By Rigoberto Tiglao | The Manila Times
SEVENTEEN days from today, we will be witnessing a seismic political earthquake, a historical watershed. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., son of the most vilified political figure of our postwar history, will — as in legends of exiled princes of deposed, murdered fathers — take back, as it were, the throne, in this case, of ballots.
There is no doubt at this point that Marcos will be winning the presidency, getting at the very least 50 percent of votes, which means 16 million more votes than Leni Robredo's, if she gets 20 percent.
The Social Weather Stations, headed for decades by an anti-Marcos figure, show Bongbong Marcos' (BBM) presidential-preference rating rising from 47 percent in October 2021 to last month's 58 percent.
The turn of events the past six months, and data made available from surveys, indicate that Bongbong would win by at least 60 percent, and getting even 70 percent very doable.
This is the first time ever in our history for a president to have an indisputable, overwhelming mandate, which means the goal of a strong unified nation is achievable in our generation. "UniTeam" would be such a perfect name for this movement.
For starters, Laylo Research Associates, which I think has the more rigorous survey methodology, and a larger number of respondents of 3,000 than other polling firms, in its poll March 15 to 22, showed BBM's preference rating at 61 percent, down though from 64 percent in January 2022.
The Commission on Elections the other day demolished what had really been the Robredo camp's big wish for which they have prayed a thousand Hail Mary's: that BBM be disqualified. The Comelec decision would provide a kick to BBM's ratings, as a number of those supporting Robredo and Isko Moreno do so because they thought the US and the powerful Yellow oligarchs could still manage to bend the Comelec's will.
First, what isn't well known, but disclosed in Laylo's surveys, is that BBM has the largest "hardcore" voters — i.e, those who will not change their minds voting for him — of 55 percent in the March 2022 survey. Those for Robredo is much smaller, at 15 percent, while the other candidates have only tiny hardcore supporters at single digits, i.e., for Isko Moreno, only 8 percent of his current voters. My computation using Laylo's data shows that as much as 53 percent of those who said they will be voting for Robredo in the poll can still change their mind on election day; 75 percent for Moreno and 64 percent for Manny Pacquiao.
This means that if only half of these "soft voters" will change their minds in voting for their reported preference, and instead vote for BBM, he will have at least an additional 5 percent of voters to add to his 61 percent rating in March, so he will get 66 percent of voters on May 9. There are other factors that will convince soft voters in Robredo's and the other candidates' camp, than the half we assumed in these calculations.
Second, what polls do not capture are the command votes, as they by nature take the sample of a population presumed to be homogeneous. But there are pockets of the population who trust their leaders' choice and vote for whoever he says. Prominent among these is the Iglesia ni Cristo which could command 2 million votes. Apolo Quiboloy's Kingdom of God and Mike Velarde's El Shaddai, both of whom reportedly support BBM, can command between them 1 million votes (equivalent to 1.3 percent of votes). The heads of the three religious organizations will be asking their flock to vote for BBM.
Third, BBM has withstood the most ruthless of black propaganda in the past several months. In politics, black propaganda usually boomerangs on the hurler of the lies, and voters would look at the such candidates, and rhetorically ask: "What kind of perverse person are you to be hurling lies against your rival in a democratic exercise. I will not vote for you."
Most of this dirt came from Robredo's camp, although Isko Moreno made the most stupid, easily debunked lie, gullibly believing retired Justice Antonio Carpio's canard on unpaid estate taxes. Carpio's claim, however, had been swiftly totally debunked and since this month has kept his mouth shut on the issue.
Fourth, the "bandwagon effect" has been proven to operate in the Philippines. Candidate Rodrigo Duterte got only a 27 percent percent rating in the SWS poll March 30 to 27, 2016. In the following weeks, his rallies (genuine though unlike that of Robredo's) as well as the defection of powerful political clans to him showed a surge in support, and Duterte's actual votes was 39 percent of the total, not uniquely due to the bandwagon effect that gave him a huge additional 12 percentage points of those voting. Let's just assume Marcos will just get half of that, or 6 percentage points in the bandwagon effect.
And finally, any political observer closely observing developments cannot deny that Robredo's team has run out of steam. The Robredo camp, run by amateurs like Bam Aquino and Barry Gutierrez, stupidly spent all of their war chest on fake rallies which hauled in paid participants from Left bases and from Bicol.
The participants carried huge pink balloons and wore huge pink hats.
Not only that, big pink paper flowers were put on poles — so shots from a drone or from condominiums' high floors would make it appear that there is a surge of support for Robredo. Ironically, the Robredo camp is trying to replicate what happened with Duterte in March and April 2016.
Why, the other three candidates, obviously desperate, last Easter Sunday demanded, as Moreno put it, that Robredo make the "supreme sacrifice" — and withdraw so that they could have a chance at the prize. While certainly an absurd demand, it does point to the hopelessness of Robredo's campaign.
No one left
On election day, there will be hardly anyone campaigning for Robredo as voters enter the voting precincts. Voters don't like that, and would feel that they have been abandoned. Also I think a huge percentage of the so-called Robredo supporters won't bother to vote, either because these uppity-class people aren't voters at all (like Maria Ressa and Sheila Coronel), or they'll decide it's not worth the queuing up on a hot day to vote in a smelly precinct.
How can we quantify this phenomenon in terms of votes? In Jojo Binay's case in the 2016 elections, his rating fell from Pulse Asia's April 26 to 29 percent rating of 17 percent to the actual result of 13 percent, a 4 percent decline.