BBM versus Leni: The rematch

STRAIGHT TO THE POINT - Atty. Ruphil Bañoc - The Freeman

It has become clear that the presidential fight will be between Bongbong Marcos and Leni Robredo. The nation is waiting with bated breath as to who is going to win.

The lines have been drawn. Leni relies on the strength of her volunteers who, towards the end of campaign, are doing their house-to-house campaigning in an attempt to win more votes. A big part of the intellectuals came out in support of her.

Some priests and bishops openly support her. The United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) reportedly supports her. Celebrities keep her rallies alive. Leni has solidified the decades-long anti-Marcos sentiment among a number of Filipinos.

Bongbong, on the other hand, has kept his lead so far, although Leni tries to catch up in this final stretch of the campaign period. It is intellectual dishonesty to say that surveys have no bearing on election results.

Marcos also has the support of major political parties. His camp expects that “command votes”, which, frankly speaking, means the dictate or persuasion of local leaders, will in part have roles.

What is also clear is that the masa (masses) are divided as can be gleaned in their respective rallies. Ordinary people, such as the security guards, jeepney and taxi drivers, salesladies, etc., have been very sensitive in expressing their support to their respective candidates to the point of destroying long-time friendships in defending their respective candidates.

The biggest challenge on the part of both camps is how to win the hearts and minds of these people. They should package their message in a way that all reach the ordinary people.

Undeniably, the recent endorsement of the Iglesia ni Cristo will boost the camp of Marcos. It does not mean a sure victory but it can help. Leni’s camp has been quick to claim that in 2016 and in the same final week prior to the election, Marcos kept the lead and was endorsed by the Iglesia ni Cristo in the vice presidential race, but the result came out different. Let us see if there is a difference in this year’s election, a very unique election.

For the first time, both camps have conducted impressive rallies with drones being used to take aerial shots. It is the first time that volunteers from both camps have maximized the social media in helping their candidates. We can, of course, expect each camp to exaggerate the figures on crowd estimates. Politics is a perception game, after all.

On May 9, 2022, we will know whether the rallies will reflect the votes.

There is no doubt that what we have seen is a highly-charged campaign. Social media is flooded with toxicity, but it has also become one of the battlegrounds in winning hearts and minds.

Friendships are destroyed. Healthy family relationships are put to the test. Why we have come this far --sacrificing our love for members of our family at the altar of our changing political loyalty-- I do not know.

Whether we like it or not, the election will be over. Whoever wins deserves our collective support. No nation can stand divided in the same way that no house can stand divided, the Bible warns.


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