Wednesday, September 26, 2007 [ 9:33 AM ]
PR GOING WRONG
If there is one thing that the controversy of the National Broadband Network project that the government signed with China’s ZTE Corporation did to this administration, it was to give its PR team and political spinners a startling uppercut.
In boxing there is what they call a lucky punch. In basketball there is the lucky shot and the friendly roll. In both cases, you didn’t really expect your opponent would make it but they managed to. That same thing happened to team gma. They never thought that this broadband contract will make it this big and that the opposition and the public will want more expose about it than the Hello Garci controversy.
It has been too late for them to realize that the broadband deal is coming to hit them straight in the face. The first indication that they already felt it was only the day before Jose De Venecia III appeared before the senate and testified how his president’s husband told him to back off with the deal. Mike Arroyo suddenly flew out of the country. A sudden move that just made things very obvious it was like they poured gasoline to fire.
Possibly because of their outrage on JDV3’s revelations, GMA’s allies in the House planned to oust Jose De Venecia from the speakership. Another sudden move that the PR managers of the administration never thought will backfire on them. It was again too late for them to realize that JDV still has strong influence in the lower house that might complete the magic number of the opposition to pursue an impeachment attempt against the president. This again was an attempt that made things look like the administration is hiding something because they withdrew it the moment they sensed JDV’s power.
At this point, nothing seems to go in favor of the administration. So to rub out the speculations that they are really hiding something, Mrs.Arroyo decided to allow all her cabinet members to attend the senate investigation on the broadband deal. That was what gma or her advisers thought. Because after being placed under scrutiny, the cabinet members seemed to confirm that the broadband deal is a waste of taxpayers’ money.
Because of the political noise as gma herself said, she suspended the contract. It was here where I realized that gma’s PR team was really rattled and confused. They chose to suspend a contract that was already suspended by the Supreme Court. As Ricky Carandang and the Inquirer editorial said, it was a plain publicity move that the people didn’t buy. Even General Hermogenes Esperon discharged speculations of coup attempt and even martial law thoughts just to be able to divert the issue.
Gma’s political advisers and press relations people is one of the best I’ve seen. Maybe that’s because I’ve only seen a few but it cannot be denied that during the height of the Hello Garci controversy in 2006 they managed to pull off the right spins to prevent another uprising despite the people’s outrage. That was before. Now, with the way things are going and the way they are doing their hastily moves, it looks like they cannot always be lucky especially when caught off guard.
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