By Alex P. Vidal
“All the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting.”—George Orwell
WITH due respect and apology to the camps of other presidential candidates, it’s now getting crystal clear that the May 9, 2022 race may be a down-the-wire finish between Vice President Leni Robredo and former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
We seldom hear supporters of candidates Senator Manny Pacquiao, Mayor Isko Moreno, Senator Panfilo Lacon, and labor leader Leody de Guzman insult each other intensely in social media and in the campaign rallies.
It’s always the raucous pro-Leni and pro-Bongbong supporters sinking their teeth against each other in no-holds-barred word war and mudslinging.
The heated rivalry could be catastrophic if both sides were thrown inside a cage while toting hatchets and revolvers.
In some instances, these supporters from the opposing sides blasted each other like followers of Volodymyr Zelensky and Vladimir Putin.
Lies and propaganda, psych war, loyalty check, spying, dirty tricks, bribery, treachery, and turncoats are part and parcel of political combat.
He who loses his cool and tarry-hoots excessively loses both the battle and war.
Take for instance when pro-Leni supporters bragged about the “70,000 crowd” that filled the Paglaum Stadium in Bacolod City in a recent mammoth pink rally.
Marcos supporters wasted no time to dispute the “overblown” number claiming the stadium could accommodate only 3,000 people.
“Liars and idiots,” an angry lady Marcos die-hard screamed in her social media account “liked” by 617 friends.
“Gaga (dumb). You counted only the seats. Most people in the crowd were standing in the football field,” retorted a famous bakeshop owner from Iloilo City and a Leni volunteer.
The lady Marcos die-hard and the male bakeshop owner were former friends and classmates in a university in Iloilo. Their feud started as a “lambingan” or display of tenderness in 2016 during the rivalry of Rodrigo Duterte and Mar Roxas for president.
Their animosity deteriorated after Duterte beat Roxas by a mile.
“Pareho kamo ni Mar mo mahinhin (You’re effeminate like Mar),” the lady Marcos die-hard ribbed the Leni supporter in their 2016 fracas.
“Ikaw ya pareho kamo ni Digong damol guya kag basura dila (And you’re like your Digong, thick-faced and with a garbage tongue),” replied the male Leni supporter.
It’s so funny that the fiercest quarrel during the election isn’t among the six top candidates for president, but among their impatient and hot-tempered supporters.
While the contenders have forgotten politics and became friends once again when the election was over, their combative and truculent supporters may have burned their bridges and shattered their friendship permanently.
Let’s brace ourselves for another nightmare: the soaring to record highs of retail gasoline and diesel prices, which can be felt in many countries across the world since last week, including the Philippines, as a result of the ongoing firefight in Ukraine.
Governments from Brazil to France have reportedly considered pumping up subsidies or trimming taxes to shield consumers from the financial strain.
The moves reflect the economic and political risks governments see in the current energy spike, which has been driven by a rebound in fuel demand since the darkest days of the coronavirus pandemic and supply disruptions in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Analysts said if prices keep rising, they could take a bite out of economic growth, force lower consumption, and in some cases trigger political unrest.
Reuters reported that “in past years, rising fuel prices have caused deadly protests in countries including Kazakhstan, Iran and Zimbabwe.”
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)