The 2016 Philippine Elections will probably go down as the least satisfying one in recent years. In nearly all local polls except for Manila, Makati and other towns, the incumbents are up against non-opponents guaranteeing their victory. In the senatorial race the name of the game is name recall, where incumbent and past senators would have the advantage. In this race fresh faces would come in but they have to play the game of name recall. This is why the senatoriables neophytes are more eager to participate in debates and do interviews since they need the exposure.
In this election the pretence of party philosophy have been shed off and reveal what these political parties are – an alliance of political families and political personalities intent primarily on winning the elections first and fulfilling promises later or none at all. This is what Philippine Politics is without the veneer of nationalism and belief – faces and families.
Admittedly, This has been probably the case ever since the Legaspi and company landed in the country but never has been a national election, save for the Marcos – Santos Presidential election, so dismally short of promise.
Binay, the Vice President is a veteran politician who was originally a street parliamentarian and a human rights advocate whose fortune changed when Cory Aquino came to power. He become Mayor of Makati and his family stills holds political power over that city. In the last presidential election he beat Mar Roxas in the Vice-Presidential race. And now he is running for president and he is plagued by the issue of political dynasty and alleged corruption, highlighted by the longest hearing of a senate blue ribbon sub-committee. These allegations and his presidential ambitions have compromised his image. However, despite this he has done well in the latest surveys from the SWS and Pulse Asia.
Grace Poe, Senator and presidential candidate is one the fresh face in this election. The daughter of the late actor and cheated presidential candidate Fernando Poe Jr has rose meteorically from being a citizen to the number one senator during the last election. She become popular with a number of people because of her stance and investigation in two key issues the MRT and the Mamasapano Massacre. Citizen Poe had promise as the fresh face in the presidential race however it was after she declared her candidacy that moves were made to tarnish her image. Poe’s citizen was questioned and this led to case before the Supreme Court. The tarnished Poe has been left by Binay in the survey results and at present she has not escaped the political crows pecking at her because of her citizenship.
Duterte, Mayor and presidential candidate is another fresh face in the election. If Grace Poe promises a presidency of compassion, Duterte on the other hand promises an iron fist approach to the presidency, a promise alluring to voters seeking solutions to crime and corruption. However, Duterte’s promised Iron Presidency scares also a number of people. Also his salt of the Earth personality endears him to one group also alienates him from another. These and his initial wishy-washiness in announcing his presidential run has had a negative effect on his image.
Mar the technocrat and the President’s anointed presidential candidate should have the advantage, well he should have if there was a surplus of good will for the Aquino government. However, the Aquino government version 2 has everything but goodwill from the public. Daang Matuwid could not recover from its self-inflicted wounds the DAP, MRT woes; traffic and the Mamasapano Massacre. It does not help that Mar of all candidates is the least colourful and perceived to be the most weak. His inaction after Mamasapano cemented this image of weakness. This is probably why Constant Mar has been constantly at the third row of the presidential surveys. Even the machinations from committee of ungentlemanly political warfare will not solve this: The strategy of Dagdag Bawas will not be enough and the strategy of Victory by Disqualification would have disastrous and terminal impact.
So here we are confronted by presidentiables who are not so presidential. What to do? What to do?
Despite what all the campaigns and spins say it will boil down to how one’s view the Aquino Government and what seems best for the country in one’s eyes. Some of us who feel the Aquino has failed and sinned its ABM – Anyone But Mar; Some of us who hate Binay will go ABB – Anyone But Binay; Some of us who fear Duterte will go ABD – Anyone But Duterte; And some of us who feel Grace Poe is not qualified will go ABP- anyone but Poe. In the end the less-evil president would be elected or in Tagalog ang Pangulong Pwede Na.