Easter Sunday Sting | Opinion of the applicant

Presidents Isko Moreno, Ping Lacson and Norberto Gonzales unveiled their “united front” at a press conference on Easter Sunday. It turns out that their common message didn’t matter. They announced that they would not retire from the race and that they would serve in the government whoever won. Then they announced that they would all oppose any attempt to overthrow the will of the people. Nothing interesting there.

They then used these two innocent statements as stepladders to launch into reckless attacks on Vice President Leni Robredo. Isko was unabashedly the frontrunner, accusing VP Leni of the “crime” of being only second in the polls, too weak to dislodge Marcos as the frontrunner. Moreno also called on Vice President Leni to step down from the race, saying any of the other candidates could do better.

The press kicked into high gear when a certain reporter named Marlon Purificacion from Journal Publications delivered the perfect thug to Isko, asking him to react to Vice President Leni’s alleged statement that there would be instability if she lost the election. Moreno, then, sharply and repeatedly excoriated VP Leni for such an irresponsible statement. Lacson also stepped in to agree that the statement was indeed irresponsible, after half an attempt to confirm that Vice President Leni had made the statement, taking Marlon’s word. Then Isko called on Vice President Leni to step down from the presidential race to cheers from the audience.

It was Moreno who said that there would be a coup if the red (Marcos) or the pink (Robredo) won and that for the peace of mind of the people they should vote for him. Confronted with this anomaly later in the press conference, Moreno blushed and sharply pointed a finger in Marlon’s direction.

Standing third in the survey standings, Isko had the most to lose when he set his sights on the bottom dwellers. That Isko’s political advisers authorized this reckless move seemed to show the contagious desperation at the bottom of the presidential race.

But on reflection, there is a logic to recklessness. Marcos Jr.’s 4% loss in voter preference and VP Leni’s 9% gain in the latest March Pulse Asia survey were significant as the reduction spanned socio-economic classes, age groups and regions , while the increase for VP Leni was equally across the board (though unchanged in Metro Manila).

Discerning doctors can find patterns that medical technologists miss. Apparently the managers of Isko are country surgeons. Not only do they make meaningful sense of how the dynamic optics of mammoth pink gatherings belie the static narrative of the investigations. They position Isko to take advantage of Marcos Jr.’s loss of voting preferences (1) those who will switch to the “most similar alternative” to Marcos Jr. (Isko); and (2) those who will move on to the “most opposite alternative” to Marcos Jr. (Robredo). Isko is positioning himself as the inescapable alternative by being the most rabid anti-Leni presidential candidate.

Isko and Marlon apparently had the game plan. Ping, unconscious, jumped up to hit VP Leni. Bert made ambiguous statements about the alleged connection between the NPA and VP Leni’s national security. Willy Ong, confused as to what was going on, wisely kept silent. Only Tito Sotto, feeling he was hijacked, reduced his guilt by reiterating the two innocuous messages he understood to be from the press conference.

It looks like Isko has played them all, running mate and opponents. The biggest loser was Ping, who started syncing Isko’s melody without understanding why. His ego believed that Isko’s stunt would also give him a chance to be the alternative to frontrunner Marcos Jr. Confronting reporters at the end of the press conference, he said asking VP Leni to step down would not wasn’t Isko’s call.

More desperate campaign movements will emerge. But this may be the first time a contestant has laid her eggs in her opponents’ nest, tricking them all into believing her eggs were their own. Well, on Easter Sunday, eggs can work magic.

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Alicia R. Rucker