On the 2016 Elections (4th of a series)

presidentiables

Down to 5 presidential aspirants (in alphabetical order, not the writer’s order of preference)… Binay, Duterte, Poe, Roxas, and Santiago. With only three months left before the elections, the presidential race is beginning to heat up. Things will get more exciting once the official campaign period kicks off.

The bets for the presidency  have already bared their platforms of government for the scrutiny of the voting populace. They, even if the official campaign period is yet to begin,  have been posting and airing their respective campaign ads in print, broadcast and social media with each of them attempting to convince the electorate that he/she is the best and most qualified to lead the country in the next six years. They are taking turns in courting the voters promising, as usual, the moon and the stars should they get elected. They and their legion of supporters have been making rounds in the provinces holding meetings and performing activities intended to increase their chances of winning. Their respective “dirty tricks departments” have been doing their best as well to open their opponents’ cans of worms to tarnish their reputation and make them less competitive.

Analyses and results of pre-election surveys show how fickle-minded are the voters. Different candidates ended at the top of voting preference at different period of times.

Had elections been held a couple of years ago Binay would have won. However, his popularity bubble burst when pricked by accusations of corruption hurled against him and his family. His place as the most preferred presidential aspirant was taken over by Poe whose ascension to the Senate was undoubtedly aided by the popularity of her father, the late Fernando Poe, Jr., the action king of Philippine cinema. It is also the FPJ factor that may catapult her to the most powerful seat in Malacañang.

But the voter preference meter for the 2016 elections suffered another fluctuation when Poe was said to have actually renounced her Filipino citizenship some years back to become an American thereby making her technically not qualified to seek the highest position in the land. When COMELEC barred Poe from running for President for the aforementioned, down went her numbers in the surveys.

It was at that juncture that Duterte’s popularity started to gain ground. The Filipinos who are tired of decades of cronyism, patronage and political compromises saw a glimmer of hope in the feisty mayor of Davao city. Duterte saw his steady climb in the surveys which made him finally decide to throw his hat into the presidential derby after dillydallying for sometime.

However, he committed a serious blunder that may have permanently damaged his quest for the presidency. In one of his trademark verbal outbursts, he was construed to have cursed Pope Francis. It did not sit well with the Filipinos, most of whom are devout Catholics. As to whether Duterte’s candidacy recovers from that miscue or not will be made known after the 2016 presidential joust.

The other candidate known for feistiness is Santiago. She continues to occupy the bottom of election surveys and it is believed that it may take a miracle for her to say that “the third time’s the charm.” Santiago is seeking the presidency for the third time.

Quietly lurking on the shadows of the leaders in the surveys is the administration’s bet, Roxas. He has yet to occupy the top of the voters’ preference but make no mistake about it, he is seriously contending for the presidency. He has no less than the backing of the government ran by the members of the political party where he belongs and the endorsement of the incumbent President. However, such endorsement from a President who has been making some unpopular decisions as of late may be seen more as a kiss of death rather than a shot in Roxas’ arms. But who knows if the Cory factor still weaves a political magic. The yellow army of Cory Aquino may have not forgotten yet how he unselfishly gave way to Noynoy during the 2010 elections.

Santiago and Poe know too well how is it to run against an administration bet. The former  lost to Fidel V. Ramos in the 1992 elections and the latter’s father, FPJ, failed in his presidential bid against Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in the 2004 polls. Both Santiago and FPJ led the pre-election surveys. Even early election results then showed them leading comfortably. But they both ended up runner-ups to the eventual winners. They cried foul to high heavens but to no avail.

The most recent (January-2016) Pulse Asia survey shows Poe on top again. This came on the heels of the Supreme Court’s decision declaring that the COMELEC can’t  cancel Poe’s candidacy (yet). Surpisingly,  Roxas, statistically tied Binay, and Duterte at 2nd place. While Roxas was up 3 points from his 17 percent rating in December, 2015, Binay and Duterte suffered a decline of 10 points and 3 points, respectively. Poe’s ratings jumped by nine points from 21 percent raising speculations (and fears) that she might win come May 9.

So, will there finally be a “Poe” in Malacañang in 2016? Not if the other contenders can help it. Binay and Duterte, however, must seriously do some damage control for the issues bedevilling them at the moment. Roxas on his part is uncertain whether being identified with an administration whose gains in the economic front  were stained by the blood of 44 members of the Special Action Force who got killed in the Mamasapano encounter and cursed by the country’s senior citizens whose hopes of getting an additional P2,000 monthly pension was vetoed by the very President who endorsed his candidacy. Santiago, on the other hand,  need to dish out a magical performance out of her bag of political theatrics in order to convince the voters that she’s got what it takes to be a President of the Philippine Republic.

As it is, those leading in the pre-election surveys may have the edge yet nobody knows for sure who will win. But one thing certain and inevitable, just three more months and Noynoy will relinquish the presidency to whoever wins the 2016 Elections.

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About Hardpen

Teacher-Writer Hardpen is my nom de plume. My real name is Massuline Antonio Dupaya Ligaya. Many times I was asked the question, "Why do you write?" I don't write for rewards nor adulation. When I write poems, stories or essays, seeing them completed gives me immense joy and satisfaction. The happiness and sense of fulfillment I feel when completing my works are my rewards. When I teach, I don't work but I play. The classroom is my playground, the students are my playmates, and the subject is our toy. Proud to be me! Proud to be a FILIPINO! TO GOD BE THE GLORY!

Posted on February 7, 2016, in Philippine Elections, Philippine Politics, Philippines and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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