While people are making the best out of their holiday vacations, the social media went abuzz last Holy Saturday with the announcement that three presidential candidates will be holding a joint press conference on Easter Sunday. As if it was mechanical, political pundits, analysts, forecasters, fortune tellers and the Maritesses released their takes on the event. Local strategists asked tarpaulin printing shops to halt, and so does a number of local political events. Almost everyone held their breath.
When the joint press conference came and the cameras panned in on Presidential aspirants Isko Moreno, Ping Lacson and Norberto Gonzales, jaws dropped. Are the three dropping their bids to the presidential race?
Isko even announced that the event is also supported by another presidential candidate, Manny Pacquiao who, unfortunately, is not around as if backslapping Isko’s face. So, is Pacquiao also dropping out, too?
After minutes of suspense, Isko shared the purpose of the event and announced that they are not dropping out of the race — yes, each of them — but they will join forces to fight those who would like to distort the true will of the people. And?
Nothing. Nada. Nicths. Rien. Tiada apa. It was a time wasted. Except, of course, for Isko.
During the duration of the event, Isko kept calling on Leni Robredo, the number 2 contender in the race. Latest Pulse Asia surveys, if these are to be believed, showed Robredo stable at the number 2 spot with Bongbong Marcos at consistent at number 1. Bongbong, however, dropped 4 points in its March 2022 survey while Robredo increased 9 points. According to Isko, Leni doesn’t deserve to be a presidential candidate because she cannot beat Bongbong in the surveys.
Note that Isko competed with Manny Pacquiao on the third spot gaining only an average of 8.67% in the Pulse Asia surveys since January. He even dropped 2 notches in March from 10% in February.
The most interesting part is when a TV 5 reporter asked: Why did IsPiN (Isko, Ping and Norberto) hold a press conference in a 5-star hotel when people ravaged by Agathon are still suffering? And, is the act of the three stooges, err, presidential candidates another case of macho politics?
The three, particularly Ping, dropped a bomb: The questions don’t deserve an answer.
These led to another question: What is the purpose of the press conference if press can’t have answers to their questions?
It was a silly event, indeed. But, it shed light to the true colors of the candidates with the undecided ones now drawn more to Leni — the victim of the macho politics exhibited by the IsPiN and their cohorts. Unfortunately, the IsPiN didn’t saw it coming.
Worse, immediately after the event and sensing that the event is already backfiring based on Twitter comments, Ping immediately denied that they were clamoring for Leni to drop off from the race. He said he did not see the call coming and it was not part of the script. If this is true, then Lacson may have been victimized by Isko’s spin, or at least the spin of his local strategists. Prior to the event, Viber groups were buzzing that the event is in support of Isko.
Second, Isko was also pounding on Leni to drop off — Leni who occupies the second spot and not on Bongbong who is at the top spot. This begs the question: Why not pound on Bongbong who has a number of reasons to drop off and even be disqualified? Is Isko showing off his being a nuisance to divide the opposition vote and enable Marcos to win? Or he is still doing a fund raising for funds that can be later converted as part of his taxable assets?
Well, politics is politics. But if one is calling a spade a spade, then there should be no double standards. If the IsPiN and their cohorts are honest and really wanted to show the public that there are a lot of choices, then asking their fellow candidate to drop off from the race is really a bad idea. And Ping was just taken for a ride.