"Are the people happy with the President? The results of Monday’s election say a lot."
Monday’s election was a referendum on President Rodrigo Duterte’s performance in the past three years, and whether he made good on the promises he made while he was still running for president.
There are the issues of how the economy is going, and how Mr. Duterte is safeguarding the national territory and defending the Constitution, and dealing with poverty and joblessness.
If the administration’s senatorial candidates win, then it would mean that the people are happy about the President’s performance.
I have been a journalist for almost seven decades. I have seen results of presidential and midterm elections that went against what the mainstream surveys predicted. This is not to say that these polls should not be believed. They reflect the will of the people at any given time.
But the possibility of the President’s favorite candidates, Bong Go and Bato dela Rosa, being part of the Magic 12 is an indication that the people are indeed satisfied with the President.
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The outcome of yesterday’s polls can depend on a lot of things. In an earlier column, I mentioned several imponderables or developments that cannot be quantified or expected.
There is, for instance, the youth vote, which might determine whether the administration slate makes a sweep. We should not disregard the youth vote as shown in mock polls. There is also the social media factor.
Another imponderable is the practice of vote buying, which was prevalent. While this does not hold much sway among Senate candidates, they can make the difference in local elections. In turn, this can affect the results of national candidates.
This is the reason why all elections are local.
Vote buying does not always depend on a local candidate. This can be done in bulk through barangay officials. Sources say that a barangay official can peddle votes for anywhere between P1,000 and P2,000.
Another imponderable is the presence of private armies and some corrupt policemen.
Lastly, do not discount the presence of Little Garcis through bawas-dagdag or dagdag-bawas. My gulay, there are so many ways of cheating!
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What I find difficult to understand, knowing that the majority of the people are still satisfied with President Duterte, is why he appears to be paranoid that some sectors are out to oust him.
That alleged matrix that came out in a friendly newspaper, tagging some journalists and lawyers critical of the President’s war on drugs, and yet another matrix made public by Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo and Communications official Martin Andanar, show this paranoia.
I wanted to laugh—but they were not funny.
That latter matrix involving sports personalities Gretchen Ho and Hidilyn Diaz was so absurd. And then Panelo blamed the media for misinterpreting said involvement. With a spokesman like Panelo, who needs enemies?
Mr. Duterte should just ignore criticism.
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I wonder: What can the President’s favorite senatorial candidates, Bong Go and Bato dela Rosa, contribute to the Senate?
The Senate will just continue to be under the thumb of the President. And this will be a tragedy. This is what I fear most. We need a Senate that is independent and that will check and balance the Executive.
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If there is anything significant with the results of yesterday’s election, it’s the prevalence of political dynasties. Families have dominated politics for years. Worse, many candidates ran unopposed since their rivals has been bought out or were unable to compete.
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Here’s a travesty: The Comelec’s decision to grant the Nacionalista Party the status of the main minority party.
How could the NP be a majority when it is part of the majority party, PDP-Laban?
Only in the Philippines, indeed.