The Dirty Tricks Department has been reactivated. Among the country’s political analysts and those familiar with the tactics of traditional tricksters, trapos (traditional politicians) and publicity stunt artists, they can recognize the default strategy funded and perpetrated by a political veteran anytime, anywhere. The telltale tactics are easily evident. Where flawed and failing popularity and false imagery will not suffice to bring in the votes, the default tact of a veteran mudslinger is to arm himself with dossiers of sleaze, slime and innuendo, and from there go on the attack and pray that reputations of challengers fall lower than his own.
The mudslinging and the dirt that we know accompanies politics and trail behind politicians like stringy doggy poo wherever they go started early for the 2016 presidential derby. The official period for the filing of candidacies for the presidency is months away but in a country wallowed and completely inundated by the most pungent political partisanships, anytime is a good time for venomous divisiveness. Especially under a presidency characterized by petty and puerile vengeance and little else, tracking dirt and discharging stink makes sense.
Let us analyze recent history’s most vicious thus far.
The vicious attacks against the Vice President, the leading challenger to the ruling party’s plan to perpetuate its rule are par for the course for several reasons that need little elaboration. Let us simply go through a short litany to get into the groove and understand its political necessity from the perspective of desperation and perhaps, the ruling party’s standard bearer.
One, the Vice President had declared his intentions much too early. Everyone else played coy. Honesty has a price where dishonesty is the rule. The premature opening afforded the most ambitious protagonist more time to assemble slime and sciatica to sling.
Two, unfortunately, in a nation of gullible constituents, political mudslinging works. Let us take stock.
The Vice President is a counter-party option – a protagonist to a political grudge match where he had previously won decisively against an ambitious albeit born loser who never saw the loss of the vice presidential contest coming as he was focused on a different protagonist at the time. The strongest challenge had then come from the Nationalista Party (NP).
The campaign in 2010 had, until recently, been the standard for dirty tricks and definitive proof that slime works wonders, substantiated or not.
Sen. Manuel Villar who in 2010 then challenged Benigno Aquino III for the presidency was on the blunt end of a demolition job where he was accused of padding roadwork budgets to enhance his personal businesses. Never mind that these had never made its way to a proper court where they should rightfully be heard.
His running mate Sen. Loren Legarda had vied for the second highest post under the banner of the NP and as immediate as her announcement was to seek the office, vicious and brazen email blasts and text messaging circulated under a multi-million demolition job to ridicule her.
Three, for a good number fed up with ineptitude, the Vice President represents relief. He represents the diametric antithesis of a bungling dispensation that would perpetuate a plunderous agenda founded on patronage politics nourished by billions in pork barrels and even billions more in the certifiably criminal Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) – the signature patronage and fund fleecing program of the mislabeled “Tuwid na Daan” gang of which the ruling party standard bearer is a direct beneficiary.
Curiously however, the sights and crosshairs of the multi-million peso demolition jobs employed to perpetuate the status quo had shifted. The campaign now focuses on back-stabbing.
Even as a potential presidential protagonist from left field is being courted by the ruling party to boost the flawed charm of its nag and most important, following common sense and conventional thinking, the courtship is primarily designed to remove from the equation the most likely to steal away precious votes. Given the finite partisanship pie slices, a carrot snd stick publicity and public relations offensive is being simultaneously employed.
In a three-way contest where the ruling party candidate constantly comes in last, the two front runners take from the tail-ender and the easiest way out from the predicament is to court one wannabe out of competing using both sweet nothings and slime.
So, who among the wannabes stands to gain the most should Grace Poe-Llamanzares be beaten and cowed by the series of vicious mudslinging and classic multi-million peso demolition jobs currently being waged and arrayed against her running for the presidency in 2016 on her own and outside the kennel of the ruling Liberal Party?
Some, shooting from the hip without first engaging their medulla oblongata to analyze beyond the cliches and biases quickly assume the worst from the camp of the Vice President. Never mind that such assumptions do not make an iota of sense. Hate and the effects of canine loyalty can be blinding, and the continuing and constant barrage from another demolition job can create Pavlovian mongrels out of the weakest minds.
Note the idiocy of the traditional political mind. One ruling party factotum, a rabid supporter of their anointed nag linked an appellant questioning the citizenship of Llamanzares in the courts as an acquaintance of an old political hand who he described as a friend of the Vice President. The linkage is not only several times removed by logic, time and space but, in its attempt to pin the demolition job on the Vice President, it assumes constituencies are as idiotic as the ploy.
Let us return to the arithmetic of the 2016 presidential derby. Should Llamanzares run as a presidential candidate she would be a bigger threat to the ruling party bet than the Vice President given the constant claims that the ruling party says of her prospective political agenda. As a presidential contender she is likely to wean away votes from the ruling party than from the opposition. Hence, it is easy to see who would want her safely tucked under their armpits. Hence, the double-bladed wooing.
Fortunately, not only is Llamanzares a fine lady, but she is also far more intelligent than the dagger-throwers.
Too accustomed with bunglers who would sink to mudslinging campaigns as an election strategy, such factotum and their principals underestimate Lamanzares. Addressing the side she thinks spawns these slime Lamanzares said, “..whenever we discuss, we talk straight. But you know, at the end of the day, if you’re a candidate, your leadership quality can be measured by how well you can control your supporters.”
Here the allegory of candidates trailing dirt and doggy poo easily comes to mind and illustrates quite graphically the desperation of losers.
Obviously, Lamanzares knows from whence she speaks. She is not new to political duplicity. How can anyone forget the two-faced, forked-tongue politicians who now claim straight talk when facing you and yet had, when backs were turned, viciously maligned the name and reputation of her good father?
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