If I were in the shoes of all those cheering on Leni Robredo’s epic battle against Bongbong Marcos for the vice presidency of the Philippines, I’d be a bit more circumspect. Propelling Leni Robredo’s run is the awesome machinery of the Liberal Party which, if one might need remind all, remains in power and enjoys access to a vast trove of public resources. Marcos, on the other hand, is running the race as an independent with no party brand behind him, no election winning machinery, and enjoys no institutionalised kennel of attack dogs.
Yet the best Robredo-the-Goliath could muster against Marcos-the-David is a “statistical tie”.
Really? After all that money spent on private jets, government choppers, and TV ads?
Indeed, despite all the odds stacked up in favour of Robredo Inc, Marcos puts up a good fight. The Vice Presidential race between Marcos and Robredo was like a tug-of-war between a man and a bulldozer — with a tied outcome. In such a contest yielding such an outcome, you’d sell the bulldozer for scrap!
Why does Robredo enjoy the noisiest clique of supporters on social media? Because she is also the easy candidate to support: prayerful, widowed, and “humble” (in the way Filipinos define the term), she is a safe topic for conversation in polite circles sipping lattes at the local Starbucks. Her persona fits hand-in-glove into that holy-mother-of-god space in the Martial-Law-is-Evil narrative that decades of rote indoctrination in polite “Catholic” schools have drilled into an entire generation of “men-for-others” by Padre Damaso.
But, hold on, analysts have pointed out that the reason Bongbong Marcos’s numbers surged to a seemingly powerful million-vote lead in the first several hours of “unofficial counts” following the closure of the voting last Monday was because it was precincts in the Philippines’ relatively tonier and better-educated urban centres that had managed to transmit the results first. Indeed, this is consistent with what the polls have been saying — that young, educated, upwardly-mobile Filipinos constitute the bulk of Marcos’s support base. Robredo, on the other hand, is not strong with The Force, but with the dirty smelly “victims” of Aquinomics’s exclusive “GDP growth” — the hungry rural bottom-dwellers in places like, say, Kidapawan or, Camarines Sur. How ironic.
Perhaps then I might need to re-evaluate the composition of my Facebook timeline. If I were to judge Marcos’s personal brand using my Facebook timeline alone, I’d be convinced by now that he is evil personified — a vile crook that is deserving of the demonisation he’s been copping and, if one meets him at a party, the wine one would pour over his head.
But statistics are usually counter-intuitive. Numbers don’t necessarily support our emotional impulses and comfy private-school-ingrained convictions. People who are pathologically afraid of flying are convinced that flying is dangerous despite hard mathematical evidence just a Google search away proving that, passenger-mile-for-passenger-mile, air travel is the safest means to get from A to B.
It is possible then that there is something pathological about the way certain quarters of Philippine society continue to tremble in fear of the remote possibility that the Philippines will suffer a return to the “dark ages” of “the Martial Law Years”. Some idiots are even suggesting that a course on Martial Law Crybabyism 101 be made mandatory in the nation’s learning institutions!
Note how I use the term “certain quarters” to describe the community of bozos who we can classify as Martial Law Crybabies. The mathematics show that the most educated, well-fed, and well-bred members of Philippine society have managed to shed that tired old relic of 1980’s political emotionalism. TheEureka! moment for me is that Martial Law Crybabyism is no longer the mainstream school of thought it used to be.
Time to face the future like men and stop squirming all over the floor bawling like little girlies.