Election watch

There is a counter-move against the candidates of the administration. A campaign is being waged with only one message: don’t vote for any candidate endorsed by President Duterte or his daughter, Sara. The justification is that the election of his candidates in the Senate would pose a danger to democracy as these candidates will be beholden and subservient to him. That will place the country’s democratic check and balance in jeopardy.

The movement may not succeed in junking all of them but the rationale is to at least reduce the Duterte candidate votes either to put them out of the race or at the tail end. The Tatak Kalamay campaign runs smack against the independent planters who have no love for this administration.

Talks that Monico Puentevella is just saving himself and his son have been going around for days. Now someone with inside information confirmed that money being distributed is only for these two. The voter can choose whoever they want but must vote for father and son. This is not new. In the past it was “save the prince” now it is “save the dynasty.”

In effect other candidates of the MKK have to fend for themselves. Bacolod mayoralty candidate Jocelle Batapa-Sigue is right in not coalescing with the MKK but campaigns on her own strength. She does not have to carry a corrupted baggage. She is doing fine by herself, low-keyed and purposely directed on platform of “Change”. She has adopted a new style that will not impose on her another cabal that Evelio Leonardia had to carry for the rest of his political life.

The surveys tend to show that two ladies will vie for Number One in the senatorial race – Grace Poe and Cynthia Villar. Senator Poe is running independent while Villar is latched to the Duterte bandwagon. Whoever takes the lead will be a message to the next Senate. Will it be independent or will it be allied to Malacañang?

But whoever takes the topmost slot both ladies are of strong minds, experienced, industrious in their work, focused on mass appeal and popular issues and may not be easily swayed by Malacañang. However, Villar can establish rapport with President Duterte though not necessarily subservient considering her own constituency.

The 2022 elections might be a clash between the two. Their number of votes now will be decisive on who can possibly succeed Duterte in Malacañang, sans a declaration of martial law or power grab.

The strict implementation by the Comelec of radio and television time as well as the high cost of broadcast and print media have spared us from being bombarded with a lot of inanities but the social media is running amok with all sorts of propaganda. Politicians are thus using the internet to the maximum. Its only drawback is that the voters are unable to determine their truthfulness for lack of authorship. The case of “Bikoy” comes to mind.

It would be a great surprise if the Comelec placed E.B. Magalona under its control because one group threw ice and pebbles against their opponents but failed to impose control in Magallon (Moises Padilla) where three victims of political assassinations have jolted us to the realization that politics is thicker than blood.

When the PNP, the army and provincial officials recommended that the town should be placed under Comelec control, we thought that Comelec would act with dispatch considering the tense situation. But we were wrong. Is Comelec waiting for more blood to be shed in that hapless town?

Will President’s Duterte reported 72% satisfactory rating in the survey of March be translated into support for his senatorial candidates? Maybe but Filipinos are usually choosy about their candidates. His candidates are banking on the transference of support for Duterte to their quest for a Senate seat.

Is the so-called “Oust Duterte” matrix intended to generate active support for the President to prevent the opposition from gaining any ground? Journalists consider the matrix fake news but there is an alleged “downloader” in the hands of the NBI. If he talked, who will believe him if whatever he said was fake? The problem is the fate of those he would name as the ones who paid him to deliver it.

The Comelec had refused the National Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) full access to the voting. Doesn’t Comelec trust Namfrel enough?