"Roxas now doesn’t want to have anything to do with yellow."
I couldn’t believe what I was reading: Mar Roxas’ campaign manager, Rep. Edgar Erice of Caloocan, saying that the biggest mistake Mar did in the 2016 presidential campaign where he lost to then Davao City Mayor and now President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, was “to wear yellow.”
Never again, Erice was quoted as saying, would we commit the same mistake of wearing yellow, which is why their campaign color now is blue.
There’s a thinning segment of the population that swears by the colors of Cory and PNoy. Is Egay Erice ditching the support of these voters as well?
And by publicly eschewing yellow, and swearing to their “true” color of blue, is Egay Erice hoping that the Duterte supporters will embrace Mar?
Perish the thought.
Now comes a reaction from Kris Aquino, the former president’s outspoken sister, “queen of all media” and sought-after product endorser: “But really, to blame his loss on my brother? So, pati ba pagkatalo niya nung 2010 kasalanan din ni Noy?
That pained cri de coeur from Kris brings back memories of the 2010 campaign where Noynoy became the standard bearer of the Liberal Party after the outpouring of grief over former President Cory Aquino’s death in 2009.
Before that, Senator Mar Roxas was to be the LP standard-bearer in a multi-party contest for the presidency among the NP’s Manny Villar, the Lakas’ Gibo Teodoro, the NPC’s Chiz Escudero, and PMP’s Joseph Estrada.
After Cory’s death and the emotional outpouring turned political tsunami it generated, Chiz gave way and folded tent. His partymate and expected vice presidential teammate, Loren Legarda eventually agreed to be Manny Villar’s VP. Gibo eventually got actor Edu Manzano.
Mar, sometime in October 2009 and after much heartbreak, eventually settled for Noynoy’s running mate. And Erap got Makati Mayor Jojo Binay to team up with him.
The early surveys in the last quarter of 2009 showed an impressive lead for the Noy-Mar tandem. Half of the nation’s voters would go for the LP tandem. Villar was getting only some 23 percent, Erap even less, and Gibo the least. Eventually Dick Gordon would wade in, with Lakas’ Bayani Fernando teaming up with him.
But Villar’s creative advertising bombarded the air in that last quarter and even January of 2010, just before the start of the campaign in February.
Meanwhile, the Liberals got complacent, came out with insipid ads bereft of any clear message, and acted like the war was won.
In the surveys of end-January that came out the first week of February, Manny Villar’s high-stakes gambit paid off, and the Liberals were in panic. From sure winner, Noynoy was threatened, in fact statistically even-steven with Villar. 36 points for Noy and 34 points for Manny.
From Feb.12 to mid-April of 2010, we had to work feverishly with Senator Serge Osmeña and volunteer brigades led by Maria Montelibano to stem the tide of a Villar marketing juggernaut. Holy Week of 2010, we had stemmed that tide.
But something happened when we were all focused on Noynoy.
Jojo Binay, given up for “dead” in his first excursion into national politics, silently crept into the national consciousness. Mar was in trouble.
Three weeks before E-Day, the Mar Roxas who insisted on wearing “blue” all the time the flying colors of the Noynoy crusade was “yellow,” began coming out with tandem ads alongside the now renewed, reenergized presidential candidate. And started wearing the presidential candidate’s color.
Meanwhile his camp came out with exposes on Binay, including what I consider below the belt—the other woman. As if the market of voters cared. Predictably, Binay gained from such an ill-conceived and ill-motivated attempt to reverse the tide.
From insisting on blue to accepting yellow. And all throughout 2011 until 2016, keeping faith with yellow.
Now that he is trying to resurrect himself on the national stage, his handlers curse “yellow.”
What good could it possibly do to Mar and his chances come May 13?
In truth, Mar Roxas was a damn good senator, having authored several landmark bills that have become law. He was studious, conscientious, articulate, even professorial in speech.
But voters type-cast, just like in the movies. Erap, FPJ, Coco Martin—they will always be the “good guys.” Eddie Garcia, Rod Navarro, Max Alvarado—they will always be “bad guys.” And some will just be character actors.
There have been some very, very good senators of the realm. But they did not have the stuff to become presidents. They did not have the right combination of competence, character and compassion to become “leader.”
A postscript: I got one of the advertising agencies that created Manny Villar’s ads in 2010 for candidate Mayor Duterte in 2015.
* * *
As expected, President Duterte signed the budget, though belatedly, and after threatening to veto it altogether.
Also as expected, he vetoed out some 95 billion in last-minute “pork” insertions. That is in character.
It would have been politically expedient to just sign the delayed budget, this being the start of the second quarter, and more so, because elections fast approach. But Rodrigo Duterte is sui generis. A street smart politician who knows how the game is played, but comes up with his own rules of the game when needed.
* * *
I am at a loss for words to describe the world tragedy that is happening still as I write this piece.
The Notre Dame de Paris is burning. The magnificent spire has fallen. The eight-century oak beams have been consumed by fire. I pray this Tuesday morning that the stained glass windows are spared from crashing. They are so priceless, along with the other artworks in what is one of the most beautiful Christian landmarks ever.
I heard Holy Mass on my birthday in 2017 on Christmas Day inside the Notre Dame.
It will take many years for Macron and the people of France to rebuild the spire and roof of the Notre Dame. I still thank the Almighty I saw its magnificence recently. And I grieve for this tragedy with tears welling in my eyes.