By Rigoberto Tiglao
A Facebook-based poll by Rappler, a US-funded, anti-Marcos news website, showed Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. taking 54 percent of votes, and Leni Robredo, 42 percent.
The poll was initially scheduled to run for three days from October 7 to 9. It was abruptly shut down on the second day though, when a Marcos win was obviously irreversible.
After only a day, however, the results were deleted from the website, but fortunately, not a few patriotic netizens took “screengrabs,” even videos of these.
The Manila Bulletin undertook an exactly similar Facebook poll from October 15 up to yesterday at 12 noon, and its results would likely have also been similar to that of Rappler’s if it had continued its poll.
Because of its polls, Rappler became the laughingstock of the cyber community, at the same time, though that the episode demonstrated its total dishonesty and bias for candidate Leni Robredo.
The Facebook poll was a clever, easy-to-do one using the platform’s system for readers to register their reactions to a post.
The candidates were each assigned emoticons and netizens were asked to click the emoticon for the candidate they chose to be the next president. Rappler’s poll was scheduled to run for three days, October 7 to 9.
The poll asked the question: “Who is your presidential bet for the 2022 elections?”
An amused emoji meant a vote for Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, a thumbs-up sign for Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, a heart emoji for Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo, a shocked emoji for Partido Federal ng Pilipinas standard-bearer former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., and a caring emoji for Sen. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao.
Although Robredo was winning in the first several hours, Marcos subsequently overtook her by double-digit percentages. What netizens found so anomalous, which they commented about hilariously, were two things.
First, while votes for Robredo appeared first as one scrolled down to see the votes, these practically disappeared when most emoticons appearing were for Marcos that, as one netizen who recorded and posted it on YouTube said, his fingertips hurt that he stopped.
This raised doubts that Rappler may be doing another classic “Smartmatic” maneuver, referring to widespread suspicions that Robredo won in 2016 because the company that ran the automated polling system rigged it for her to win.Examples of respondents voting for Robredo, many in Sanskrit and Arabic script. (Actual screenshots)
Second, and which netizens really made fun of, was the fact that those voting for Robredo had names that were obviously foreign, with many even unreadable, especially those in Sanskrit script.
Examples of such names, many even unpronounceable for us, that voted for Robredo were: Ta If Kh An, Mitu Bwoilo, Ni Rahul, Heli Ivri, Sadah Tahir, Atsayi Mponda, Rami Sm and Sino Track.
The conclusion was obvious: Robredo or Rappler or both were deploying troll farms, many of which are said to be in Pakistan and Nigeria. In contrast, there was no question that the votes for Marcos were by those with Filipino names.
The poll should tell Robredo and her Finks there’s no way she can win.
Even if the United States could manipulate the Nobel Committee to give the opposition’s high-profile de facto spokesman the peace prize to give her stature, it is no longer as powerful as during the Cory era to change the course of our history.
Even by deploying trolls, Robredo terribly lost in a poll dominantly participated in by, for lack of a better word, the “non-masses” (the core of which is the elite) whom most people had thought was Robredo’s political base.
If the “non-masses” even prefer Marcos, how much more would the masses who mostly have no access to the dominant Yellow print and TV media, which for three decades disseminated a “Marcos-was-an-evil-dictator” narrative8.
The ‘Manila Bulletin’ results at 12 noon yesterday (October 17, 2021).
The Bulletin was obviously taking a potshot at Rappler when it said in its announcement, “The survey will not be taken down and will be archived as we do this once a month.”
The Bulletin poll showed Marcos winning by a landslide, getting 72 percent of votes with Robredo just 24 percent. Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso was a far third with just 2 percent of the votes. Senators Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao and Panfilo “Ping” Lacson each got less than 1 percent. They should just quit.
If you have doubts that the Manila Bulletin rigged its polls, note that its publisher is Herminio “Sonny” Coloma, who was the late president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino 3rd’s very loyal occasional spokesman and the head of his Presidential Communications Operations Office throughout his term.
The Bulletin has had a tradition and a track record for being boringly nonpartisan to a fault.
Vloggers react to Rappler
Vloggers Maui Becker, Chika-Doro, and Kasangga Jay chided Rappler for its “attempt to deceive the public into believing that independent presidential aspirant Leni Robredo is now getting the support of netizens.”
Becker said Facebook and Rappler’s systems crashed when they allegedly tried to show that Robredo had garnered 100,000 to 150,000 online votes, far ahead of Marcos.
“Epic fail,” Becker said in a statement. She suspected that, as the administrator of Facebook Philippines, Rappler “had access to inactive accounts.” Becker claimed that Rappler “misused the authority by using those accounts to cast a vote after a check on those who clicked the heart emoji showed that they were mostly accounts of Pakistanis, Arab, poseurs, accounts without profile pictures, or fake accounts.”
“Itong survey na ginawa ng Rappler ay (This survey that Rappler made was a) real sabotage,” Chika-Doro said as he complained that he clicked the shocked emoji but his friends later told him that it was changed to heart, arousing suspicion that the auto-heart feature of the post was turned on.
Kasangga Jay said, “Nakakalungkot isipin na niloloko na naman tayo (It’s sad to think that we were being fooled by this) nitong biased press, biased media na ito.”
What got netizens rolling on the floor with laughter was when Rappler abruptly stopped its poll when Marcos’ margin over Robredo was getting wider every hour.
Rappler gave the very lame excuse, thinking their audience were stupid: “We realized that the poll was not aligned with our objectives, so we have decided to take it down.” As dishonest and arrogant as its chief executive officer, Maria Ressa.
That is, the poll showed Filipinos preferred Marcos over Robredo, which was not their objective, and therefore they took it down.