Nalzaro: ‘Poor image’ versus high-level campaign

·5 min read

THE road to Malacañang is long, expensive and exhausting. Becoming a presidential candidate is only the beginning of the election process. In persuading voters, candidates will use different campaign strategies like speeches, advertising in the mainstream media, jingles, colors, even negative campaign and now, social media. Some candidates employ “keyboard warriors” to man and boost their social media department especially now that mass gathering is prohibited because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Social media like Facebook, Twitter and others will play a vital role in this campaign.

Because there are presidential aspirants who came from poor families during their younger days, struggled in order to survive and became successful in their field of endeavor, they would capitalize on their “miserable lives” during the campaign period. But will this “poor image” of candidates sell to the voters? Not anymore, said political analyst Froilan Calilung, who teaches political science at the University of Santo Tomas. Calilung said the “poor image” strategy has been adopted by almost all candidates who ran for the highest position in the past elections, but the voters are already aware that this is just the public projection.

Presidential aspirants Sen. Manny Pacquiao and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, who come from poor families and struggled to survive and became successful, may adopt this kind of strategy in order to entice voters. But will this poor image and projection solve the country’s numerous problems once they are elected? I don’t think so. We now have intelligent voters who will not be swayed and influenced by the public image of the politicians. Not even good English and communication skills of the candidates would help. These voters prefer candidates who have the vision in solving the country’s problems.

Presidential aspirant Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson is advocating for a high-level and issue-oriented campaign so the public will be able to better understand the gravity of the issues that need to be addressed by the country’s next leaders. I fully agree with Ping. With an issue-based campaign, the voters will be able to make an informed decision as to who are the best, most qualified and capable candidates to lead the government.

Lacson, a retired Philippine National Police chief, who had many exploits in crime-busting during his days in the police force and has been a senator for several terms, said, “We cannot solve graft and corruption by courting the votes of the public through image projection.” Lacson was one of only two senators (the other one was the late Joker Arroyo), who did not receive their pork barrel.

There should be presidential debates, forums and discussions so that all candidates can express their views and opinions on issues confronting the nation. With that the voters can assess who among them can offer solutions to the country’s lingering problems. Voters should not be deceived by candidates who capitalize on their poor lives or background or show to the public that they eat with bare hands to project that they were poor because this will not solve the problems the country is facing. This is already an old script, so to speak.

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It is said that in politics, “there are no permanent enemies and no permanent friends, only permanent interests.” Talisay City Vice Mayor Allan Bucao really lives up to this saying. He filed his certificate of candidacy for mayor of Talisay City on the last day of filing. He will be pitted against Rhea Gullas, wife of Mayor Samsam Gullas, who decided to run for the first district congressional seat replacing his lolo (grandfather), Rep. Eduardo Gullas (Eddiegul), who will be retiring from politics. Samsam is already a sure winner as he is running unopposed.

When asked by reporters why he decided to run against a Gullas when in all his political career which spans more than 30 years he was under the political wing of the Gullases especially Eddiegul, Bucao said Eddiegul reneged on his promise to him. He did not elaborate. But from what I gathered, Eddiegul promised Bucao that he will be the “anointed one” to run for mayor. This “promise” was made by Gullas in the 2019 elections. But when Gullas decided to run for Congress before his retirement, he anointed Samsam, who was then the district’s congressman, to run as mayor. Bucao expected that he would be the anointed one this time, but the Gullases chose Rhea, a newcomer in politics.

But sources said Gullas anointed Rhea because it was the unanimous decision of all their Alayon Party supporters, especially the barangay captains. During consultations, the barangay captains frankly and boldly told Gullas that they will not support Bucao if he will be the anointed one. It was not explained well why the majority of the Alayon Party supporters opposed the anointment of Bucao. Maybe they did not like his brand of politics or character. To avoid a breakup, Gullas decided to anoint Rhea for the continuity of Samsam’s vision and mission in Talisay City. And because of his personal and vested interests, Bucao decided to form his own slate and run for mayor. Aw, let’s see the scattered. (Makitang katag).

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At this early stage and even if the official campaign period has yet to start, gubernatorial aspirant and former tourism secretary Ace Durano is already firing a barrage of issues against incumbent Gov. Gwen Garcia. One of these issues is the sad plight of our provincial hospitals. Ace said Gwen failed to equip and update the various provincial hospitals. Again, like the earlier issue he raised against Gwen on the latter’s failure in handling the pandemic, may I advise Ace not to pursue this issue? Why? Because it will boomerang on his running mate, Vice Gov. Hilario “Junjun” Davide III, who was a second-termer governor prior to Gwen’s re-assumption at the Capitol.

In fact, Gwen did not comment on the issue, saying “it’s not worth reacting to because it came from a person who did not contribute even a kilo of rice or a can of sardines to the province’s constituents during this pandemic.”

Gwen’s possible answer to Ace, even if she will admit the issue, is simple. “Okay, I failed to address the sad plight of our provincial hospitals, but what did your running mate do to address that problem when he served as governor for two terms?” Aw, pite gihapon si Junjun.

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