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Opinion

Two weeks notice

SEARCH FOR TRUTH - Ernesto P. Maceda Jr. - The Philippine Star

A little over 15 days remain in the campaign for the 2022 National Elections. As we charge down the homestretch, candidates are pulling out all stops for their big finish. The camps of Senator Ping Lacson, Mayor Isko Moreno and former Secretary Norberto Gonzales already lit a fire with that Easter pleasantry. Senator Manny Pacquiao has his champ face on as he presses to complete his first lap across the country. Vice President Leni Robredo is relentless with her volunteer drive for even more mammoth rallies, like today’s birthday salubong at Macapagal Avenue and next Sunday’s Cavite Part II. The pacesetter, former senator Bongbong Marcos, with even more colossal gatherings, is barnstorming the few remaining outposts of resistance with focus on consolidating Calabarzon.

If from Cebu, Negros Occidental, Iloilo and Davao del Sur in the Visayas and Mindanao; Pangasinan, Bulacan, Pampanga and Nueva Ecija to the North; Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon, South of Metro Manila, you’re bound to hear of these gentlemen and/or lady in your neighborhood in the next two weeks. These are the most populous provinces. Our presidentiables and the other national candidates won’t miss out on the scale advantages of focusing hail marys and last hurrahs there.

In both traditional and social media, these will be the days of highest visibility. Expect ad-spends on overdrive in the hope of corralling the remaining undecideds or soft votes, even as the top two candidates’ voter bases rely heavily on their committed supporters. Leader BBM has a high hard core following. These are voters who will not change their minds.

Self-sacrifice your neighbor. The ugly instances the past 75 days of running mates and ticket mates going solo flight were not one offs. The closer we get to D-Day, the more surely we see presidentiables and their slates going guerilla, entertaining last-minute deals, horse trades and junking. Whoever said that all politics is local could have also referred to the reality underneath the polyanna: when push comes to shove, it’s every man for himself. You want an argument for single ticket voting? This is it.

Senator Ping Lacson, fiercely loyal to his running mate Senate President Tito Sotto, had his own soundbite from that fated press conference that captures the flavor of the moment: “‘Yung pumunta siya sa Davao del Norte alone, leaving her vice-presidential candidate... that to me speaks a lot about her character, ... Ka-tandem niya, ilalaglag ninyo para manalo lang ’yung principal.”

The last mile of every Philippine election will always prove the adage that personality politics reigns over considerations of party solidarity and partnerships.

60. It’s not just “the bailiff’s announcement” for the senior citizen card. 60 is the magic number that figures prominently in our day-to-day existence. Among others, it’s the number of seconds in a minute and minutes in an hour. It’s from the sexagesimal base-60 numeral system of ancient Sumeria more than three thousand years ago.

60 also has several meanings in current reality. 60 percent was President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s net satisfaction rating at end of 2021. 60 percent was also the latest threshold benchmark we passed in vaccinations. The collapse of our vaccination program has been worrisome. Our pace in December 2021 put us at a projected 70 percent herd coverage by end of January 2022. It has since slowed down abruptly. At current speed, we will hit 70 percent as late as August. The booster uptake is equally feeble at less than 14 percent covered. With the projected surge in May – be it from new variants, waning of vaccine protection or the relaxing of protocol compliance from the mistaken sense of security – we are best served if we heed the call to get vaxxed or boosted.

60 percent was also the Bongbong Marcos projected voter preference according to Pulse Asia in February, down to 56 percent in their latest March release. Other survey organizations continue to have him in the 55-61 percent vicinity, including a purportedly leaked SWS report. The other bets will concede that BBM has already won by a landslide – has won the surveys, that is. While methodologies differ in statistics and math, however, the survey results coincide in a fairly uniform and consistent outcome, give or take the 3 percent margin of error.

Men of parts. Lost in the tumult was the recent joinder of entertainment giants in one of life’s most agreeable instances of imitating art.

There are many uplifting scenes from that truly wondrous gem of a satire, drama, romantic comedy, the 1999 Academy Award winner Shakespeare in Love. The finest for me was when Richard Burbage reacted to the closure of rival theater, the Rose. In life, Burbage was the lead actor of his time for whom Shakespeare wrote many of his protagonist roles. Burbage: “The Master of the Revels despises us all for vagrants and peddlers of bombast. But my father, James Burbage, had the first license to make a company of players from Her Majesty, and he drew from poets the literature of the age. We must show them that we are men of parts. Will Shakespeare has a play. I have a theatre. The Curtain is yours.”

We saw this same honor and collegiality among competitors replicated when GMA-7 offered its facility to broadcast the content of shuttered industry legend, ABS-CBN 2. This, coming off their cutthroat ratings/network wars that paralleled the theater wars of Shakespeare’s time.

In this campaign period forever branded by negativity, the GMA 7 humbling gesture will stand as a tribute to civility and fellowship. Don’t look now but isn’t this the network version of a UniTeam?

P3PWD. When Rowena Guanzon supports a cause, expect nothing less than her trademark full throated, maximum strength advocacy. Violence against women, local governance, legal education, effective audit and oversight of public accounts, honest elections are among the several she espoused famously. In the party-list elections, she speaks out for the disabled and the recognition that, as a sector, they are grossly underserved. Her choice in May is #54, P3PWD (Pamilya, Pasyente, Persons with Disabilities).

MANNY PACQUIAO

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