How reliable is the Chair Wrecker’s election crystal ball?
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2007-06-14
Political observers can only gauge how well grounded their predictions were after the foreseen outcome has or has not happened. Let’s review then how your Chair Wrecker fared in the just concluded elections.

In my February 15, 2007 column, I wrote: “Given the imperfections of each member in both camps, you will find at least eight Opposition candidates who are virtually unbeatable. These are (with their corresponding ranking in the Pulse Asia survey): (1) Loren Legarda, (2) Senator Panfilo Lacson, (3) Senator Francis Pangilinan, (4) Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano, (6) Senate President Manuel Villar Jr., (10) Aquilino Pimentel III, (13) House minority leader Francis Escudero and (14) Tarlac Rep. Benigno Aquino III.

I further wrote: “In fact, these two young aspirants (Chiz Escudero and Noynoy Aquino) will most likely move up from their present rankings given more media exposure.”

About Antonio Trillanes IV, I wrote: “Mutineer Antonio Trillanes is not an unknown unlike the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) administration’s Petilla and Kiram. The Oakwood Mutiny has made Trillanes a national figure although it remains to be seen if he had roused enough pizzazz to get voted to the Senate the same way as Gringo Honasan.”

Save for Koko Pimentel, all those I mentioned as winnable have already won. Escudero and Aquino did climb to better rankings, to second and sixth, respectively. Trillanes was the phenomenal winner of the elections.

In my March 13, 2007 column, I deplored the wrong tack of the Genuine Opposition (GO) media campaign and I wrote: “GO should use at least 30% of their media resources on a thematic campaign that highlights the GMA legitimacy issues (Garci, Esperon, Ebdane et al), the repression and suppression (killings, break up of rallies, libel suits et al) and the attempts at imposing virtual martial law (PP1017, EO464, CPR).

All those GO ads that promote the individual candidates mean nothing to people who are looking for a champion against long-standing and long-overdue issues against GMA. Rev up the anti-GMA passion and GO will win by a landslide. Allow the anti-GMA passion to dissipate and GO is doomed.”

GO Campaign Manager Serge Osmena used the thematic campaign. Recently, losing Team Unity (TU) senatorial candidates acknowledged that the GO thematic campaign had severely hurt them. One even specified a particularly effective GO tagline: “Isang boto lang laban sa nakaupo (One vote only against the incumbent).”

From the start of the campaign, I also emphasized that the poor popularity ratings of Madame Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will exact a heavy toll on the prospects of the TU senate candidates. I also downplayed the value of TU’s so-called “command votes” and “vaunted machinery” which I felt will not be able to stem the disastrous tsunami of the anti-Arroyo public sentiment.

TU kept attacking SWS (Social Weather Stations) and Pulse Asia, the two top polling outfits in the country because the surveys of both poll firms kept churning results that showed the Opposition landslide senate victory. I wrote an entire column on April 19, 2007 to defend both the SWS and Pulse Asia, citing their track records.

The election results prove the trustworthiness of SWS and Pulse Asia who accurately tracked the emerging winners.

Trusting the SWS and Pulse Asia surveys, I wrote in my April 17, 2007 column: “Seen from various angles and perspectives, whether in national or local issues, the administration is unable to score a support rating higher than its average of 25%. Despite the Opposition’s poorly organized and poorly financed campaign, their standings are greatly boosted by the strong anti-GMA sentiment — as expressed by the survey showing 41% who say they do not trust her versus the mere 25% who still do.”

I feel indebted to my loyal readers and legitimate critics to submit this report card of sorts. It is always good to reassure them that their time was not wasted reading the Chair Wrecker. On the other hand, this is one good way of further stuffing the inconvenient truth down the throats of those mercenaries who are paid by the regime operators to just keep discrediting messengers of inconvenient truths.

When the late Teddy Benigno and I were in the Cory Administration’s Information Department (I was Director-General of the Philippine Information Agency, January to October 1988), we were told of the existence of a “Letter Writing Brigade” in the Department that was started during the Marcos years. These operators send letters to media editors pushing the pro-administration line and attacking administration critics. Nowadays, I’m told that this group even writes letters praising administration toadies in media!

Teddy and I saw no need for that and didn’t use that option.

But Luz, Teddy’s widow, told me that Teddy used to suspect that the “Letter Writing Brigade” was operating against him, a staunch Arroyo critic, when Teddy was already writing for the STAR.

How does one maintain a reliable election crystal ball? Say what is truthfully in your heart and mind, what your best lights tell you.

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