"We do not need these candidates. It is they who need us!"
Over a week ago, mock elections among students were held. They were asked to vote for their 12 favored senatorial candidates.
Contrary to every previous survey released by the two mainstream survey firms, Social Weather Stations and Pulse Asia, opposition candidates, the “Ocho Diretso,” came out on top. Administration candidates hardly made it.
This comes as no surprise. I have seen elections in my nearly seven decades as a journalist and it has been proven that the youth vote could differ from the masa vote.
My gulay, we won’t go far back: Just look at the data from the 2016 mock elections. At Ateneo, Manuel “Mar” Roxas II won with 37.22 percent of the votes.
At the University of the Philippines, the late Miriam Defensor Santiago took the top spot with 57.04 percent of the votes.
Roxas and Santiago were graduates of these respective schools where they topped the polls.
Lawyers Chel Diokno and Neri Colmaneras also ranked high in the University of the Philippines Diliman, Manila and Baguio campuses.
But that bias is not limited to school spirit. Another one doing remarkably well in the university mock polls is reelectionist Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, who is currently dangling at the edge of the Magic 12 in the SWS and Pulse Asia. Among students, Bam Aquino regularly figures in the Top 5, usually neck-in-neck with the supposed youth favorite, former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay.
While Bam is undoubtedly one of the finest and most accomplished Ateneo alumnus, his appeal among students is predictable. After all, he is the principal sponsor of the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act, otherwise known as Free Tuition Law. Santa Banana, if that does not score points with the youth, I don’t know what else will!
Christopher Lawrence Go who is consistently among the Top 5 in the mainstream surveys seems to have nothing to offer to youth voters. Students definitely go by a different lens.
Other names who failed to make it in the mock polls were Lito Lapid, Ronald dela Rosa, Imee Marcos, Bong Revilla, and Jinggoy Estrada.
My gulay, even in these survey results, you can see opposing views between the idealistic youth and the general populace! The youth value different things, and expect certain qualities from their candidates.
Ultimately, mock elections and surveys, big or small, commercial or independent, will always be biased or slanted in some way.
We must remember that many have fought and died for the democracy that we enjoy today. Respect yourself and your right to vote. Deliberate over your choice and think hard how it will affect you and your country.
There are so many imponderables in our elections it’s really impossible to predict who will win.
I already mentioned the youth vote. There are also bloc votes like the Iglesia ni Cristo and the El Shaddai.
There is also cheating, whether we like it or not. It occurs when votes are transmitted from precincts to the provincial and then to the Comelec. There are always little Garcellanos at Comelec. This is where dagdag-bawas comes in.
And then, there is of course, vote-buying which occurs in every election. The people you see loitering around at the precincts are not there to have fun seeing people voting. There are waiting for people to buy their votes,
My gulay, in my almost 70 years as a journalist, I have seen it all.
We do not need these candidates. It is they who need us!
I have said from the start that this midterm election could be a referendum on President Duterte.
The fact that he is getting excellent trust and satisfaction ratings shows this. And if Bong Go and Bato dela Rosa win, that means the President still holds sway.
Usually in a midterm election, people make a decision on whether or not to accept the endorsement of the President.
But what I cannot understand is the President’s paranoia over destabilization. A friendly newspaper came out with a report on an alleged matrix composed of journalists and lawyers critical of the President’s war on illegal drugs.
How can there be destabilization when the President enjoys such high ratings?
The Supreme Court has ordered the Duterte administration to protect, preserve and rehabilitate the marine environment in the West Philippine Sea. It issued a writ of kalikasan and compelled concerned government agencies to actively protect marine life in Panatag Shoal, Ayungin Shoal and Panganiban Reef.
This ruling by the Supreme Court is actually in compliance with the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague.
Despite this victory, China has been claiming the territory as its own.
But with this order by the High Court, the government is compelled to comply with such enforcement pursuant to our Constitution and principles of international law.
The ball is now in Duterte’s court.