appear like it was an idea that caught fire. That it was organized, with plenty of money, wasn’t hard to unravel.

Worse, one young Tiktoker came out on Facebook to squeal on the offer made to him to join the “bandwagon” — a P15,000 fee to put Robredo into his content. “My politics is not for sale,” he said.

It’s funny how the dilawans accuse pro-Duterte supporters as state-funded trolls, and then be exposed as putting into motion a glaring troll farm, recruiting many minors in the process and corrupting their minds with instant cash. Hasn’t it occured to them that this is detestable? More odd is the fact that mainstream media has kept quiet about a program to corrupt young minds for dilawan politics!

1Sambayan is a sunken derelict

Senator Ping Lacson is out of the game, as far as 1Sambayan convenor Antonio Carpio announced. That’s because Lacson “excluded” himself from the nomination process. Besides, Lacson has announced he is running. That makes the point of being considered by 1Sambayan moot and academic, the retired Supreme Court justice added.

It was funny reading this on the news because 1Sambayan has ceased to be relevant long ago. Carpio is trying to make 1Sambayan look as if it could still lure more politicians to join its nomination process when it has been stuck up with just two names: Robredo and Trillanes.

Apparently, presidential probables regard 1Sambayan as a sunken derelict, rusting, and its structure more like an artificial reef in the waters of Manila Bay. With Lacson announcing his candidacy, the entire playbook of 1Sambayan is ruined. It was anchored on the premise that the opposition — the term to describe any candidate that would challenge the administration — should have only one candidate. That’s to avoid slicing the pie thinner and thinner against a formidable opponent.

Nokia, the Liberal Party and why Leni Robredo is destined to lose

Not too long ago, Nokia was the giant in the telecommunications industry. Almost everyone owned a Nokia, although there were other brands in the market (Alcatel, Sony Ericsson and Motorola among others). Before that, Motorola was the king in the market. But where are these brands now? Almost gone to oblivion.

The market is now dominated by Apple, Samsung and Huawei. With rapid advances in technology, these companies introduce upgraded models to give consumers more choices and better capabilites. The first smart phones were packed by more computing power than the massive main-frame computers packed into buildings for the Apollo missions that ultimately took man to the moon. In a span of one decade, that power tripled and quadrupled and more.

Twenty-five years ago, nobody could have foreseen that the Nokia 3300 hand-held phone was a dinosaur of a gadget for a brand that almost vanished entirely from the face of the earth. Nokia is still around, but its efforts to regain its foothold in the market have accomplished so little. The Finnish company became so comfortable in its position as market leader it ignored warning signals that the telecommunications industry was about to experience tectonic shifts.

In politics, the fate of Nokia is the same thing that has befallen to the Liberal Party, the once great political party that produced Presidents, Senators and Congressmen over 75 years ago. It reached its peak when the late Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III was propelled to the highest post of the land in the 2010 elections, with much help from the emotional outpouring of Filipinos upon the death of his mother, the late Corazon C. Aquino.

As the party in power in 2010, the Liberal Party had everything a political power could possibly desire. The yellow ribbon became a national icon which became popular as windshield and bumper stickers. Dilawan was a label worn with pride. It looked like the victory of Aquino was the start of a long era of rule for the LP, with Mar Roxas getting ready to succeed his political and personal friend by 2016.

But the arrogance of power corrupted the Liberal Party. It became consumed by desire to perpetuate itself in power. How else to better accomplish that than corrupting the democratic institutions to remove any and all obstacles to feed that hunger. Thus was born the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), a thinly disguised scheme to destroy the enemies of the Liberal Party and reward its allies with pieces of silver, so to speak. Stealing from the public treasury was given legitimacy, albeit for a short period of time only.

As this was happening, Mr. Aquino’s weaknesses as a leader unravelled one after another. It started with the Luneta hostage incident that resulted in the death of eight tourists as well as the disgrunted policeman who had hijacked their chartered bus. Poor judgment and inability to put the right people for a tough job began to emerge as the trademark of the Aquino administration. The problems started to pile up: the MRT and LRT frequently broke down because of mismanagement and corruption, the illegal drugs situation worsened, Yolanda relief and rehabilitation was bungled, the infamous Mamasapano massacre that took the lives of 44 SAF troopers, and Dengvaxia, just to name a few.

Against this backdrop of corruption and incompetence, the nation saw an ambitious Mar Roxas showing insensitivity to what was happening and just keep his eyes on the Presidency in 2016.

Essentially, like Nokia, the Liberal Party forgot to look at the rapidly changing environment and adapt to the people’s needs and wants. The people were disillusioned, and yet, LP ignored the writing on the wall. LP believed nothing could stop its goal of becoming the party in power for decades to come because of the overflowing campaign warchest it had amassed from Janet Lim Napoles and the DAP. It believed its own propaganda that yellow symbolized clean and honest government, when the exact opposite was being exposed.

Illegal drugs and criminality made the Philippines a dangerous place in the minds and hearts of most Filipinos. The people saw through the propaganda and understood drug lords were becoming the power elite that funded politicians like Leila de Lima. If the Aquino government didn’t want to take action, then the people took matters into their own hands. Their weapon: the ballot.

Somehow, that lesson didn’t sink into the minds of the Liberal Party. Its leaders still held on to the notion that the color yellow was an effective marketing tool for their brand of governance. In 2019, the party managed to field only eight candidates. Towards the end of the campaign, Roxas detached himself from the LP line-up and declared he was an independent candidate. He realized, too late, that the “dilawan” label was a ticket to defeat. Roxas suffered the worst fate a politician can experience — losing as Vice President, President and Senator.

Roxas predicted correctly that the Otso Deretso was headed for disaster; he failed to bail out before their plane plummeted to the sea of political doom.

The Liberal Party became the Nokia of politics. Once dominant, now a symbol for dinosaur politics. Not even the death of their leader, Noynoy Aquino, breathed new life into the party as what many of them had hoped.

The handlers of Vice President Leni Robredo refused to heed the lessons of the last two elections. Political scientist Dr. Julio Teehankee had warning the other month that the “dilawans” needed to change their narrative in order to regain bouyancy in the turbulent seas of politics. Teehankee pointedly told the dilawans their usual “Duterte is bad” messaging wasn’t working. The dilawans needed to demonstrate what they could do differently and persuade Filipinos voters to give them a second chance. His advice fell on deaf ears.

With less than 10 months to go before election day, the challenge confronting the Liberal Party and their allies is like raising Lazarus from the dead. The poll surveys have been consistent: Robredo struggled to keep her head above water in rough seas. Her last poll showed a slight slip from 8 to 6 percent. It was funny how her spokesman, Atty. Barry Gutierrez could even describe that as “respectable”.

Robredo should get out of the game while there is time. To run and lose is to validate what most Filipinos have long believed — she had won the vice presidency through cheating.

Robredo is living in fool’s paradise

With the consistency in Vice President Leni Robredo getting low ratings in poll survey after poll survey for a straight five years now, it becomes comedy to hear her spokesman exclaim that she is still fine with it and describe it as “respectable”.

There’s less than 10 months to go before election day, and the latest Pulse Asia Research survey for presidential probables had put Robredo at a distant sixth placce — her usual place, actually — with only 6% share in voter preference.

One doesn’t need to be a political scientist to know that from any angle, that rating is poor for an incumbent Vice President, and shows that any ambition to run for the highest elective position in the Republic is foolish. Only a feeble mind will give it the slightest shade of hopeful, much less feasible.

But Atty. Barry Gutierrez claims his boss is unfazed. “Decent” and “respectable” were the words he used to describe her survey standing. “VP Leni’s numbers are respectable considering that she has been focused on working on COVID-19 response initiatives and has paid no attention to the frantic positioning for 2022 at all,” he said.

Gutierrez added that the other probables have been busy promoting themselves while Robredo was just too focused on helping fight the Covid 19 pandemic. If Robredo does decide to run, Gutierrez expressed optimism her numbers will pick up and make her a strong contender in the presidential race.

Well, Robredo is living in fool’s paradise.

The writing on the wall, so to speak, has been there for quite a long time. And for Gutierrez to say that Robredo had avoided “posturing” to promote herself is outright hilarious. Everybody knows how Robredo had used every possible opportunity at “hard selling” and present herself as the better alternative to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

Robredo and her PR handlers still can’t understand all their publicity stunts were a waste of effort. The more they tried to sell Robredo, the more the Filipino voters became convinced she’s the last person they should consider to become President.

In case Gutierrez had been sleeping all along, the front-runner, Davao City mayor Inday Sara Duterte, hadn’t even once showed interest in running until only last week. Manila Mayor Isko Moreno had actively run an aggressive social media campaign, but I think it’s more to project his performance as Local Chief Executive as a preparation for the 2028 presidential elections. Former Senator Bongbong Marcos has stayed in the shadows during the last five years. Pacquiao, for his part, basked in his popularity without having to exert any effort.

If there is anybody who had been “posturing” as a presidential timber, it was no other than Robredo.

Hence, the consistency in Robredo getting poor ratings make it very clear Robredo has no chance of winning. It would be good for her mental health to accept reality and move on to other political plans.

1Sambayan: the newest circus in town

That the Independence Day event of 1Sambayan to launch the names of its nominees for President and Vice President was a political disaster cannot be disputed. It was so bad for a fiasco that even Rappler, the yellow-colored online news organization, couldn’t help but chastise its convenors for looking like a bunch of amateurs. Rappler was among those that had drummed up interest and attention for the June 12 event that was supposed to signal the “liberation” of our nation from a Duterte-brand governance.

Shooting itself in the foot

While Rappler heaped praise on convenors retired Justice Antonio Carpio, former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales and former DFA Secretary Albert del Rosario, the yellow propaganda organ grudgingly acknowledged that the event was a flop. It wrote that “1Sambayan shot itself in the foot when it nominated people who would end up denying they would run for president or vice president. Pardon us, but not even campus student council parties do that.”

For me the virtual launch on Facebook wasn’t over yet and I already made that conclusion. I described it as “a boat that capsized just moments after it left port.” I also did a vlog saying that even in campus politics, this brand of political organizing won’t tick. It was a hilarious spectacle.

Bobi Tiglao, my favorite columnist, wrote in The Manila Times: “THAT club of megalomaniacs called 1Sambayan was the town’s laughingstock last week. They used our country’s sacred Independence Day to pontificate on the kind of president and vice president they would like, based on their fictional world.” Political scientist Ramon Casiple was aghast. In a TV interview, Casiple remarked: “Bakit kayo nagtukoy ng mga pangalan?.… Kung may lumitaw na kandidato, suportahan ninyo, ang nangyari, inunahan ‘nyo.

Was there even an effort to make preliminary conversations with the potential nominees? Did 1Sambayan arrogantly presume that it was so powerful and influential that those who are nominated would feel honored and flattered to be considered? Nobody else could be blamed that it was a fiasco at the opening bell. These convenors should be so ashamed they should no longer appear or talk in public. Any chance it entertained about putting up a good fight in the 2022 elections evaporated into thin air.

Basically, the problem with the 1Sambayan is they assume too much that Filipinos are “frustrated” with the Duterte government. That idea is not founded on facts. Haven’t any of them thought of checking the poll surveys over the last five years? Their style of political battle is a classic illustration of Don Quixote trying to bring down a windmill. The first item on the agenda for them is plant their feet on the ground firmly. For as long as they delude themselves, this perception of the opposition being a bunch of fumbling novices in politics will only be etched in stone.

Back to square one

This is the problem with media hype being overdone. The public expectation was raised so high that when the floor fell, the entire 1Sambayan crashed with a thunderous thud. There can be no worse PR catastrophe than seeing four of the six nominees backing out just as soon as their names were announced. And despite all the bravado about finding fresh leaders to carry the opposition’s standard in the next elections, 1Sambayan was left with only Leni Robredo and Antonio Trillanes.

I am 99.9 percent certain that faced with this situation, Robredo will reach a decision soon: SHE WILL NOT RUN.

Only a fool will think that given the circumstances, he or she will have the slightest chance of winning. It’s not just because the Duterte administration enjoys the advantage of being the incumbent; Filipinos are simply sick and tired of the opposition.

Well, Trillanes will only be too glad to accept the nomination. It’s his for the taking. Nobody will begrudge him for it.

Mag-ingat! Uma-atake ang dilaw na veerus!

As millions of Filipinos live in fear because of the corona virus (Covid 19) pandemic now sweeping through the archipelago, it is lamentable to see the yellow army stepping up their propaganda campaign to erode the people’s confidene in our government.

Wala silang pahinga sa pagpakalat ng kasinungalingan at distorted na impormasyon sa social media sa kanilang plano na pahina-in ang pamahalaan ni President Duterte kahit na araw-araw, lumalala ang sitwasyon sa ating bansa.

They want to sow fear and confusion. They want to destabilize the government.

Alam nilang abala si Pangulong Duterte at ang kanyang Cabinet, kaya sinasamantala nila ang sitwasyon upang atakehin na parang anay ang kalooban ng ating bansa. Inu-udyok nila ang taong bayan na magalit kay Pangulong Duterte.

May masamang balak sila. Gusto nila i-oust si Pangulong Duterte at papalitan ni Leni Robredo.

Panoorin niyo po ang YouTube video na ito upang ma-unawaan.

Robredo should now resign

The Supreme Court en banc is expected to vote overwhelmingly today, Oct. 8, to junk the draft report of Justice Benjamin Caguioa recommending the dismissal of the election protest filed by former Senator Bongbong Marcos against Vice President Leni Robredo.

This victory is just the first step for Marcos. It means the Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, is convinced that rampant fraud attended the elections for the VP position in the May 16, 2016 election. It is a signal for phase two to conduct manual recount in other provinces to proceed.

Atty. Romulo Macalintal is right when he said that win or lose, Robredo would still be sitting as VP. But this decision erodes the credibility of Robredo’s victory. The PET has found evidence of fraud as claimed by Marcos. Her victory becomes empty. It is a paper victory. She stole the vice presidency from the people.

Under the circumstances, Robredo should resign. She lost all moral right to stay on as vice president. Each time she appears in public as VP, she will look repugnant to the Filipino people. This is particularly so because the latest SWS survey shows her satisfaction ratings to have dropped to 50% only. The Filipino people continue to reject her.

A BBM victory in the offing?

With four days left before the Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), convenes to deliberate and vote on the results of the manual recount, speculations have been flying thick, and a veteran journalist even saying it’s going to be an 8-6 vote in favor of Bongbong Marcos.

That a vote has already been taken ahead of the Oct. 8 schedule is not unusual. Justices usually signify their votes so that it can be established what the majority’s position is, and a ponente assigned to write the decision. The Oct. 8 session is more of a formality, perhaps with clarificatory questions, before the final vote is made.

Citing sources, Philippine Star columnist Federico Pascual, Jr. said the outcome is 8 justices voting to rule that fraud was uncovered in the manual recount and allow Marcos to continue with the revision of ballots in other provinces he identifies. Six voted in the negative, which basically means that there is significant fraud that could change the outcome of the elections.

It must be emphasized that this doesn’t mean that Marcos will be declared the winner, and Leni Robredo to step down. It will simply affirm what Marcos had claimed: that there was massive cheating in these pilot provinces. If the recount show lower number of votes for Robredo, and a higher number for BBM, then that would be reflected in the results.

Victory for BBM will have to wait at least one more year, that is assuming the pace of the second part of the manual revision will proceed much faster. Still, it will be a big blow on Robredo, for it will prove she had won by cheating. Her hold to her position, already shaky as it is, will grow weaker and weaker.

One more week: SC defers vote on Bongbong protest to Oct. 8

It seems the Supreme Court is being extra careful about deciding on the electoral protest of former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos against the victory of Leni Robredo as Vice President.

Just this afternoon, veteran journalist Edu Punay tweeted that the High Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal,, had reset its deliberation and voting on the report of Justice Benjamin Caguioa on the results for the pilot provinces to Oct. 8.

This one week delay in the voting only adds to the growing suspense on the outcome of the protest.

Marcos has insisted that he lost to Robredo due to massive cheating that took place not only in the three pilot provinces, but in many other provinces of the country.

The official count showed that Robredo won by a margin of 263,473 votes, which is considered a hairline victory in the race for the second highest post of the land.

Suspense: Nation awaits verdict on Leni-Bongbong case

Like most Filipinos, I am eagerly awaiting the Supreme Court’s announcement on the manual recount conducted by the Presidential Electoral Tribunal for ballots cast in the provinces of Iloilo, Negros Oriental and Camarines Sur in the May 2016 elections for Vice President.

It’s been three years since former Senator Bongbong Marcos filed a protest on the results of the elections and challenged the victory of Leni Robredo in the VP race. Based on the results, Robredo narrowly defeated Marcos by 263,473 votes. It was a hairline victory at best, and Marcos’s protest has drawn widespread belief that he is the rightful VP.

On Sept. 10, 2019, the Supreme Court spokesman, Atty. Brian Keith Hosaka, told media that the PET chaired by Justice Benjamin Caguioa, had submitted the results of its revision for the three pilot provinces. He declined to give a clue on the contents of the report.

The announcement triggered a flood of speculations in social media. Was there really fraud in these three provinces? If we look back to the revision activities during last year, there were instances when tell-tale signs of ballot boxes being compromised were discovered. The ballot boxes have security features to ensure that the contents are not manipulated or destroyed. The condition of many boxes put the integrity of the ballots in question.

We can imagine our Supreme Court Justices going over the PET report with a fine-toothed comb. As Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin said, the High Court has to go carefully on this matter because of the paramount public interest involved. But we also hope that the agonizing wait will not last too long. Filipinos want to know the truth.

Marcos needs only to prove one thing with this first phase of the protest: that indeed, cheating had taken place in the three pilot provinces. Nobody can tell as yet on just how much cheating did take place, if any. But a finding to that effect would be fatal to Robredo even if the recount’s results fail to change the result to favor Marcos.