THE CHEAP seats. The nosebleed section. These are just some of the terms used for the bleachers.
I love the bleachers, no matter what some people say. Whether basketball, football, tennis or whatever sport; a concert, Icecapades or circus; just about any spectacle held in an arena, the bleachers have always given me the best and fullest view. I like the fact that I can appreciate the panorama, the perspective where I can see the main action relative to the entire goings on not only on the stage or arena, but even with the audience.
During election season I usually find myself up close and personal with certain candidates or parties, part of the job. But in this particular 2016 presidential and vice presidential hullabaloo I am in the bleachers and I like it. From where I sit, I see much more than those by the opposing teams’ benches.
And here’s what I see thus far: Team Grace Poe-Chiz Escudero is the least stressed of all the teams. The recent news that major political party Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) is officially backing this tandem has the operators of the other teams scampering for damage control. First, they floated that not all NPC members agree with team Grace-Chiz. But that was quickly extinguished by party senior Senator Tito Sotto who said event if it were a 50%+1 count it’s still a majority thus the party will abide by it.
Then the opposing operators counter jabbed with a Manila Times expose that Grace’s disqualification cases in the Supreme Court will be decided against her, complete with “unimpeachable sources,” ponente, and vote counts between 10-5 and 9-6. Well, nobody has been able to substantiate that. In fact, word out now is that the decision will come after Holy Week. And as legal luminaries like Tony La Viña point out, the process will still be stretched by a motion for reconsideration (MR) which could last till after the elections. Well, we all know that the Times has had its loyalties with Jojo Binay from the very beginning (Uh, not Team Binay-Gringo Honasan? Hey, Binay’s for Binay. Whoever the VP turns out, he don’t care.)
Finally, (but definitely this isn’t the last, obviously) is the Daily Tribune’s “sources said” expose which revealed that Grace had used used two Social Security Numbers (SSN) in the US, even stolen from a dead person. That, of course, was another dud because the SSN number they claimed to have was actually just her student ID number way back when she studied in the US, Boston College, to be exact. Niñez Cacho Olivarez strikes again! (Why am I not surprised?)
As Dick Dastardly used to say: Drat, foiled again! (You can imagine this Muttley snickering on the side.)
In fact, from the bleachers we see that the action being played out by Team Grace-Chiz has been plotted out from the start, thus the lack of stress and just cool play. First of all the reality of disqualification has been there from day one. And Poe’s legal team has most likely played out every possible scenario and legal remedy there is, documenting it in an extensive playbook.
Secondly, the political side has kept the campaign purely on a direct, people oriented campaign. Now this is where watching the audience watching the game can be seen from the bleachers. It has been a complaint that Team Grace-Chiz has kept away from wheeling and dealing with political leaders and factions. Not that they don’t want to, but they’re nursing their resources while the DQ sword hangs overhead. Doing the political rounds too early would be a costly exercise. What Grace-Chiz is doing is securing their top spot purely on “people power” (no, not the yellow revolution, but have critical mass with direct voters) that when the time comes they can unleash resources on the local and national politicians – which is very soon given that they’ve secured the NPC go signal.
This political move – going after the command votes generated by local leaders, warlords and organized vote holders nationwide – was what won Binay his VP post in 2010 and is what holds together his strong showing in the surveys.
It is also what Bongbong Marcos is gathering together for his VP campaign (uh, what about Miriam?), and in fact – as we see from the bleachers – those negative rants from PNOY, Binay and others about Bongbong’s martial Law connection and continued hidden wealth connection are actually feeding his drawing power and mystique. Politicians see lots of money flowing from his campaign while young voters imagine a time of peace, prosperity and discipline their ordinary folk parents reminisce about during Martial Law. True or not, the image is a sharp contrast to the current woes with security, traffic and shabby mass transport.
Of course, Team Mar Roxas-Leni Robredo isn’t far behind in this score. With the power of the incumbent in resources – government and contributed – their campaign is full of promise. Promise, that is, for more conditional cash transfer funds, pork barrel by any other name, barangay funds… everything Daang Matuwid and more.
Thus, while all the other teams are “campaigning as if their lives depended on it,” (words used by Ferdinand Marcos during his campaign during the Snap Elections of 1985-86), Team Grace-Chiz seems to be playing it cool and calculated.
Oh, I forgot about team Rody Duterte-Alan Peter Cayetano. Looks like from the bleachers I haven’t seen them leave the dugout.