In the current presidential campaign, there are various messages that go round–all calculated to win the voters’ precious vote.
You have the anti-corruption message, either in its pure form of “hindi ako magnanakaw” or in its derivative form of “magnanakaw ang (mga) kalaban ko.” There is the pro-poor message of “ako ang lulutas ng problema ng kahirapan” and raising the credentials of being once upon a time, a poor man. There is the unfinished business message of being there once and being prevented from doing his thing for the poor, and so, “another chance please.” There is the competence message, a subtle dig at the “incompetence of opponents.” There is the message of having doing good at the local level and praying for the voters to allow him to do the same at the national level. There are religion-derived messages of moral values and bringing purity to governance. Etc.
All of these wants to capture what they think is the heart and/or the mind of the voters. Pulse Asia, in its last survey regarding voter preference for presidential candidates pointed to corruption and poverty as issues enjoying equal importance (24%) in the voter consciousness. There seems to be a correlation between this finding and the current high ratings of Noynoy Aquino and Manny Villar. In fact, the two are neck-to-neck in their standing.
Aquino places a strong emphasis on his clean record and traces this to his legacy on both his mother and father. Villar harps on his Tondo origins and, ironically, his “self-earned” current billions.
As expected, both tried to sully each other’s perceived strength: Aquino’s camp pointed to various anomalies in Villar’s rise to his billions. Villar’s camp early on pointed to Hacienda Luisita and his “kamag-anak” as corruption-tainted issues.
What both of them forgot–in getting at each other’s throat–is that the voters consider Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo the number one issue of the 2010 elections, in both issues of corruption and poverty. The one perceived to be the opposite of GMA will win.