Duterte KOs Pacquiao?

DEMAND AND SUPPLY - Boo Chanco - The Philippine Star

Manny Pacquiao, at age 42, is set to fight 31-year-old Earl Spence Jr. on Aug. 21 in Las Vegas. It will be Manny’s 72nd professional fight.

But two months before the Las Vegas fight, Duterte may have knocked him out already… from the presidential race next year. Duterte, as party chairman, insisted on convening the PDP-Laban against the wishes of Manny, who is supposed to be its president.

Manny issued a memo telling PDP-Laban members to ignore Energy Secretary Al Cusi’s call for a national council meeting last Monday, but Harry Roque confirmed Cusi was acting on the instruction of Duterte.

After it was over, Manny is no longer president of PDP-Laban and a strange resolution was passed urging Duterte to run for vice president and choose his running mate for president in 2022.

Manny must be very disappointed over the turn of events. He must have thought Duterte was serious when he called Manny the next president. It now looks like it was another Duterte joke, like the jet ski.

How Manny reacts to the rebuff should be interesting. Will he be, like a dog with its tail between his legs, go quietly in the night? Or will his wounded pride make him go for broke against a formidable power?

I imagine Manny knows it is easier to beat up an opponent in a Las Vegas ring than it is to beat up Duterte in our political ring. Manny’s celebrity status will only get him so far if he goes against Duterte.

But those who look down on Manny’s qualifications should remember that unlike Bongbong Marcos, Manny has a bachelor’s degree in political science. The guy is also a survivor and not a stranger to tough fights.

If he wins his next fight spectacularly, he may get a boost to pursue his political ambitions. If not, it may be a lot tougher.

Manny probably has enough money to fund his campaign. But why would he want to deplete his financial assets at a time when he has probably fought his last professional fight?

He was once asked why he wants to enter politics. He said he wants to be able to continue to serve the people. That sounds like a typical politician’s response, but it is different with Manny.

Manny has been spending his own money building a hospital and low-cost housing in his home province of Sarangani. He knows he won’t be able to do that after he retires from boxing. But he still wants to be able to help… so he became a politician.

And of course, it is such an ego boost to think of how he rose from poverty to president of the republic. It has gotten into his head that he shouldn’t pass up that opportunity.

What are his chances of winning? Manny didn’t do too well in recent polls. I expected more from him, given his name recognition. Maybe that will improve when people know he is really running.

Duterte must have seen those numbers too, and was emboldened to knock Manny out very early in the game before he got traction. The Dutertes are determined to hang on to Malacañang.

But Pinoys love underdogs. Manny can paint the Dutertes as big bullies and pick up sympathy votes. However, Manny must have a really good social media team to, at the very least, neutralize the DDS.

There are those who try to minimize the influence of social media in marketing products, services or candidates. Older folks in the business express doubt online activities affect sales at all.

In the past, political campaigns were, as one pundit puts it, a race to convince. “It is now a race to identify the minorities motivated by their grievances and get their support by echoing their grievances. It doesn’t convince anyone new.”

The pundit continues: “you do not need (in fact it’s impossible to achieve) a majority; what you need is a minority only bigger than the next minority. This is not ‘politics is addition,’ but rather politics is division.

“The failed effort to maintain the 2010 coalition in 2016 showed how it was still fighting with pre-1986 politics in mind; whereas the (eventual winning) candidate embraced the appearance of an insurgency because it would motivate those with grievances it had identified as its minority.”

So true. That’s why Duterte ignores everyone other than his loyal base. That’s also how Trump had been playing it even after he lost the last election. He has a formidable minority, and with it, is able to influence American politics for years to come.

Taking all these into account, Manny has a chance to build up his minority, and so does the opposition candidate if they play things right.

A very smart millennial running a social media campaign can influence an election’s outcome. In crafting messages, the older marketing communications professionals will find it difficult to connect.

I recall a meeting I once attended at ABS-CBN News when some producers we sent abroad to attend conferences made their reports on what they had learned. The most striking learning that I can’t forget is that today’s millennials want their messages short, extremely short as in eight seconds short.

In my marketing communications days, 15 seconds was the shortest commercial we have produced. And that’s not easy to do. What can you do in eight seconds?

Maybe that’s why the DDS trolls are so effective. They have one or two liners. They don’t explain. They just declare. They don’t allow their audience to think… just react in their favor.

Even social media specialists who are good for Facebook and even Twitter must retool. TikTok is it. Very short. Entertaining. To the point messaging.

You want to talk about EJKs, try doing a very emotional TikTok production… all of eight seconds. Don’t even try to explain. Be visual and emotional.

For now, as long as Duterte is able to show he isn’t a lame duck yet, the advantage is his to select his successor.

Duterte may yet be the first vice presidential candidate to name his running mate, the candidate for president. Only in the Philippines!



Boo Chanco’s e-mail address is [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @boochanco

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