"Political dynasties are just like oligarchs."
The recent midterm elections, for all its machine glitches, was declared as successful by the Commission on Elections and “generally peaceful” by the Philippine National Police. But voters who lined up under the intense heat of the sun know better than the self-serving statement of the Comelec and the PNP.
Foremost among the people who suffered the glitches of the vote counting machines was former Vice President Jejomar Binay whose ballot was not accepted by the VCM even after it was inserted into the machine eight times with the help of Comelec workers.
“Can you imagine what it’s like for the ordinary citizen if this can happen to the former No. 2 official of the land?” fumed former VP Binay. To makes the day worse, Binay lost his bid for a congressional seat in Makati to former acting Mayor Romulo “”Kid” Peña. Jojo Binay’s grief was somewhat consoled by the poll victory of daughters Abby as Makati mayor and Nancy taking the 12th and last spot in the Senate.
In a sense, the Binays were not as unfortunate as the Estrada’s political dynasty with Erap losing to former Manila vice mayor Franciso Domogoso, more known as Isko Moreno in Manila, sons and half siblings Jinggoy Estrada and JV Ejercito losing their bid for the Senate. It’s the same story in San Juan, the Estradas’ bailiwick, where the Estradas were totally wiped out by the Zamoras who could be the new political dynasty in San Juan and Mandaluyong. In Laguna, ER Ejercito lost his return bid as governor against Ramil Hernandez.
I watched the election coverage of the three major TV networks. It as a sight to see former Ilocos Sur Rep. Bingbong Crisologo and his son in handcuffs. The police claimed father and son obstructed police operation against vote buying, allegedly by the Crisologos who lost as Quezon City mayor to Joy Belmonte. Belmonte was backed by the Iglesia ni Cristo religious sect.
I don’t have anything personal against Bingbong but it’s indeed good to see a former strongman manacled no matter who.
Political dynasties are just like the oligarchs. One oligarch is simply replaced by another set of oligarchs. Yesterday the Crisologos, now the Singsons. The Estradas have been replaced by the Zamoras.
What is the significance of the 2019 mid term polls? To this observer of Philippine politics, this is crucial and a prelude to the 2022 presidential race after the end of Duterte’s term. This early, Senate topnotcher Cynthia Villar must by eyeing the post of Senate President as the first woman to hold the third highest government position. For sure, she is positioning herself as president in 2022.
But landing at the top in senatorial polls does not necessarily translate into getting elected president. Ask Mar Roxas, who was the runner-up to Duterte in 2016 yet didn’t make it as senator in this years’s midterm elections.
So, will Cynthia Villar go for the presidency or give way to husband Manny Villar who only placed fourth behind Grace Poe and Miriam Defensor Santiago?
The victory of the Duterte-endorsed senatorial candidates, particularly Christopher “Bong” Go, Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa and Francis Tolentino does not really mean Digong’s popularity carried them to the Senate. This is more case of realpolitik. Congressmen, senators and local government officials know they have to toe the Palace line to get funds from the administration for their public works projects since the President still has three years left in his year term.
Watch this turncoats gravitate to Cynthia Villar’ s Nacionalista Party by 2020. This is a classic case of realpolitik. You go where the money is—and politicians have a strong sense of smell when it comes to the smell of money. It’s a sixth sense to them.