IN THE CNN Philippines sponsored debate last April 27, the administration senatorial bets were clobbered by the members of the Otso Diretso team in almost all issues affecting the country. But will the Otso Diretso bets get the vote?
My friend, Pachico A. Seares made an interesting analysis by invoking precedents and made this conclusion: “All that affirms a fact of recent history: a popular president gets most of the Senate seats which is not good for the Otso Diretso candidates.”
Political events are always influenced by factors and imponderables. The endorsement by a popular (or notorious), president can dictate the outcome of senatorial elections. Thus, the authentic popularity of President Cory Aquino assured the victory of 22 of 24 bets; the genuine popularity of Noy Aquino plus his economic performance, made 9 out of his 12 senatorial candidates win.
With all due respect, I cannot agree with the conclusion that the Duterte factor in 2019, like the Cory magic in 1987, could work. Here are my reasons:
There is no doubt that in her time, Cory was well-loved as an icon of democracy. Duterte is not loved, he is feared. Thus, during election surveys, voters out of fear, would answer their interviewers contrary to what they will do on election day.
Several factors have lately dented the “popularity” of Duterte. The water shortage in Metro Manila, the power crisis in Luzon, the unchecked prices of fuel which have caused the rise of prime commodities, the people’s realization that the war on drugs is a sham because only the poor are victimized while the powerful go scot-free, the rising tide of criminality, the arrival of illegal Chinese immigrants, the creeping intrusion of China into the West Philippine sea, - these will be translated into negative votes against the administration candidates.
The political perception of young and idealistic voters has changed dramatically. This was shown in the various mock elections in USC, UP Diliman, UP Los Baños, UST, UP Baguio, and other universities in the country where all the Otso Diretso candidates made it to the winning circle, led by Dean Chel Diokno.
There is now a growing disenchantment in the ranks of labor which have been ardent admirers of Duterte. Millions of laborers say they have been fooled by Duterte’s pre-election promise to end contractualization. This will be translated into votes for the opposition Otso Diretso candidates in the coming May 13 elections.
The International Born Again Christian groups numbering millions have lately cast their support for Otso Diretso.
The Catholic Church is another factor why the Otso Diretso bets will win. Because of their stand against extra-judicial killings, Duterte made the lives of bishops and priests miserable by his uncouth threats against them. What is worse, he has attacked the dogma of the Church and even called the Christian God “stupid.” Although, they are not campaigning in the pulpits, the priests are secretly working for the Otso Diretso bets.
All these and more, plus the admirable patriotism and sacrifices of the more than 100,000 volunteers all over the country will propel the Otso Diretso bets to victory. (By Democrito C. Barcenas)