“BBM does not have the May elections in the bag.”
One does not have to have a doctorate in either logic or psychology to understand why presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., more commonly known as Bongbong Marcos (BBM), has been declining invitations to participate in the public debates organized by the Commission on Elections and various media institutions. Conflict with his campaign schedule is the stock reply given by BBM to the organizers of the debates.
Clearly, Mr. Marcos, the self-proclaimed Golden Age Boy, has embraced the “no talk, no mistake” campaign strategy widely attributed to the late, non-corrupt President Ramon Magsaysay. In keeping with that strategy, the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos’ son believes that he should avoid rocking the proverbial boat now that polling organization Pulse Asia – renamed False Asia by its critics – has declared that if the May 2022 elections were held today, BBM would garner 55 percent of the votes cast for president.
“Having won already, should I run any risks?” apparently is the question that BBM asked himself and answered negatively.
With the result of the Pulse Asia poll survey as basis, can Mr. Marcos wisely believe that he has already won and therefore can afford to be disdainful of the invitations to debate the other presidential candidates publicly?
Definitely not. Numerically, there is an enormous disconnect. The latest estimate of this country’s population is 112 million, while the normal Pulse Asia survey sample is made up of 1,400 individuals. Unless Pulse Asia can validly claim that it does an excellent, 100-percent representative job of composing its survey samples – a doubtful claim at best – how can 1,400 Filipinos decide the outcome of an election in which approximately 62 million voters will cast ballots? The choices of 770 (55 percent of 1,400) individuals will decide the election for the 62 million Filipinos on May 9 who will cast the ballots? A yes answer would be startling, to say the least.
The numerical implausibility is, of course, not the only factor to be considered in deciding whether Pulse Asia’s 55-percent-for BBM finding is believable. There are several others.
The foremost of these is the quality of Mr. Marcos. Assuming that the Supreme Court allows him to continue his candidacy, the Golden Age Boy carries a lot of baggage and is highly controversial even in the eyes of – even anathema – to many sectors of Philippine society. Truth be told, Pulse Asia’s 55-percent finding for BBM is a source of wonder for the many eligible voters, even independent-minded ones.
In contrast, the other presidential candidates are going into the election untainted by charges of corruption, lying, non-performance and trouble with the law.
Non-Ilocano Filipinos – roughly those born after 1960 – who have personal memories of the martial law period know that the 14 years of martial law were not a golden age. They will almost certainly not vote for BBM. Their votes will be distributed among the other presidential candidates.
Each of the other candidates has his or her regional bailiwicks, which will go for their favorite son or daughter. Mr. Marcos only has the Solid North – apparently not so solid this time around, according to one of his competitors. And the Southern Mindanao vote will not go entirely to BBM’s running mate, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, because Sarangani’s Sen. Manny Pacquiao is a presidential candidate.
For eligible voters looking for relative youthfulness and physical attractiveness, there is Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso. It is probably from BBM that the mayor will take the most votes.
Finally there is the youth vote, which Comelec has estimated to comprise 50 percent of this year’s electorate. Will today’s educated youth really vote for someone who belongs to a family associated with corruption and abuse of power and is facing disqualification because of conviction for tax evasion? Almost certainly not.
Despite Pulse Asia’s earnest claim of accuracy, BBM does not have the 2022 election in the bag. The nation’s 62 million eligible voters, not Pulse Asia’s 1,400 respondents,will decide on May 9 who the next president of the Philippines will be.