what is killing the manny villar presidential bid – backlash and the move to evil from good
the good and the bad have affected manny villar’s run for the presidency.
the good, his advertising and marketing campaigns that he started ahead of everyone else, way before the official campaign period have pushed him from nowhere to catch up and tie noynoy aquino at the polls who entered the campaign as the dominant run away front runner in this election.
villar’s rise to within a shot of winning the presidency was a nurtured one, built around savvy ads, well-planned and well-thought out strategies behind billions of campaign funds.
until the bad hit his campaign and quickly pulled his ratings to a spiralling downward trend to now tied at 2nd or 3rd behind erap estrada, the convicted criminal who is again running for president.
unfortunately, the bad was his own doing. this bad is “backlash”, things that you do intended to hurt your opponent but recoils back and returns to you and hurts you instead. the villar campaign launched a string of these moves which unfortunately were all done towards the last part of the campaign where there might not be enough time to recover from their mistakes.
this is founded on what we think is a very unfortunate strategic choice that the campaign has chosen on how to handle negative developments to the villar campaign.
the first indication of this unfortunate strategic choice was on the C-5 corruption scandal. villar chose the strategy of not confronting the issue at the stage where it began. villar chose not to attend the senate hearings and instead on his own and separate from the senate hearings went on a media campaign answering questions on the controversy that were lodged at him at the senate floor in other venues and press briefings outside of the senate floor.
they must have thought that what is more important is public perception in general over what is happening at the senate floor. villar is running for president, answering the questions raised at the senate are best re-shaped and handled as the messages go out to the public.
there are two problems with that strategy. first, not tackling the issue at the senate itself will mean allowing it to continue to progress at the senate floor and reach it’s conclusion on it’s own unhampered. second, and this is the fatal one – while they are doing their counter attacks and defence at the public opinion stage, it does not necessarily mean they are being erased in the minds of the public. they may be able to answer all the points raised in the senate but all of these are deposited in the consciousness of the public as data points. they can be deposited in their minds as neutral points as they are able to answer them but they are nevertheless there and latent.
what came next was the Villarroyo charge that mar roxas first said in a press conference. the C-5 corruption scandal plus Villarroyo we think was the beginning of the end of the villar presidential bid.
villarroyo is more than a play in names, it is we think one of the most powerful words used in the 2010 election. the word crystallized in the minds of the voters their greatest fear and greatest dislike not only in this election but in the country in general - arroyo. (read here: Villarroyo – the most powerful word of the 2010 election)
at the start, this election has been called an election of “good vs. evil”. we think the villar campaign forgot that as it is really an election of “good vs evil” until now.
the name “arroyo” has become to mean to the people everything that is wrong, bad, immoral and not right about the country and where it is going. romulo neri, one of arroyo’s eco guru was right when he said ”arroyo is evil”.
one of the most enduring definition of “evil” is corruption. a large percentage of the people think arroyo is corrupt or has been involved in corruption. surveys also say arroyo as seen by the people is one of the most corrupt president of the country, next to ferdinand marcos.
when mar roxas introduced villarroyo to the public mind, something simply clicked in the minds of voters – villar is just like arroyo, evil itself.
the handling and approach taken by villar of the C-5 corruption scandal reminded us villar may not only be the candidate that arroyo supports but he can be as corrupt as arroyo is. the charge on villar on the C-5 controversy was that he used his position and power for personal gain, something the people have always suspected of doing all the time.
more than that, villar was not facing the issue at the senate. he did everything and anything to find an excuse not to face his accusers at the senate.
that is also an arroyo tactic. she did that during the NBN-ZTE scandal where she prevented neri from testifying at the senate on the matter by hiding under the skirt of immunity from testifying. more than that event, arroyo had used the numbers she owned in congress to prevent the congressional hearings on the impeachment cases lodged on hr for some years.
with the villarroyo name solid in the minds of voters, villar’s ratings started to decline.
unfortunately, the villar campaign seemed to have taken another blunder in their strategic choices from that point on. the campaign decided to get into a black propaganda binge against its opponents and their prime target was noynoy aquino who is the front runner in this election.
noynoy aquino as the target of their black propaganda is a sensible choice. he is the front runner and it makes sense to do so. we do not completely discredit the value of black propaganda in elections because it has some use and value but it is totally wrong to do black propaganda that is not founded on the truth and one that is traceable back to the originator of the black propaganda.
the double psyche reports which were quickly proven as false and fabricated are prime examples of black propaganda gone bad and giving a backlash to the originator.
both were traced to members of the nationalista party as originators. the two sources of the first bogus psyche report according to abs-cbn were from members of the nationalista party and the second most recent one is guido delgado, former National Power Corporation president and villar supporter.
why in the world delgado called a press conference on a psyche he was not sure was real is something we cannot comprehend. delgado called the press conference to release it to the media and asked them to verify its authenticity. it does not take rocket science to figure out that if his psyche report was proven to be bogus, it will for sure backfire on the villar campaign, not to mention blotch his name as the idiot who released the bogus psyche report.
we assume that being a supporter, he intends to help manny villar get elected. but because of what he did, he actually hurt the villar campaign rather than help it. he did not hurt noynoy aquino in any way, in fact aquino comes out here as victim of an injustice but he did solidify the villar campaign’s image as the doer of evil.
the bogus psyche reports, two of them, both traceable to manny villar’s political party goes back to rest on trust or in this case the withdrawal of trust on a candidate. the C-5 corruption controversy may have not been proven as true in the minds of voters, but it did put a question mark of trust in the minds of voters.
the addition of villarroyo to that for sure put in a bigger question mark of trust if not an outright suspicion of corruption on villar in the minds of voters. trust is something the filipino people have completely removed from arroyo, the country’s president. surveys show us that arroyo’s trust ratings have always been on the negative from quarter to quarter since the poll have been started. next to corruption and performance rating, trust is one of the most major negatives of arroyo.
with the bogus psyche reports traceable to villar (one idiot even came out in the open), trust was also removed by the people. trust was what arroyo lost in the hello garci scandal. at the start of the scandal, she kept denying all of it. but when things got pretty intense and the outcry just ready to explode, she eventually admitted she did have the “hello, garci” talk. that alone got all of us to remove trust on arroyo. it did not matter that arroyo apologized on national tv for her hello garci sin, trust once removed is gone forever.
and that is probably one of the lessons that villar will learn from this whole episode. when the people removed its trust on him, everything and anything that he did afterwards the people will always be suspicious of. it does not help that he not only did things that made us question trusting villar, he did things that told us not to trust him. having bogus psyche reports told us that in a most eloquent manner.
at some point, most specially in the last few weeks of the campaign, the villar campaign we think has lessened to a large degree if not completely stopped generating goodwill among the voters. instead of goodwill, the villar campaign with it’s efforts at black propaganda generated mistrust and suspicion both from their own doing and as a result of the backlash of what they have been doing.
the juan ponce enrile and erap estrada expose on the VLL-PSE scandal is one example of how backlash has hurt the villar campaign.
estrada embarked on the expose at this late stage of the campaign as they probably agreed with our assessment that of all the presidentiables, villar’s supporters are the most susceptible to being pirated.
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enrile on the other hand did it as a backlash from their previous fights in the senate on the C-5 corruption scandal. together with jamby madrigal, enrile was one of the key figures in the C-5 probe in the senate. we suppose enrile just could not let it go that villar got away with it at the senate. he just felt he needed to get to villar one last time and this time it will also help estrada, his party mate.
the fact is all the negative campaign thrown at noynoy aquino has not worked at all and there is a long list of these things from almost all sorts of topics and angles. it is a laundry list from the personal to public, from the intimate, the mundane up to the serious. but with all of that, none has actually stuck nor has it hurt aquino.
this should have been realized by the villar campaign a long time ago. aside from not learning this lesson, the villar campaign, and perhaps this is the biggest blunder of them all, has forgotten that what got manny villar to rise to tieing aquino at front runner status in the polls was positive campaigning, not negative campaigning.
manny villar rose to tie aquino in the polls behind a large dose of good advertising, good strategies and good events and all of them were positive. all these efforts put villar in a good light and all of them ignored and did not even mention his opponents. changing that strategy to what it is now, close to the ending of the campaign, to negative campaigning and black propaganda is hurting the chances of manny villar to win the presidency.
in a “good vs evil” election, villar unfortunately moved to the side of evil from his previous side of good.