The 2016 end game
Following the Cebu debate, the 2016 presidential race is narrowing down to a choice between Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Sen. Grace Poe. Miriam Defensor Santiago’s health default, Jejomar Binay’s notes fiasco and Mar Roxas’ inability to connect to voters set the stage for a Poe-Duterte sprint to the finish line. The Garcias’ dumping of Binay as the local campaigning starts is yet another sign of the accelerating Binay slide.
Indeed, the Poe-Duterte emergence highlights the electorate’s thirst for change, repudiating the previous hegemony of the two entrenched political forces, President Aquino’s Liberal Party and Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance. As intense rivalries already require local aspirants to court voters for their personal support, the tightness of contests may dissuade candidates from asking voters to also support a national candidate even in places controlled by dynasts. The LP and UNA still control enough ground forces to effect command vote delivery. But social media is minimizing that capability—and could trigger a reversal of voter support come election day. In the Visayas and Mindanao, the Poe and Duterte organizations seem sufficiently deployed to counter such efforts, so Binay and Roxas may not be able to rely too much on PCOS-related gimmicks.
Given all the efforts to educate voters, we hope the Filipino vote can now mature. In this regard, we thank ventures like the annual Walkway Holy Week exhibit at High Street in Bonifacio Global City. Events like this help prepare for upcoming elections with questions and viewpoints that trigger introspections and evaluations. Last Holy Week’s 14 Walkway stations made us realize how voters need to make well-studied choices as the 2016 elections enter its last lap. Walking through High Street, we were reminded how “Huwag Kang Magnakaw!” has been continually violated by traditional politicians: Preventing these grafters from sucking out the lifeblood of the Filipino has to be one of our priorities. If this is done, it will eliminate at least two of the presidentiables. Applying the meaning of other commandments may eliminate two others.
It’s doubtful that the LP and UNA campaigns can still reverse their slide. If they somehow overcome their arrogant inertia and still win in May, then Filipinos must prepare for another six years of poverty, hunger and desperation.
That can’t be what Easter is all about. The hope generated by the self-destructive performance of Binay and Roxas should not be wasted.
—JOSE OSIAS, email@example.com
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