THEY are avowed representatives of the poor and the marginalized, but in the May 10, 2010 elections, 12 party-list groups allied with two candidates for president, one for vice president, and one for senator splurged a staggering P426.16 million on television ads that aired in the last two weeks of the campaign period.
Where they got the millions to burn for these candidates, despite their claimed poverty, is the ambiguity. But why they burned millions on political ads that featured the four candidates, not their party-list groups, is the absurdity.
BY ALL ACCOUNTS, the May 10, 2010 polls was the costliest ever in Philippine electoral history.
The top candidates for president and vice president alone spent P4.3 billion on political ads during the official 90-day campaign period, and another billion 90 days before the campaign commenced, according to Nielsen Media’s monitoring of tens of thousands of political ad clips.
But for various reasons, the May 10, 2010 elections could also go down in the country’s annals as a grand spectacle of lies, half-truths, and concealed truths foisted on the Filipino voters.
IN A move that bewildered political analysts, 66 party-list groups went the way of mainstream political organizations during the three-month campaign period for the recently concluded polls and placed tri-media ads worth a total of P597.54 million, based on data from the media monitoring agency Nielsen.
But some big ad spenders among the party-list groups may be in for a very rude surprise themselves.
PR EXPERT Jonas Campos observes that one reason that political ads failed to work for some party-list groups is because they used the wrong “channel.”
Campos is not trying to spark yet another network war. Rather, he is referring to party-list group ads that did not carry the organization’s message or advocacy and instead showed the faces of mainstream politicians or carried a major party’s slogan.
THE HORRIBLY costly air war for the presidency has in recent weeks ceased being the exclusive domain of moneyed politicians and political parties. The new players and big buyers of political advertisements on television are seven apparently cash-rich party-list groups accredited by the Commission on Elections as supposed representatives of the “marginalized” and presumably poor sectors of Philippine society.
Three of the seven groups are neophytes in the electoral arena. How they managed to raise funds to purchase TV ads is just the first mystery.
JOSE Ma. Sison should cry at all the wasted talent. He could have won the revolution if the movement had stayed its course and kept its children from straying into the forbidden capitalist and reactionary world. (He shares a large part of the blame, too, of course, for steering a hard-line course and ousting — not to mention possibly ordering the elimination — of some of the best cadres from the party.) At any rate, these days, many of us who used to be part of the underground are all over the place. Some of us run telecommunications companies, public utilities, banks, and even the highest offices of government. Many form that segment of the middle class that supports decent candidates.