‘Strength in Numbers’

“Strength in Numbers” is the mantra of the Golden State Warriors who are currently playing the Toronto Raptors in the NBA Finals.  The Raptors are the reigning Eastern Conference champions and are making their first finals appearance.

While many Warriors and Bay Area basketball fans subscribe to the Strength in Numbers mantra, some sports analysts and broadcasters during the early part of this year’s postseason were quick to point out that the Strength in Numbers is a thing of the past.  This was what they said after all-stars Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins were injured and were declared unavailable to play.  The Warriors toughness and resiliency was then witnessed as other players stepped-up to compete.  The deep Warriors bench led to the elimination of the Houston Rockets and the Portland Trailblazers which then allowed the Warriors to march into this year’s finals.

The Toronto Raptors on the other hand are making their first finals appearance after a long 25-year wait.  They are led by veteran forward Kawhi Leonard, an all-star and a former finals MVP.

Strength in Numbers means having a mentality and a belief that a group of people have more influence or power compared to just one person.  In basketball and team sports lingo, it means that the whole team is responsible for winning the game or the championship.

I wonder if the Strength in Numbers mantra can be applied to the political realities and national situation in the Philippines.

I can see though that the Strength in Numbers mentality can also be used or manipulated to favor a certain political agenda or propaganda.  Take the case of the presidency of former Davao City mayor Rodrigo Duterte.  He was elected president of the Philippines after garnering 16,601,997 during the last presidential election there in 2016.  Now, his administration boasts that there were 16 million plus voters that put him power.

Strength in numbers?

What is not highlighted in the result of the 2016 presidential election in the Philippines is the fact that Duterte only received 39% of the total votes against the 60.9% total votes (or 25,950,838 total combined votes of the other presidential candidates).

When he started gaining 80% plus approval ratings in social surveys, the Duterte administration started making claims that his 16 million plus votes were the voice of the majority.  This narrative was extended to attacking and rejecting the past administration of Benigno Aquino III.

The fact is, when Aquino won the presidency in 2010, he garnered 42.08% of the total votes which was even higher than the 39% that Duterte received in 2016.

In the 2016 national election in the Philippines that catapulted Duterte to power, Aquino’s Liberal Party candidates and allies won majority of the seats in the senate and in the House of Representatives.  But of course, after Duterte’s victory as president was declared, turncoat-ism became the name of the game with elected officials switching their allegiance to Duterte and his party thus making his political party a super majority.

The Strength in Numbers analogy can also be applied to the recently concluded midterm election in the Philippines.

The Duterte administration’s narrative is that pro-Duterte senatorial candidates demolished the opposition, particularly the Liberal Party’s Otso Diretso.  It will now be strength in numbers for the pro-Duterte camp when the new senators join the incumbent ones after June 30, 2019.

Going back to the Strength in Numbers mantra of the Golden State Warriors, its true meaning and message implies that everyone is and should be involved in the process and that every team member has responsibilities and should be ready and prepared to contribute to the team when called upon to do so.  It’s about team play— it’s about unselfishness.  It’s about being inclusive, it’s about recruiting others to the cause.  It’s not about tyranny of the majority.

During this past election in the Philippines, the campaign has awakened more Filipinos and a number of them have been enlightened that there are more things to be done for the nation and the people— and that Filipinos need to be more vigilant and creative in protecting and advancing their democracy.

The call to be vigilant is now.  Build strength and generate more numbers and advocates who will subscribe to the proposition of building a better Philippines.

 

Jojo Liangco is an attorney with the Law Offices of Amancio M. Liangco Jr. in San Francisco, California.  His practice is in the areas of immigration, family law, personal injury, civil litigation, business law, bankruptcy, DUI cases, criminal defense and traffic court cases.  Please send your comments to Jojo Liangco, c/o Law Offices of Amancio “Jojo” Liangco, 605 Market Street, Suite 605, San Francisco, CA 94105 or you can call him (415) 974-5336.  You can also visit Jojo Liangco’s website at www.liangcolaw.com.