I HAVE always been interested in election. There is excitement in knowing who won and lost after the arduous campaigning. The conduct and its results speak a lot of the attitude of Filipinos. If one will conduct a personality test, the election could serve very well as a source of data to make out of this personality. The fall of the Estradas this 2019 election, the victory of Isko Moreno in Manila, the wipe out of opposition senatorial candidates, and in this city, the exclusion of Atty. Maurico Domogan in the political landscape and entry of retired general Benjamin Magalong are the prominent election headliners that define the big shift in the understanding of leadership in the country.
The senatorial result clearly shows the influence of President Duterte. He is still favored and almost all those he raised hands during the campaign won. The other proof, not one of the opposition candidates coming from the “yellow party” made to the top 12. I thought ex-senators Bam Aquino and Mar Roxas would at least make it but even their popularity could not save them from the fall. I also know that Bato de la Rosa would become senator on Monday but just surprised to see him in the top five, same with Francis Tolentino taking the 9th rank. It’s their closeness to the president that dragged them there.
Duterte does not have the finesse expected from a high-ranking official but his action-oriented leadership is captivating the people. He had bashed several monumental institutions such as the Catholic faith and human rights but they were not enough to crush the trust of the majority especially the marginalized. Perhaps his unabashed style reflects more of the personality of the people because of its honesty and reality.
I do not agree with some views of the president especially on faith and human rights. It certainly affected my voting preference yet this disagreement is not enough to understand why the majority are fond of him. I also admire his political will. Many people voted for the administration senators because they want to minimize the critics of the president. Roxas and Aquino would definitely oppose many of his ideas but imagine Dela Rosa and Go, two Davaoeños, going against the President.
There is a great danger in eradicating the opposition of course, for check and balance purposes, but people are aware that when the opposition force is strong, projects and programs of the administration do not push through. The national election is becoming like a version of some local elections where many people vote for one party members only. This practice has been going on in many local areas. Calayan town is one of them but is it wrong? Only the same voters can answer.
The results of the local elections generated the same surprise. Some prominent political names were defeated and it is astonishing to think that the ordinary people called this judgment. Who would think that San Juan will not have an Estrada as a mayor? Since Erap Estrada became its mayor in 1967, the headship of the city had been led by Estradas until last Monday. Isko Moreno in Manila took a stand against former political ally Erap Estrada and against Alfredo Lim. Everyone one was predicting Estrada to be re-elected but the people of Manila had a different say.
In our dear Baguio City, long-time politician Mauricio Domogan bowed to re-electionist Mark Go in the congressional contest while retired police General Benjamin Magalong, a new name but a familiar face, stunned other candidates for the mayoralty race. (I take a heavy heart that Sir Rey Bautista did not make it but I congratulate him still for being and offering a great service to the people of Baguio).
Baguio City is one of the few cities in the country that is almost free of election-related irregularities. If there is vote-buying, which I did not hear, in the city, it was minimal. When people are free of external influences, they can follow their voting preferences and when this happens, they allow themselves to be guided by their principles. Many San Juan and Manila residents expressed their votes based on principle.
Few things stood out this midterm election. People have different approaches for the national and local elections. The local election results showed the liberalism (reason) of voters while the senatorial result showed a traditional attitude. In the local election, many traditional politicians lose. It can mean that people are giving chances to other leaders who maybe new perhaps have the ability to make reasonable changes. The winning of newcomers mean that people want a change or a new style of leadership. It can also speak that people are becoming critical of the leadership of long-time politicians. It means a lot of things and these are good signs that voters are turning to be responsible voters.
The national election cannot be deduced in the same way. Of the 12 winning senators, dela Rosa and Bong Go are the only newbies in politics. Their win can be attributed to the influence of Duterte. The majority are all famous political names in their respective localities/provinces. So the “new face” as a factor is not so much a basis although the utter disregard of Enrile can speak the contrary. In the national election, the only basis of the people I think was whether a candidate is pro or anti Duterte because Duterte does administrative while the senators only legislate laws.
Religion and faith were not so much factors on the senatorial elections. Most of the voters view that the support to the administrative senators or the lessening of opposition can fast track the actions of President Duterte. If there is one thing that Filipino wants, it is a concrete change. The Drug war maybe a little bit harsh but for many people, it describes the concrete change and fulfillment of a promise, a thing most politicians fail to do.
There are still celebrations today, until next week, or perhaps until the next three years. There are also disappointments, feeling a sense of loss, and frustrations of losing candidates and supporters. We cannot change this, it’s the rule of nature. We just hope the country wins with the election outcome. This election showed us a differ type of voters especially when looking at the local election results. When people are free to decide by themselves, they become more and more critical and perhaps responsible voters. We still have a long way to go to become fully responsible but at least we have taken a big stride this week.