Significant and insignificant developments
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2010-04-15
This week unloaded significant as well as insignificant developments pertaining to the May 10, 2010 presidential and vice presidential elections.

The week opened with the release last Monday of the SWS (Social Weather Stations) March 28-30 and the Manila Standard Today April 4-6 nationwide polls. Commissioned by Representative Ronnie Zamora, a Manny Villar ally, the Nacionalista Party (NP) presidential candidate registered a 1% increase from the March 19-22 SWS poll where Villar trailed leading Liberal Party rival, Noynoy Aquino, by 9%. Aquino remained steady with 37% while Villar rated 29%, his 1% gain rendered insignificant by the 2.1 % margin of error.

In the Manila Standard Today April 4-6 poll, Villar did not gain and remained with a 26% rating which was also his March poll rating. Aquino dropped by 2% (from 39% in March to now 37%) while Pwersa ng Masa’s Joseph Estrada gained 1% and Lakas Kampi CMD’s Gilbert Teodoro gained 2%. Aquino’s drop could be considered insignificant in that it did not benefit his closest rival, over whom he maintained an 11% double digit lead.

What is more significant perhaps in the two latest polls is that the top three presidential candidates — Aquino, Villar and Estrada — may have reached their respective rating plateaus. Aquino seems to have encountered difficulty in rising above the 40% hurdle. Villar seems to have difficulty rising above the 30% hurdle while Estrada seems unable to hurdle the 20% bar.

Villar’s current campaign tactics show his desperation in trying to bring down Aquino. It is the mark of desperation to challenge your opponent to address a fabricated and faked psychiatric report. The silly attempt of the NP to compel ABS-CBN to release the names of the two NP members who provided the fake report is what is called damage control. The Villar camp knew that this cheap shot will negatively affect them more than it will inconvenience Aquino.

Already, Aquino spokesman, lawyer Edwin Lacierda, connected the fake psychiatric report to Villar’s other fakes — fake poor, fake opposition, fake coalition with the NPC (Nationalist People’s Coalition Party). In last Monday’s episode of Rundown on ANC (co-hosted by Ces Drilon and Ricky Carandang), NP senatorial candidate Adel Tamano and LP senatorial candidate Risa Hontiveros faced off on the fake psychiatric report issue. An esteemed friend, it pained your Chair Wrecker to watch Adel trying to defend an indefensible position.

Last Tuesday, Villar tried to divert the “Mike Villarroyo” issue — that he is the secret candidate of First Gentleman Mike Arroyo — by saying that Aquino is the one with deep links to Madame Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA). Villar said that Aquino didn’t vote to play the then still unverified Garci Tape. Villar conveniently forgot that eventually both Noynoy Aquino and his late mother Cory took a strong stand against GMA when more details of the 2004 election cheating surfaced.

Aquino was then allied with GMA and was willing to give her the benefit of the doubt in the absence of more verification. In the aftermath of the Garci scandal, after Cory had asked GMA to resign, the Aquino family was viciously attacked and vilified, the Hacienda Luisita subjected to harassment while Villar’s companies continued to prosper under the GMA sun.

Now Villar is trying to make political capital out of a security agency where Noynoy Aquino had a minor participation. Aquino had already divested from this firm in 1987 and explained that his involvement was due to security concerns then — the many coup attempts against the Cory government. Aquino almost became a casualty of one of these coups — carrying to this day the fragment of a bullet in his body which occasionally causes him pain and discomfort.

Villar’s camp has been belaboring this issue for sometime but it didn’t fly. Filipinos are not stupid as Villar and his comrades must think they are. When this issue was being promoted by Villar media factors weeks ago, a good friend, also a Kumpadre of Villar, commented: “This works for Noynoy, not against him. This shows that Noynoy was never corrupt. A security agency is hardly the way for a president’s son to make a lot of money. This shows that Noynoy works for his buck.”

To make a pile, all a president’s son has to do is push a big contract. There is no need to invest any amount — just press the right buttons and whisper to the right ears. Kumpareng Manny Villar is in the best position to know how big bucks are made in government. He was not even a president’s son but look at how his wealth increased by leaps and bounds after he became a Congressman.

How come these non-issues seem to gain traction with some media reporters, commentators and columnists? How come these non-issues get major coverage when other presidential candidates are complaining that they are not being given equal time, as prescribed by law?

Ask the media factors — not what — but exactly how much motivated them.

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  Previous Columns:

It had to happen on The Ides of March and Holy Week

Suggested guidelines for liability- free Internet posts

Election lawyer: PCOS critics should put up or shut up

All Excited by Pope Francis

A great disservice to P-Noy

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