THE LORD'S POLITICAL
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What exactly is the big fuss about? Why not let the most popular
As a senator, he filed a bill protecting carabaos. Nothing wrong
By all indications, Erap does not have the intellectual wherewithal
We want to be sensitive to his or her feelings. But what we have here is not Lim, Osmena, Roco, or De Villa having terminal cancer. It's not a good time to be timid and worry about hurting their feelings. The May elections is not about them. It's about 13-year-old Josephine and thousands of her ilk who--in the shadows of Metro Manila's giant malls and a towering skyline--still have to forage heaps of trash to survive. It's about 10-year-old Andrew and thousands of the country's street children who have to sell their little bodies so they may buy food. It's about babies dying in Mindanao because corrupt and bumbling leaders fail to address the long-expected ill-effects of El Nino. It's about the country's innocent children ... and us taking full responsibility for creating a better future for them. Should the alternative candidates ignore the polls? Should we allow them the privilege of denial? Heck, no! If these supposedly intelligent candidates remain adamant, they sure deserve a smack in the head, because they are about to engage in a completely senseless act of mass political suicide, a monumentally stupid act of self-sacrifice right on the altar of the supposedly clueless Erap presidency!
The facts. How reliable are SWS survey results? First, Mahar Mangahas, the man behind SWS, is a respected pioneer in public opinion research in the Philippines. He obtained his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of the Philippines and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. His thoroughness as a researcher has earned him the Elizabeth Nelson Award from the World Association of Public Opinion Research and established SWS as the most reputable polling outfit in the Philippines--out-performing local affiliates of prestigious international pollsters including Gallup. An academic whose career depends on the integrity of his work, no objective observer is inclined to believe the speculation that because Mangahas is related to Fernando Poe Jr., one of Erap's celebrity campaigners, SWS has become a psy-war tool of the Estrada-Angara camp. Second, SWS results were remarkably accurate in the 1992 elections. In the pre-election survey, SWS ranking for the seven vice presidential candidates was 100 percent accurate, with an impressive average deviation of only 1.2 percent. In the presidential contest, SWS pre-election ranking was almost perfect except for the fifth and sixth places (SWS had Salonga at number five and Imelda at number six; the actual results had Imelda leading Salonga by less than a hundred thousand votes) and the average deviation was only 2.4 percent.
SWS detractors like to cite statistical flukes like Marcelo Fernan ending up at number 10 when an SWS pre-election survey showed him at number 17 in the 1995 senate race. It is important to point out that surveys tend to be less accurate in contests where there are multiple seats available, obviously because voters are less able to memorize multiple names (12 in the case of the senate slate) and are emotionally less committed to their choices. A slew of political analysts also argue that since Erap's support base are from class D and E, his actual votes will be lower than survey figures because the turnout for class D and E is often low and those voters are most vulnerable to vote buying. Guess what: In 1992, Erap's 30 percent in the pre-election SWS survey translated into 33 percent in the actual voting. His masa voted for him in full force and more!
What about other polling outfits such as Facts Base showing Joe De Venecia catching up? Don't even read them! The reason why they don't have a human face the way SWS has Mangahas (and formerly, UP Professor Felipe Miranda) is because they are phony, and they sure know it! If Wednesday's SWS results show Erap leading by more than 15 points, does anyone in his or her right mind actually expect any of the alternative candidates to win? JVD, through a massive vote-buying and dagdag-bawas operation, perhaps ... but Lim? Osmena? Roco? De Villa? Nah! If they all stubbornly insist on running, we should reconsider who the real village idiots are.
Filling the vacuum/selection process. The Revive the LORD initiative floundered because, first, it was broached at a time when the alternative candidates were hoping that more recent attacks against Erap would cut down some of his lead. A simple case of wrong timing. With the release of Wednesday's survey, however, Erap's political invincibility has become apparent. Second, there was a widespread perception that the initiators led by Brother Rolly Dizon were sympathetic to Lim--something the organizers vehemently denied but failed to quash. Third, everyone was wary about being hoodwinked into an unfair selection process.
For those who fear an Erap presidency, what we now have is a
In all likelihood, they won't push for their participation (perhaps even resist involvement), but they need to be identified and social forces will take care of sucking them into the process. What sort of selection process is acceptable? Waiting for the final survey (assuming there's one) to serve as the basis of the selection process may be too late. Besides, everyone has by now publicly condemned all surveys as unreliable. A more practical process is to gather all the parties (Senator Miriam Santiago should be part of the process too: LORD'S Resurrection sounds right) and then ask them to vote for their favored candidate. If self-voting is not allowed, the possibility of a five-way tie is minimal. With LORD'S Resurrection, some 70 percent of the electorate will have a real choice on May 11. Without it, it's President Erap Estrada into the next millennium ... whether 70 percent of the people like it or not.
UPDATES - 4/26
UPDATES - 4/25
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