Free fall

OFF TANGENT - Aven Piramide - The Freeman

Let me start by explaining the idiom “free fall”. The internet says that free fall is any sudden rapid, and uncontrollable decline (e.g. in value, reputation, success, etc.) that continues unabated for an indefinite length of time. Today, I will recount political events considered the free fall of certain presidential aspirants. Any lapses in my recollection are mine and I can only charge them to my limitations.

In the months before the 2010 presidential elections, Sen. Manuel Villar led all the other presidential aspirants. Politicians initially gravitated towards Villar because he possessed the kind audacity in political maneuverings wanting in those who claimed to be daring. For instance, as Speaker of the House of Representatives, he avoided lengthy debates on the impeachment of then president Joseph Estrada. Over the noisy protest of Congressman Harlin Abayon and company, Villar quickly bicycled the Article of Impeachment to the Senate. Political leaders also seemed to seek shelter in his umbrage for his war chest. In electoral contests, logistics is important. After all, he was an acknowledged billionaire.

The karma of Estrada’s oyster came to Villar. While rated as the man to beat for the presidency, he was rumored to have channeled huge government funds to a highway that cut across a swath of Villar property. The insinuation was that he used his position for the government to embark on a public works project that benefited his real estate business. It was a serious perception that had corruption written all over it. In politics, perception is almost equal to factual reality, if not truth. Villar couldn’t distance himself from it. The obvious consequence was that his candidacy plunged. It was eventually a free fall evidenced by the fact that those whom he allegedly promised campaign funds could no longer reach his headquarters few days before voting.

The 2016 presidential election wasn’t different from 2010. Vice President Jejomar Binay was known to have campaigned for the presidency from day one in his office. From 2010 to 2014, Binay went around the country, topping all surveys. Then senators Trillanes and Cayetano lowered the boom on him. His Makati administration was allegedly laced with corrupt deals. The incessant attacks on Binay eventually diminished his perceived edge and suddenly his popularity once rated at 80%, went into a free fall such that in the last days of campaigning, he only garnered a low 5%. That is recent history all of us know.

I see that the unprecedented popularity of President Rodrigo Duterte has somehow been adversely affected by several issues, not the least of them being the extra judicial killings, mostly drug related. His admission that his promise to end illegal drug trade in three months after becoming president was a joke turned off many supporters. This worsened when he declared that those 16 million Filipinos who believed in his joke are stupid. A warrant for the arrest of President Duterte expected to be issued by the International Criminal Court will top all issues.

Then, in the past few days, the investigation held by the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee in aid of legislation uncovered corruption of the horrifying magnitude and audacious inventiveness. One issue alone involved P42 billion. All smell goes in the direction of Malacañang. His protection of a Chinese citizen is inexplicable. The supposed high trust rating of President Duterte is getting seriously eroded. The pronouncement of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte that she’s no longer running for president is proof of the damning effect of the DOH multi-billion alleged corruption that stains her father. It isn’t difficult to predict that the popularity of President Rodrigo Duterte is on the way to a free fall of the kind suffered by Villar and Binay. Sooner, most if not all of his supporters will jump from his sinking ship. Kaluoy.


  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with