Why Tony Calixto of Pasay City Will Win Again

How Team Del Rosario Blew A Campaign Strategy
By N Mark Castro

As a senior political communications strategist, I cannot help but observe how candidates blow their opportunities in capitalizing on the weakness of their opponents.

Take, for instance, the Pasay City elections.

When philanthropist, businessman, and political kingmaker (financier) Jorge Del Rosario filed his candidacy last year, most everyone thought the his “beneficiary”, incumbent Mayor Antonio “Tony” Calixto, would crumble on the full weight of Del Rosario’s campaign.

Yet several months later, according to the recent poll conducted by SWS, incumbent Mayor Antonio “Tony” Calixto of Pasay City will win by a landslide if elections were held today.

HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?

Unless Mayor Calixto implodes in his management and, particularly, his formulaic campaign falters, the incumbent normally enjoys the privileges of having direct access to his constituents in addressing their needs and delivering his political message.

This requires any opposition member to double their efforts in being heard.

Unfortunately, instead of delivering new methods in reaching out to a more focused audience, neophyte politician Jorge Del Rosario instead decides to focus his campaign strategy in reaching out to the poor people of Pasay City.

Don’t get me wrong. Providing promises (jobs, security, food) to the poor is well and good, even if it’s the most trite message in the global political landscape; however, you cannot compete with an incumbent mayor for the short attention span of the poor when he has EXISTING programs in addressing their needs while you only have the PROMISE of it.

Until and unless you ACTUALLY roll out a citywide program for the poor, all rhetoric would be just that … Rhetoric.

Worse, it’s a rhetoric addressed to the poor.

Instead of competing for the voting numbers of the poor, why not focus on the real movers and shakers of the city?

Del Rosario is a businessman; surely, he should know better that the City of Pasay is not run by the poor but by businessmen like him. Of all people, he should know better because, after all, as most local political pundits say, he bankrolled Mayor Calixto’s campaign.

THE SECRET WEAPON

Regardless whether you believe in the political wizardry of the Marcoses or not — you would have to admit that they know the terrain whereof they speak … after all, despite the infamous EDSA I, Imelda Marcos is currently the congresswoman of Ilocos Norte, her daughter Imee Marcos is the governor of Ilocos Norte, and her son, former congressman and governor, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr is the Senator of the Republic of the Philippines.

How can you argue with political success?

And it is exactly for this consideration that Jorge Del Rosario missed out on his opportunity in addressing his ilk, the richer sector of the Pasay society. Had he focused in unifying the middle, upper-middle, and elite class of Pasay, he would have had a stronger chance in rolling out his campaign.

Consider:

  1. The poor people of Pasay are workers and laborers employed by the rich people of Pasay. If he collaborated in providing incentives for their workers not through local resolutions or legislation but through corporate negotiations, he would have been viewed as, indeed, champion of the poor;
  2. The teachers of Pasay City all belong to Parents-Teachers Associations (PTAs). Majority of these parents are from middle, upper-middle class of the city. Had he enjoined these groups to become active members of an association he could have created way before his candidacy, then he would have been an advocate of education as well;
  3. Barangay Captains (elected district leaders) may win through the political affiliation with the mayor, but had he enjoined the richer sector of the city to which these barangay captains serve, then he would have garnered additional political clout without relying on his political party;
  4. Then comes the Women of Pasay City. Like it or not, boys, women hold the purse and disburse it. Had he created a facility and/or organization that provided relief, assistance, companionship for the women — single, married, young, old — then he would have cornered the biggest political influencer in the world;
  5. Then comes the social media that can inspire and grab the youth … literally; after all, the Philippines is one of the most active social media creatures on earth. These are the city’s next generation of voters … the informed. If you can’t rally them to your cause, then you’ll have a bunch of poor yet politically-professional kids that are easily swayed by the color of money. And if this Facebook Page of the once-rising candidate is any indication, then I can clearly say — in over a decade of experience that —

Picture1Whoever is his social media specialist should be fired.

369 will lead you nowhere.

Worse, whoever thought that by putting Sen. Bong Revilla in equal real estate space with the candidate should also be fired.

Endorsers should be numerous and never single … unless it’s the president or the pope.

But it would be dubious if you put both the president and the pope.

WHAT’S NEXT

Political losses are acceptable especially if it’s the candidate’s first attempt. What’s sad, however, is that he has built a string of candidates with him and those that have lost before would be judged by the electorate exactly as that: Losers.

Harsh?

I did not say this. SWS did.

One, however, could argue that Del Rosario is running on principle.

As any political strategist would ask you:

When was the last time a candidate won based on principle?

And whoever is the current political strategist of Del Rosario should be fired for not stopping him from complaining left and right about the supposed 100 Million Pesos that he had loaned the incumbent Mayor Calixto.

If, indeed, such accusation is true … show the receipts, show the agreement BUT … most of all, the political stage is not the forum for such whining complaint.

Submit it to the appropriate court and let it be decided upon because if the accusation cannot be substantiated then it is so easy for the mayor to file a case against the candidate.

If Del Rosario is serious with his campaign then it is strongly suggested that he starts preparing for 2016.

Maybe I’ll even come home to help his campaign.

Because if he remains on this expensive course, the only thing I can advise is for him to start reciting …

Hail Mary Full of Grace …

 

About Asmartrock

N. Mark Castro is the chief political communications strategist for PT AsiaLeads, a political and communications policy-making body based in Jakarta, Indonesia. He is also the Executive Director at the Southeast Asia Consulting Group, an investment advisory company assisting clients roll out their presence for the ASEAN Economic Integration in partnership with government. The views posted here are his own and do not in any way reflect the views of the companies he represents.

Posted on April 5, 2013, in Gallery, General, Politics. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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