Learning from the VP’s electoral campaign

One thing that this administration has continued to fail to understand (or maybe has been ignorant of because of our officials’ collective privileged upbringing) is that being in public office is not about themselves but more about stakeholder satisfaction—that is achieving the level of comfort and trust of their constituents, the Filipino people. This is one thing that they can learn from the Vice President, whose ties with the masa remain solid and intact despite the year-long circus in the Senate sub-committee handled by Senators Koko Pimentel, Antonio Trillanes and Alan Peter Cayetano.

When the VP ran for the second-highest office in the land during the 2010 elections, many traditional politicians belittled him and scoffed at his chances of winning. This was expected, because at the start of the campaign period, Aquino and Roxas topped the Social Weather Stations’ December 2009 survey with 40 percent of respondents’ approval. Senator Legarda was a distant second with 32 percent, and the VP even trailed further behind—a sorry laggard with only 10 percent. However, from being a far third at the start of the campaign, then-Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay surprised everyone (the elite political clans, that is) and made history by being the first local official to be catapulted straight to a top national position without “passing” through the Senate and House of Representatives. To the dismay of these oligarchs and traditional politicians, the exit polls showed that support for the VP’s candidacy actually cut across party lines and that even the majority of supporters of other presidential candidates voted for Binay.

Perhaps because of this phenomenon, noted political strategist and former Roxas confidant Malou Tiquia commented that the VP changed the style of campaigning, one that involved heavy face-to-face interaction. While the perfumed crowd may scoff at this, one cannot really argue against its effectiveness especially when it resulted in the win of then-Mayor Binay, (the consistent survey third-placer in all pre-2010 election surveys) against even the heavily favored and funded Mar Roxas during the 2010 elections.

Perhaps knowing that their anointed one does not have the masa appeal nor even the patience to match this face-to-face interaction with the commoners, the yellow horde has embarked on this more-than-a-year-long kangaroo court at the Senate, principally aimed to demolish the strong support of the VP for the 2016 presidential elections.

What baffles this writer is that even after producing several witnesses (all of dubious integrity), this kangaroo court still fails to file the proper charges in the courts of law. Is this perhaps because they know that these charges and the allegations brought forth by their witnesses will not prosper in the courts of law? Is it because they know that once they do file formal cases against the VP in court, then they will be barred from their vilification efforts through the bar of public opinion? Moreover, the hearings on the allegations against the VP are being conducted only by a sub-committee, not the mother committee of the Blue Ribbon. If the hearings of one Janet Napoles required the Senate Blue Ribbon, why is it that in this instance, one which involves the second highest official of the land, remained in the sub-committee that is being lorded upon by senators who are known critics of the VP and hell bent on demolishing his credibility?

We will never get straight answers to these questions. What is clear, however, is that public opinion is now against this kangaroo court. Perhaps it is now time that we let the 2016 elections be the true measure of the people’s will and not the opinions of jaundiced crusaders.

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