Friday, September 17, 2021

Lobaton: Possibilities and the votes


ON THE road to the filing of certificate of candidacies (COCs) in the month of October, a lot of political rumors have been heard from political analysts and observers. Social media, which is the main mirror of future political activities, is filled with suggestive acts related to the preparation in the coming elections next year.

Although there is silence at the provincial level, rivalry is expected down in the towns and cities. Just like the elections in 2019 when at the provincial level there is alliance, this time it would seem that many are posturing to challenge some incumbents.

This is not a surprise because this will be a national election. Those who will run for national posts, need to get votes in the province, and so they need to put somebody who will carry their candidacy down at the grassroots level.

Inevitably, those with interests in the richness of our votes would need to set up their own machinery. This means they could either put up a candidate at the provincial level or focus on the towns and cities instead. If the candidate for a national position needs to be conservative about the outcome of his votes and his resources allow him to set up big machinery, then he could decide to put up a top-to-bottom structure.

As I can remember, many of our candidates seeking national posts, do not have to establish machinery similar to that of local candidates. They usually connect with their local coordinators, who might also be candidates to carry their names particularly when sample ballots for their machinery are printed.

The problem of those seeking national positions is when their local contacts are also busy with winning their own candidacy. The possibility that the national positions are just set aside and will not be given attention as there is intense contest at the local level. The mayors and their campaigners would usually prioritize themselves over others.

The same situation follows when there is rivalry at the provincial level and down to the towns and cities. Even when the candidate in the province would have the support of the incumbent town or city mayor, his candidacy will not be given attention in case there is high level of rivalry or the challenging candidate is strong. It is then left to the campaign team of those running for the top positions who might not have the grasp of the grassroots to study the situations and how they could convert votes in addition to the machinery of their local counterpart. In short, there is nothing wrong with establishing lines that could add more votes. The problem is when a candidate would assume to have more votes and ended up none of them converted at that time of voting. Should it become a close contest, votes are imperative from many other sources.

I remember instances that local incumbents won while those they support in the top positions had lost.

For the last two months before the filing in October, the political scene would be clearer for us to see who among are running for the national and local positions. We can also expect surprises on the way to the filing. There are some who are vocal for now and might end up not taking the route to the filing. While there are also who are very silent that would make some announcements at the last days of the filing or probably, without fanfare, would show up at the Comelec to submit their CoCs.

This electoral process would be different as compared with the past elections. It was in 2016 when we voted for the top national posts but there is yet no Covid-19 problem. The pandemic started in the early months of 2020 up to today. So this could pose a challenge to many Filipinos for both, the candidates and voters.

The problem with Covid-19 could be one of those factors for voters to consider. I just wish we still have that kind of discernment as it would be a lot of adjustments for us under the new environment of our political actors. I am sure we could not go back to the pre-pandemic environment. I am still seeing that threats of mutations and concerns on restoring the economy would dominate us even though we fast-track the vaccination process.


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