Philippine Opposition “activists” and their dogs (and vice versa) are now frantically chattering about the work-in-progress going into the list of “senatoriables” to be endorsed by the administration of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. Despite this Opposition, led by the Liberal Party (a.k.a. the Yellowtards), sustaining shrill calls to campaign against these candidates, they offer no alternatives.
It has long been noted that the Philippine Opposition are a hopelessly-fragmented and rudderless movement. The only common beat they dance to is a shared hatred for Duterte. Beyond that easy space loudly rings a disturbing vacuousness in their rhetoric.
The hollowness with which the Yellowtards conduct their “opposition” is most evident in their lack of a vision for the Philippines. Instead, what they hawk to the Filipino voter is an obsolete fear of non-existent bogeymen. Indeed, the spectre of “tyranny” and “oppression” remains a bizarre key selling point of the Philippines’ opposition collateral. Rather than add colour in the form of variety and innovation to their campaign, they lazily pitch different shades of fear around this tired old black propaganda — a “return” to dictatorship, an “assault” on “press freedom”, US Imperialism, “human rights” abuse, etcetera, etcetera.
It comes down to vision and how this is communicated across in an election campaign in the form of a platform. Remember that term? How soon Filipinos forget. How narrow-sighted of the Opposition to neglect that important aspect of a truly democratic discourse. People — and most specially the Opposition — need to be constantly reminded that thinking and debate grounded on sound thinking are cornerstones of a modern democracy. When there is an idea one does not like, one needs to come up with a counterargument. When one does not like a candidate or sets of candidates, one needs to propose alternatives.
Just in the simple matter of coming up with a viable leader, the Opposition already fails. The other day, a key Twitter “influencer” of the Opposition expressed how baffled she was over why Yellowtard leader of the hour, “vice president” Leni Robredo attracts so much “hate”. But the Filipino public’s “hate” for Robredo is nothing new. It’s been around since 2016 (or even earlier during the campaign itself). So what is truly baffling is why the Opposition continue to fail to understand why Filipinos “hate” Robredo. It is likely because they have not put enough effort to understanding their “enemy” enough. And this is the reason why their “opposition” to the incumbent has been so dismally ineffective — because they are battling an enemy they don’t understand.
Perhaps this is why the Yellowtards and the Opposition they presume to lead also fail to develop real and compelling alternative propositions and why they fail to unite around common goals. When you don’t understand what you are up against at a profound level, you necessarily fail to find the “enemy’s” strategic weakness around which to develop a roadmap to victory. This is the Opposition we bemusedly observe today. It is a “movement” pathetically shooting blindly into the darkness. Unfortunately for them, the yellow glow that once served as their beacon has been extinquished and, like moths that need a light to blindly circle around, its members now fly off in different directions into the night.