"I am sure he can decipher these."
This early, one can predict with some confidence who the next president of the Philippines will be in 2022. The 17th president is Ferdinand “Bongbong” Romualdez Marcos Jr.
Per surveys, the only son and namesake of the Philippines’ longest serving president has built up a commanding, almost insurmountable, lead in the presidential race.
The likelihood is that for the first time since Ferdinand Marcos won reelection to the presidency with 62.24 percent in 1969, we will have a majority president.
This will reverse the trend since 1986 where the president either grabbed the position (through revolutionary or extra constitutional means, like what Corazon Aquino did in 1986 and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in 2001) or won it by a minority plurality (usually by 40 percent of the vote, or less) as it happened with Fidel V Ramos in 1992 (23.58 percent); Joseph Estrada in 1998 (39.86 percent); Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in 2004 (39.99 percent); Benigno S. Aquino III in 2010 (42.08 percent); and Rodrigo Duterte in 2016 (39.01 percent).
In effect, for 35 years since 1986, the Philippines has been ruled by only two kinds of presidents: one, illegally installed and two, minority elected. All the presidents since 1986 did not have a mandate of the majority of the people. If democracy is the rule by the majority, then, we have not been a democracy.
Bongbong thus promises to be our first democratically elected president since 1969. He will have an enormous mandate, one that could enable him to unify the country and reach out to the minority. And be vigorous in solving the country’s enormous problems.
In the PSRC survey of October 2021 (1,800 respondents), the young Marcos got 57 percent of possible votes for president, if elections were held today. Leni Robredo managed just 15 percent, and Isko Moreno 11.
In Publicus Asia’s online Pahayag survey, also in October 2021 (1,500 respondents), Marcos received 49 percent, Robredo 21 percent, and Moreno 9 percent.
These are remarkable outcomes.
In March this year (2021), Bongbong was leading, but by small margins, if at all. In the Laylo survey of March 2021. BBM had just 16 percent of the vote, Manny Pacquiao 10 percent, with Isko Moreno as the likely winner, with 20 percent.
In the SWS survey of June 2021, BBM’s 16 was second place to Isko Moreno’s 19 percent, with Leni breathing down his neck with 12 percent and Pacquiao almost tied with Leni with 11 percent. Pulse Asia in May 2021 showed Moreno winning comfortably, 27 percent, over BBM, 22 percent, with Leni and Manny both losing ground at 8 percent.
In the SWS poll of August 2021, BBM began catching up with Moreno, 20 percent vs. 23 percent, with Leni 12 percent, and Manny Pacquiao 11 percent.
In the same month (August), Pulse Asia showed BBM gaining the upper hand for the first time with a solid 25 percent of possible votes, edging out Dumagoso 19 percent, Robredo 14 percent, and Pacquiao 10 percent.
SWS in September 2021 showed BBM winning with 24 percent, Isko No. 2 with 20 percent, Leni third with 17 percent, and Pacquiao fourth with 15 percent.
Then, something happened after September 2021. The Pharmally corruption was exposed. People got fed up with Rodrigo Duterte’s severe lockdowns (which were worse than Marcos’s martial law of 1972-1984), BBM went on to double his survey ratings to exceed 50 percent, while his rivals all faltered.
Today, even if all of Bongbong’s rivals get together (an impossibility), the strongman’s son still wins hands down.
Can Bongbong’s lead be whittled down to make him lose? In the Publicus survey with 1,500 respondents, only two percent of Marcos’s voters will change their mind. Bong Go in the same survey had 6.5 percent of his voters going to change their mind. The change of mind ratio of voters of Isko is 2.9 percent, Leni 1.3 percent, and Ping Lacson 4.6 percent.
The same Publicus Asia survey of Nov. 16-18, 2021 (after Sara agreed to be his vp) showed BBM with 56.7 percent of the vote nationwide, vs 15.4 percent for Leni, 6.9 percent for Isko, 4.1 percent for Bong Go, 3.0 percent for Pacquiao, and 2.9 percent for Lacson. BBM led in all regions—50.3 percent NCR, 60.3 percent North Central Luzon, 46.2 percent Southern Luzon, 54.7 percent Visayas, and 70 percent in Mindanao.
So what are the problems a President Marcos will encounter? Albay Rep. Joey Salceda vibered this message to me:
1. Second agricultural revolution (government support harmonization, farmer and land consolidation, condonation of agrarian reforms loans)
2. Science and technology and R/D for change (S4CP)
3. Digital transformation and national broadband network
4. Education: Learner nutrition, teacher empowerment, optional K-12, stronger ALS
5. TESDA skills over college diplomas, Meister schools
6. Filipinos on the move: Rural infrastructure, mass public transportation
7. Indigenous and renewable energy
8. Healthcare reforms: Health for all
9. Quality housing for all
10. Universal basic income through UCT, TUPAD unemployment insurance and sustainable livelihood
11. Rule of institutions: Rules-based, science-based, data-driven
12. Foreign investments and domestic competition – breaking up oligarchs and cartels
13. MSMEs of the future: Business incubation, India model of fund-of-funds, and entrepreneurial class
14. Rurbanization: Countryside development and optimizing devolution
15. BBB for creative industries (Korean model)
16. Stronger foreign relations with US, India and Israel, ASEAN, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and optimize economic ties with China
17. Modernizing public-private partnerships beyond infrastructure
18. A tax system for the 21st century: Reforms against tax evasion and smuggling, loopholes in the digital economy, and base erosion and profit shifting
19. Deeper and broader capital and financial market: Make every Filipino family an investor
20. Credible and sophisticated national security: Responding to emerging threats and unconventional enemies.
Some of the Top 20 lists have jargon. But then BBM can decipher these, his Oxford training notwithstanding.