Media Colleagues Rally Behind Tatad

April 8, 2010

Describing Kit Tatad as “the once and future senator”, some 70 members of the media tendered a luncheon yesterday (8 April 2010 ) for the former senator and journalist to express their full support for his candidacy for the Philippine Senate.

“We need Kit in the Senate,” said the group consisting of editors, columnists, reporters and commentators. “He will bring competence and statesmanship to the chamber at a time when it is descending to incivility and vulgarisms.”

The lunch was hosted by Samahang Plaridel, Kapihan sa Sulo and Raya Communications at the Golden Bay Seafoods Restaurant on Macapagal Blvd in Pasay City. The three organizations are led by former media colleagues and friends of Tatad.

In his remarks before the group, Tatad recalled his days in journalism as “some of the best years of my life.” He worked at various times as a reporter, columnist, editor and publisher.

He gave a short briefing on the ongoing election campaign, which he said will end in a major surprise on election day – the return of Erap Estrada to Malacanang Palace.

“There is an untold story of the campaign that is being overlooked because of the distorted lens of the election surveys,” Tatad said. “And this is the groundswell of public support for former President Estrada, whose rallies are pulling emotional crowds in the tens of thousands. We’ve seen it in city after city, town after town that we have visited.”

Tatad addresses his media colleagues

Tatad addresses his media colleagues

Tatad explained that the reason for Erap’s appeal is the state of poverty of some 80 percent of the national population.
“Economic growth has not trickled down to the masses,” he said. “Many of our people are worse off today than they were when Erap was ousted from office in 2001. Erap’s massage of continuing his crusade for the poor resonates with the people.”

Representatives from all media – including print, radio, TV and online media — turned up for the affair. Among those present were Manila Times editor Rene Bas, Samahang president Rolly Estabillo, columnists Boo Chanco, Dick Pascual, Dan Mariano, Fred de la Rosa and Yen Makabenta, and broadcaster-columnist Ronnie Nathanielsz.


Estrada’s support solid and surging — Tatad

April 6, 2010

With just over a month to go before Election Day, the hard  reality emerging on the campaign trail is the surging support for former President Joseph Estrada and the waning support for the other candidates, former senator and senatorial candidate Francisco “Kit” Tatad said today (Tuesday, April 6) in a briefing on the ongoing election campaign.

“Our PMP rallies are deluged by crowds with little effort to organize them,” Tatad said. “The main attraction drawing everyone to the motorcades and the campaign rallies is always Erap. We have to wade literally through the crowds to get to the campaign stage.”

In stark contrast, the other presidential candidates are all straining and spending to get enough people to watch their motorcades and attend their rallies. Often, they just scratch the motorcades for lack of people to watch them.

“While the election surveys do not accurately reflect public opinion about the presidential candidates, even these could not fully suppress the massive groundswell in favor of President Estrada,” Tatad said. “They have reported Erap as registering the biggest gain in support, while his opponents have shown losses or negligible gains.”

All this indicates, according to Tatad, that  Erap’s real strength  and electoral prospects are being underestimated. “There’s a gross mismatch between the political reality on the ground and the media reality conjured by the surveys. The media frontrunners tend to believe their own propagandists, and that is where the danger lies. They are in for a big surprise,” he said.

Senate president and senatorial candidate Juan Ponce Enrile also noted the same phenomenon of public support for former President Estrada at the end of the first month of campaigning in early March. He had not seen before the kind of numbers and enthusiasm being displayed by the crowds at PMP rallies.

Internal analysis of the numbers point to a contrast between the solid support for Estrada and the soft support for Manny Villar and Noynoy Aquino, which has perceptibly changed since the campaign began.

“There’s everything to show that Estrada’s support is firm and strong, while support for his rivals is soft and shifting,” Tatad explained.  “ Erap is getting his support mostly from the C,D,E classes, who constitute some 90 percent of the voters and who relate personally to him.  This is evident in town after town, city after city that Erap visits, either before or after the uneventful visit of some of his rivals.”

The latest proof of this, according to Tatad,  was the visit that  Aquino, Villar and Estrada respectively made with Brother Mike Velarde’s El Shaddai charismatic community during their  Easter Sunday  celebration.  Noynoy, accompanied by his celebrity-siter Kris and other siblings, got a warm burst of applause as he read his short  speech.  “But the crowd smothered Estrada with applause and cheers as soon as he appeared on stage and interacted with him all throughout his short appearance,” he observed.

Tatad forecasts major swings of support during the last month of the campaign when the undecided and still not fully committed voters make their final choices. “We predict that the bulk of these votes will go to Estrada because of his palpable and superior appeal to voters,” he said.

He suggested that we will see here the same kind of surprise sprung by the late Fernando Poe Jr, in 2004. “During the final month of that campaign, all the pollsters reported that support for President Arroyo had climbed up to 37 to 40%, while that of FPJ had fallen to below 30%,” he said. “When the actual votes were counted, FPJ swamped GMA in all of Luzon by close to 2 million votes. Only the slow tally of votes from the Visayas and Mindanao reversed the writing on the wall.”

Tatad took issue once again with local pollsters for not using modern methods of polling and observing professional and ethical standards.  “Until now the pollsters have failed or refused to disclose all necessary data about their surveys, particularly the identity of those who had paid for the survey, who conducted the survey, the  questions asked and the order in which they were asked,  including the “rider” questions contributed by secret  sponsors, the interview method used, the actual samples used and how they were chosen, the margin of error,  and the exact size of the undecided, etc.,” he said.

He opined that had there been a serious attempt to accurately measure popular  support for the national candidates by using the correct methodology , asking the right questions, and using  truly representative samples, Estrada would be leading the presidential pack in the survey, and some  candidates, from presidential to senatorial, who are “rating” high in the flawed surveys, would not rate as high.

“This is akin to the 2008 American experience when the US pollsters and media were uniformly talking of  Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Clinton as the sure contenders in the US presidential elections until the Republican and Democratic conventions  chose John McCain and Barack Obama instead,” he said. #