Ignore the surveys? 1Sambayan needs its feet back on the ground

In case of emergency, break the glass and press the lever to squeeze out a steady stream of lies to put out the fire of reality.

This must be what the convenors of 1Sambayan have on their cue card as they struggle to remain relevant in the fast approaching (yes, fast because it’s less than 10 months away) national and local elections. The period for filing of certificates of candidacy for the thousands of positions to be contested on May 9, 2022 has been set on October 1 to 9, which is just two months away. In a game of chess, this is “panic time” with 1Sambayan having less than a minute on its clock, with the Duterte administration enjoying a superior position and plenty of time left.

“Ignore the surveys,” said Renato Magtubo, one of 1Sambayan’s leaders declared on Friday, July 23.

What?

Magtubo is trying to comfort politicians 1Sambayan is trying to lure into its camp and fill up the list of candidates for president, vice president and senators. Apparently, the latest survey results published by Pulse Asia has scared off the politicians they have been trying to bring board. With Sara Duterte enjoying a formidable lead despite not showing an interest in running, any political analyst will conclude that it’s an uphill journey for the dilawan-led opposition. That Senator Ping Lacson had jumped the gun on everybody doesn’t help their cause at all.

It is an exercise in self-delusion. 1Sambayan is stuck up with Vice President Leni Robredo and former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV. The body language of Robredo tells me she’s backing out of the race. Only Trillanes remains enthusiastic about being the standard bearer of 1Sambayan. Well, Trillanes is another fool believing his own “Magdalo surveys” that he claims puts him on the trajectory to victory.

Covid 19, Sara Duterte and running an LGU

With Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio almost a runaway winner for next year’s presidential elections at 28% in the latest Pulse Asia Research survey, it isn’t surprising at all that all guns are now being trained on her in a desperate bid to shoot down her possible candidacy.

Since three weeks ago, Mayor Inday has been visiting various parts of the country meeting with local leaders, and it didn’t take long before the purpose of her cross-country trips was to solicit feedback to help her decide on whether to heed the clamor or not.

Until her visit to Cebu City last July 9, Mayor Inday has been coy about the possibility of running for President. Her father, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, has expressed opposition to the idea, saying the Presidency isn’t for women, and he didn’t want to see his daughter suffer the insufferable insults and criticism that comes with the job description.

At the start of the year, when her name was on top of a Pulse Asia survey, Mayor Inday declared she had no intention to run and asked poll survey companies to remove her name from the list of probables shown to respondents.

It isn’t known if this request was heeded by the survey firms. But just the same, these survey outfits allow respondents to list down names of their preferences if he or she does not appear in their list.

Her name simply can’t stay off the lists of probables, and neither did it change in her topmost ranking. She emerged number one in the Pulse Asia survey for the first quarter of 2021 released last April. After a lapse of three months, Mayor Inday’s position stood in that same number one position.

Apparently, the clamor had reached a crescendo, making it difficult for her to ignore it. About three weeks ago, pictures of her visiting the family of San Pedro City vice mayor Art Mercado circulated on Facebook. Her trips were quite low-profile, with indications of where she had gone to visit only coming out in social media posts.

It was in Cebu City when Mayor Inday finally faced the media and admitted that she was “open” to the possibility of running for President and succeed her father.

Understandably, that drove the opposition nuts. When a possible presidential candidate could attract such strong support without even declaring her intention speaks volumes about where it would ultimately bring her — a landslide victory. It would be safe to assume that in the next survey cycle, her lead in the polls will get a tremendous boost, and her numbers could only go up more.

Hence, it’s not surprising to see a barrage of criticism levelled against her for supposedly going away for these consultation trips while her city is confronted by the Covid 19 threat. Without a doubt, her consultation visits are now seen as a real threat to their own political ambitions. Sara’s increased visibility in other parts of the country can only result in attracting wider support, and cause their own plans to evaporate into thin air.

The answer to these criticisms is a no brainer. As local chief executive, Mayor Inday can run the City of Davao as effectively if she were in the foothills of Mt. Pinatubo as she could from City Hall. In case these critics are still ignorant about technology (which is, of course, not true) a chief executive remains in charge of the LGU without having to stay in the city hall physically. With Zoom, virtual face-to-face meetings are now ordinary activities. Constituents can bring their complaints and appeals for help through Facebook, Twitter or even Instagram.

In short, it makes no difference anymore whether Mayor Inday stays in Davao 24/7 physically or not. She can make her presence virtually felt 24/7 through social media. And decisions can be made as quickly on virtual platforms as when she is inside the Mayor’s office.

And, Mayor Inday can delegate the day-to-day management of City Hall to her Vice Mayor. She said she has filed leaves of absences for the periods covering her trips. From the purview of the Local Government Code, she is not doing anything wrong.

If her absence from Davao on these short trips might look detrimental to the welfare of her constituents, the complaints should come from them, and not from politicians who are getting jittery about Mayor Inday growing stronger by the day.

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.