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May 30, 2010



In contrast to Erap's, Villar's support base is but an artificial one. He did not really carry the masa on, he just mesmerized them with his fantastic rags-to-riches claim. The earlier bleak prospect of Erap's candidacy helped in some way I think. Because some of the masa thought they had better stake it on someone more winnable.

So, when Villar's story was challenged, and when Erap embarked on ads that reminded the masa of what he has supposedly done for them, the masa went back to their traditional idol. And when Erap tied Villar, the masa went back to Erap again because they saw he has a chance after all. The surge of Erap was unstoppable. I even thought Erap could pull an upset against Noynoy.

One thing for certain, Erap remains to be a major political figure. Of all second-timer candidates, he's the only one who got the same amount of votes he got the first time he ran (In their second runs, Miriam, Roco and Bro. Eddie all got miserably lower votes that what they got the first time they ran). He has proven he still has his loyal support base. Remains to be seen how he'll play with his support base in the coming years.


This should teach advertising wonks that (Philippine) politics is vastly more complicated than peddling soap and soda. I remember Campaigns and Grey helping out with Raul Roco's campaign and not seeming to come up with anything effective despite Roco's outstanding record. Surveys and focus-grouping are important but that's assuming campaigners understand the political landscape very throughly to cover all aspects of the race.

The politician-as-product approach is extremely limited within the Philippine electoral context. 1) You can only do so much to make/remake a persona. Villar's poor-boy-done-well gambit was so easily unpicked by research into his past and by the public's good sense. Pinoys can smell a 'fake' from a mile away (see Loren's case for further confirmation). 2) Like J says above, Villar had no authentic base to rely on. He had paid 'operators' but no genuine movements/grassroots organisations backing him up. Political organising is quite important in consolidating and protecting one's votes. 3) And it's not just the masa that a candidate needs, but the endorsement of political clans and other kingmakers. So Cory magic may have faded a bit but Aquino-Cojuangco forces are still quite formidable. Plus add the Zobels and the Ayalas, and the local warlords.

In sum, Philippine elections are still not quite the 'free market' advertisers assume it to be. You can sway some voters by advertising but there are other crucial factors that determine the outcome.


P.S. Villar seems to also have gotten the worst possible endorser: Willie Revillame. The guy hosts a very popular noontime show but is not hired to advertise products apparently because he rates very poorly as a commercial endorser. Wonder why.


Very interesting view.

Can you delve further into the bigger picture of how events larger than any campaign missteps by Senator Villar and Loren Legarda influenced the electorate's voice.

In a culture of politics, where both globally and locally, big scandals have been exposed that are accepted by and large, as truly corrupt, why do you refer to the C-5 issue as "shady"?

President Elect NoyNoy's momentum garnered from the venerable Late President Cory's death, not only had multiple waves, but it was the catalyst that changed the whole dynamic of the election and the alignments taken...true or not?

Former President Estrada was banned from running yet it was carefully orchestrated for him to be able to run again, to water down the vote from certain demographics or what other purpose?

Please educate me on the number of poor that vote that are in category E compared to those that who are "poor" and either don't or are not registered to vote. This will speak to authenticity when it comes to where your message is targeted i.e. if the numbers don't back up the impact of the "poor" vote, then why would a campaign advisor recommend that tact UNless it was genuine and resonating within the candidate? Thanks.

Before the November 1st deadline, President Arroyo filed her candidacy for a lower posting. While political and indeed personal survival after office is necessarily a wise consideration, there have been enough examples of public servants and leaders who have suffered the consequences of doing the "right" thing diba? Kim Dae Jung for example? Benigno Aquino for example?

Personally, I feel that Gloria's legacy will continue to be written and I think this will add chapters to a positive impact for the Filipino people.

Perhaps it takes courage to do the "wrong" thing to accomplish all that needs to be done? Time will tell :)

This action no doubt undermined any hope of Gilberto Teodoro being elected since one cannot genuinely co-promote/endorse two candidates concurrently at the requisite level and Gibo was in dire need of a sea change, not only to overcome the negative perception of the value of the President's endorsement but in other areas as well.

What impact did the death of Mr. Manalo Sr.'s death and his son's endorsement and the subsequent block voting have on the election? Who would his father have endorsed? Erap again? Villar? NoyNoy?

While the masses clearly voted in large numbers for NoyNoy, given that the 2nd & 3rd candidates combine for an almost equal number of votes, I'd like to know your opinion on where those votes would have been cast had Erap not been given the RIGHT to run again.

In my humble opinion, NoyNoy represents an opportunity for nation-wide healing and that is of notable significance.

I wish him the best of success.


Sili T.

Although you raise some good points, I feel I have no better understanding of Pinoy elections and the electorial mind-set. Spin and image do make a huge difference, though I don't understand how or in what way. Yet still, candidates that avoid issues and promote slogans and images do all the better for it. And how is it determined which scandals are worthy of public reaction (as opposed to the typical 'groan, complain and forget)? It doesn't seem those of Mr. Villar are impacting his standing within Senate.

Another interesting case, which I would appreciate Torn's take on, is that of Mar and Binay. Perhaps that case reveals even more about Pinoy elections and voter mindset, or at least other sides of it.
Sili T.

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What impact did the death of Mr. Manalo Sr.'s death and his son's endorsement and the subsequent block voting have on the election? Who would his father have endorsed? Erap again? Villar? NoyNoy?

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In the end, class E voters preferred Erap’s jokey bonhomie to Villar’s depiction of them as sewer rats.

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