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One News : ‘Marcos-Sara Ratings Reveal Rivals’ Poor Strategy’

News & Interviews
5 January 2022

By Michael Punongbayan | One News

A political analysts said other candidates have not been challenging the way presidential aspirant and former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and his running mate, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio are presenting themselves to the public.

Former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and his running mate, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, have been dominating recent presidential and vice presidential surveys because their opponents, according to an independent international research group, are not really using the right or more effective strategies to win the hearts of Filipino voters.

Stratbase-ADRi president Victor Andres Manhit, in an interview with “The Chiefs” on One News on Monday night, Jan. 3, said other aspirants led by Vice President Leni Robredo have failed to focus on challenging the narratives of the leading candidates who now have a huge following even on social media.

“Always remember that surveys are shaped by what they hear or read on the news,” he explained, noting that there is still a chance that some voters who have chosen the tandem of Marcos and Duterte-Carpio may change their minds, depending on what the narrative would be in the next months leading to the May 2022 elections.

“At this time, you could say that it’s early (for Marcos to already claim victory) but with that kind of number, if they sustain it by February or early March, that would really be a momentum already for the Marcos candidacy,” he said.

For now, Manhit said the Marcos narrative that he is the sympathetic leader, the most qualified, that the downfall of the economy started after martial law and that his tandem with Duterte-Caprio is the perfect unity team or “uniteam,” is gaining traction and support from the voting public.

Though this can still change once the campaign period actually begins and such narratives are challenged and tested, he said other presidential candidates should consider changing strategies.

“I think the mistake was there seems to be so much focus on President Duterte. (They) forget that the focus should be on their number one opponent who’s been doing well in three surveys already,” he stressed.

Manhit said nobody is really challenging how Marcos is presenting himself and his running mate to the people. He noted that after the President’ s former special assistant Sen. Bong Go withdrew from the presidential race, support for the Dutertes apparently shifted to Marcos after Duterte-Carpio chose to be his running mate.

This is despite the fact that Marcos and Duterte-Carpio presented themselves as different from the administration team.

Manhit also said the issues being raised to have Marcos disqualified from the presidential race were not being felt.

Manhit likewise noted that no one is talking about the specific weaknesses of the Duterte administration, which would be matters concerning economic issues and the West Philippine Sea.

“Have you heard of any of these candidates raising those issues? No one. And I find it weird that they’re not attacking fellow candidates,” he shared, mentioning further how some are even trying to compete with the disaster response capabilities of the national government.

Manhit said he gives credit to how the Marcos narrative is working as against the raw assumption of his opponents that projecting themselves or using the narrative “I’m not corrupt” would be enough to win votes.

“Your assumption at campaign may be different from voters. What if the voters do not see it that way?” he said, adding that getting former first lady Imelda Marcos is out of the picture is also a strategy while nobody among the other candidates is even discussing how previous governments won cases against the Marcoses.

Asked about how some voters supposedly get angrier if anyone attacks the President and his administration, which is why other candidates are not doing it and are even trying to get his endorsement, like how Manila Mayor Isko Moreno is attempting to do it, Manhit said such thinking means Marcos has already won.

“If we follow that argument, election is over. It’s as simple as that. Let’s get ready and ask Bongbong Marcos who will be part of his Cabinet,” he said.

Manhit said the point is nobody is challenging Marcos’ narratives and those narratives are now being shared by eight million followers daily on social media.

At the moment, he said he sees two scenarios – one is that Marcos maintains his lead and “will be our president” and two, if his narrative is attacked and is successfully weakened and if there would be an alignment of forces, any of the other presidential candidates may still have a chance.

Presidential run continues

Partido Reporma standard bearer Sen. Panfilo Lacson will continue to pursue his bid for the presidency in the May 2022 elections, and rivals should stop picking on him to withdraw his candidacy just because he is lagging the surveys, a party official said on Tuesday, Jan. 4.

Partido Reporma treasurer Arnel Ty said party members do not believe Lacson should withdraw his candidacy for president, despite being behind in most surveys conducted ahead of the official campaign season for the 2022 national elections.

“We likewise disagree with the views of some who say our chairman should quit, now that he is lagging in election surveys, and give way to another candidate in a bid to unite the so-called opposition,” Ty said in a statement.

“These persons conveniently forget that their chosen leader abandoned the party the candidate had belonged to – which, mind you, had supported that candidate for years on end – to run as an independent and form a coalition based on a color different from their old party,” he said.

The official did not name names but apparently was referring to Robredo.

Ty said the candidate initially presented Lacson with a plan to “unify” the opposition but would then not allow the senator to fulfill the commitments he had already made to his supporters and followers, having been the first to declare his candidacy for president this election season – “showing that this was merely a ploy to gain more power for the candidate’s own ends.”

“This candidate would then paint a very different picture of how their talks broke down, on the pretense that the candidate did not want to see votes ‘wasted’ for the ‘opposition’,” Ty said.

He said such moves were against the principles Lacson has stood for throughout his 50-year career in public service “with proven, measurable results as a soldier, police officer, government executive and senator.”

“Instead of sending innuendoes through the media, whether traditional or social, to our chairman (Lacson), we challenge the candidates for the local and national elections to stand on their principles and earn the vote of the Filipino people on May 9, 2022,” Ty said.

Meanwhile, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Second Division has dismissed the petition to cancel the certificate of candidacy (COC) of Marcos in the May 2022 national and local elections. “‘Yung kay Tiburcio Marcos has already been denied,” Comelec spokesman James Jimenez told reporters at a virtual press conference on Tuesday, as he emphasized that the poll body will come out with a more comprehensive update on other petitions against Marcos.

Marcos’ lawyer and spokesman Vic Rodriguez was not available for comment. Tiburcio filed a petition to cancel Marcos’ COC on Nov. 3, saying that the presidential aspirant was ineligible to run for president in this year’s elections as he is “impersonating the deceased person,” as he claimed that the real Marcos has been dead since 1975. Prior to this, the Comelec Second Division had junked the petition filed by Danilo Lihaylihay to declare Marcos as a nuisance candidate, and denied all interventions filed against the former senator along with the interventions filed by his camp.

With the denial of the two petitions, Marcos is now facing five other petitions such as the petition to cancel his COC filed by the group of Fr. Christian Buenafe and the petition to disqualify him filed by the Pudno Nga Ilokano – both now being heard by the Second Division. Marcos is also facing disqualification petitions filed by Bonifacio Ilagan and Akbayan Citizens’ Action Party, and the petition to disqualify him and declare his COC null and void filed by Abubakar Mangelen, which are being heard before the Comelec’s First Division. Jimenez said a preliminary conference will be held on Jan. 7 on the petition filed by Akbayan. – With Paolo Romero, Robertzon Ramirez