Whether or not Aquino will continue to hold his wide margin as the election approaches is a matter of conjecture. Villar and Aquino’s other rivals have mounted their attacks by raising the following issues:
- his lack of notable legislative achievements in Congress;
- the record of the Cojuangco family on agrarian reform in relation to their ownership of Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac;
- and even the insensitivity of the Aquino administration to social issues.
- Aquino’s mental qualities have also come under attack.
- Another criticism is that his credentials for the presidency rest mainly on the public service record of his
parents and that he would bring little into the presidency.
But all these attacks do not seem to have significantly dented the groundswell of public goodwill he enjoys in the surveys.
The Pulse Asia (October 2009) survey found that the reason most often cited in voting preference for a presidential candidate is his clean public record (“malinis”) or not being corrupt (“hindi kurakot”). The survey found that two out of every 10 Filipinos (21.2 percent) are voting for
a particular candidate because he/she is not corrupt, a reason cited by fewer respondents in May and August 2009.
In May 2009, the leading reason for voting was a candidate’s being helpful to others (34 percent).
In August 2009, the top reasons cited were a candidate’s having many accomplishments (25.3 percent) and his/her being pro-poor (20.3 percent).
Currently (October 2009), 14 percent are motivated to vote for a presidential candidate because of his/her many accomplishments, 12.2 percent favor a candidate because he/she helps others, while 6.6 percent mention being helpful to overseas Filipino workers. Villar has built his campaign on the theme of being helpful to overseas Filipino workers for which project he has spent a considerable sum.
The survey also found that the less often mentioned reasons for electing a presidential candidate include the good reputation of his/her family (4.2 percent) and his/her being virtuous or “mabait” (3.7 percent).
These findings suggest a qualitative shift in the values sought by Filipinos in their leaders in this election. These values are highlighted and salient in the issues of integrity and honesty in public service. These values are embodied in the campaign theme: Filipinos crave for a leader whose integrity they can trust. That is the central issue in this election.
I agree with Armando Doronila’s statement that “Integrity is the central issue in this election”.
However, form a strategic perspective, the following questions immediately came to mind:
- Is integrity the correct issue?
- Is integrity the only vital issue?
- Given that integrity is the central issue, does Noynoy have a monopoly of Integrity?
This same stubbornness and muleheaded-ness was also displayed by at least 40% of Filipinos when the central issue was compassion for the poor.
This linear perspective will have limited relevance in a multi-perspective world. A single central trait misses out on the dividends from the leadership who has other similarly important traits such as performance, and compassion.
In a global economy with a local face, the candidate with multiple leadership traits – integrity, proven performance, substantiated platform and plan of action – which when weighted can identify the candidate who deliver more goods to the widest number of people at the lowest cost to the taxpayer.
Noynoy arguably runs on integrity.
Villar is perceived to lack integrity.
Gordon is also arguably a man of integrity. But, that’s not the only thing – Dick Gordon has performance, too. And so does his running mate, Bayani Fernando.
The electorates’ flavor of the month is integrity ONLY. Oh gee…
44% who support Noynoy is not a majority…
56% who do not prefer Noynoy – that’s a majority.