“Later, someone who was there will tell Will of the surreal scene — the British assiduously setting up their explosives in plain sight of the Japanese, who were just as diligently building another bridge to swing across once the destruction had happened, the two sides studiously ignoring each other, neither questioning the inevitability of what the other was doing, nor trying to stop it. ‘Doesn’t that just sum it all up,” this man, a policeman, said, “Thoroughly demented.”
-Janice Y.K. Lee, “The Piano Teacher” Penguin Books, 2009. Copyright Janice Y.K. Lee.
When news of Chiz Escudero’s NoyBi campaign broke out a few weeks before elections, I couldn’t help but want to study the effects of that campaign on the voters that I know. I claim no expertise in professional survey-taking methods but I do take regular informal surveys among my friends and online contacts just to get their pulse. (Yes, D, I recognize my inter-actions are limited and my world is small & insignificant but that doesn’t stop me.)
Many people shrug and say they will be voting that exact tandem anyway regardless of it being named. Those people do not have any strong reactions on the NoyBi campaign. Noy-Bi – “Noy” being Sen Aquino, Liberal Party standard bearer and “Bi” referring to incumbent Makati City Mayor Binay – Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino VP candidate as guest from PDP-Laban.
For the foreign observer friends of mine, the general consensus is that they find it strange for people to campaign criss-crossing parties because from where they come from, they usually have the chance to choose their side on the political number line and vote straight. I guess the term ‘vote straight’ may be a default for other democratic countries, but obviously not in ours. We vote the way we choose our food from a cafeteria. We have a tray and we point out which viand we want scooped and gesture for the provisions to be dumped on our trays.
Now I do not know nor claim to know which arrangement is better or more democratically sound, all I know is that – if that’s the case, then why have political parties (labeled and organized) at all? Seems like most of them operated on a ‘to each his own’ rhythm anyway. Is it mere pooling of resources? Is it an attempt to show a united front? Or the way the Nacionalista Party spokesman politely asserted that only the NP under Manny Villar has gathered people from different persuasions to go under one umbrella (budget) and therefore the NP has the best representation of the citizenry.
My questions might be very elementary, especially to the seasoned political scientist but these are my questions nonetheless. I have learned not to apologize for things I cannot assume to know or surmise. How best to go about this? Is this the ‘truly democratic’ way? To allow the individual voter to create his or her own tapestry of leaders? “Ragtag” was an adjective used but I opt not to use it on this piece because it doesn’t quite feel right for me.
Back to NoyBi – a candidate combo plucked from two different political parties. We all know the present scenario wherein VP candidate and graduating Senator, Mar Roxas is the running mate of Sen Aquino. Both scions of Liberal Party giants from the past generation. Many say Mar and Noy seemed to run separate campaigns at the start – with a shallow but perhaps telling explanation of why Mar continued to wear blue when the over-riding color of the past Aquino campaigns (official or unofficial) is yellow.
Many say it was only in the last phase, around the same time the NoyBi campaign reared its head did the NoyMar dynamic duo campaign emphasis surfaced -but prior to that both Aquino and Roxas seemed to run separate but very parallel runs around the handshake circuit. We all know by now that Roxas kept a comfortable lead in the surveys almost the entire hundred days of the campaign. And we also know that right now the VP race will be won by the skin of someone’s teeth with Binay surfacing as leading by a nose for the most part of the partial, unofficial tallies. A far cry from the Roxas 20% steady lead scenario we all pictured for the first 3/4 of the campaign period.
The Roxas dip in the surveys became apparent when the NoyBi label showed up on TV, bumper stickers, Chiz-led interviews – many bemoan this, many delight in it, but there is no denying that all camps were shocked by it.
I take no lesson learned here other than the confirmation that I am not sure if the 2010 polls have been generally accepted as a sound exercise or not. I want to know how many feel that having a provision of a no-combo-tandem vote allowed in the future is worth exploring. If President A wins, VP A should win along with him. Is this silly to imagine? That an immovable ‘tandem vote’ might be a sound proposal for legislative discussion that may lead to a possible amendment? I’m being unintelligent today, aren’t I? Well, it is my right – Sunday afternoons are for naivete.
Let me refer to the quote I began this piece with and give myself the liberty to repeat the last line, sometimes the way we run our politics: “…the two sides studiously ignoring each other, neither questioning the inevitability of what the other was doing, nor trying to stop it. ‘Doesn’t that just sum it all up,” this man, a policeman, said, “Thoroughly demented.”
Now – I need to spend the rest of my Sunday evening thinking of optimistic breaks in this dreary landscape called “the next six years.”