Don’t split vote for President, VP | Inquirer Opinion

Don’t split vote for President, VP

/ 05:05 AM January 14, 2022

The Philippines is one of those few countries that allow its candidates for president and vice president to be elected separately. In most countries with a presidential form of government, a presidential candidate and his/her running mate are elected into office as a tandem.

Being able to split your vote for the two top positions allows for the possibility of electing a president and a vice president from two different, if not opposing, political parties. In fact, out of the four elections since the ratification of the 1987 Constitution, three out of four resulted in a president whose vice president was not his running mate.


This state of affairs is likely to cause a problem as there is always a likelihood that the president and the vice president might end up working at cross purposes to each other. As they are from different parties, both are thereby backed by distinct and different interests.

Perhaps the president and the vice president may personally be able to get along fine with each other, but what about their people, the parties supporting them, and the interests they represent and pursue? Furthermore, it is one thing if they come from different parties, how much more would those political and policy differences be in conflict if the vice president represents the opposition?


This is exactly the situation faced by the country following the outcome of the 2016 elections. To say that the working relationship between President Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo is somewhat tense would be an understatement. Enlarge that dynamic further to include the supporters and political parties behind each official, the conflict of interests in terms of policy formulation and implementation between the two factions are apparent.

Ideally, the vice president should be working in tandem with the president as both represent the executive branch of the government. This is why most countries elect their two top officials under a single ticket so that they will be aligned in terms of carrying out programs and attaining policy objectives. It isn’t the role of the vice president to serve as a check and balance to the president, that is the role of the legislative and judicial branches of the government.

However, I would not fault President Duterte and Vice President Robredo for their actions as it is the system that has placed them in this situation. Both officials have their obligations to their respective political parties and their political base which just so happens to be in opposition to one another.

If one does not like the present situation, then do not lay blame on the President or the Vice President, as both have to remain true to the expectations of the people that supported them and elected them into office. If we want to avoid this situation from happening, then we must address the flaw in the system. This is what the Americans did when they ratified the 12th Amendment to the US Constitution in 1804, to prevent the likelihood of having a president and a vice president from two different political parties.

Unfortunately for the Philippines, there is no time to amend the Constitution so we can fix this flaw in the system as the elections are just a few months away. Well, is there even an interest to fix this problem? Whatever the case, the coming elections hold a number of interesting potential outcomes. Just imagine the situation between a President Leni Robredo and Vice President Sarah Duterte, or a President Bongbong Marcos and Vice President Kiko Pangilinan?

For close to six years now, we have experienced what it is like to have a president with a vice president who is from the opposition. What happens in the next election will all boil down to the voters. If you want your president and vice president working together in pursuit of common agenda and policies, then don’t split your vote for president and vice president, don’t vote for personalities but vote for what the tandem represents.


Moira G. Gallaga served three Philippine presidents as presidential protocol officer, diplomatically posted to Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles and Philippine Embassy in Washington, DC.

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TAGS: #VotePH2022, 2022 elections, national elections, presidential elections, Vice President
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