Duterte, Marcos lead show 'grievance politics': analyst

Magno Ardenia, ABS-CBN News

A political analyst said the country is now witnessing "grievance politics," following recent surveys hailing presidential candidate Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and vice presidential hopeful Senator Bongbong Marcos as top contenders.

In the April 5 to 10 Pulse Asia survey commissioned by ABS-CBN, Duterte has continued his lead with 32 percent, way ahead of Senator Grace Poe who came in second with 25 percent.

Marcos has also kept the lead with 27 percent, while Senator Chiz Escudero and Congresswoman Leni Robredo are statistically tied at second place with 23 percent and 21 percent, respectively.

READ: Duterte extends lead in latest ABS-CBN survey

Speaking on Mornings @ ANC, De La Salle University Professor Richard Heydarian said Duterte and Marcos' high votes show that people are already sick of the current political status quo, prompting them to look for an alternative leadership.

“What we’re seeing right now is grievance politics whereby the high vote that Duterte and Marcos have, particular among the middle class here in NCR Region, in a lot of ways is also protestful, it’s a kind of polite slap on the face of status quo, saying that ‘we’re sick and tired, we want something different’,” he said.

He added this "grievance politics" at present is not unique to the Philippines, with people from many other countries "rising and trying to tell the elites that 'either you’re gonna change your ways or we’re gonna go with outside the box kind of candidates'.”

"In the US, with the rise of Bernie Sanders and Trump, in the case of Peru, you have the daughter of former dictator Fujimori, Keiko, now more likely the winner of their upcoming election, you had a professional clown in the case of El Salvador becoming their president, the same thing in Europe, in Italy, among others,” he added.

Heydarian said recent surveys show that people are wiling to give up certain civil liberties in exchange for promised effective government that can solve Philippines' pressing issues.

Meanwhile, Marcos, according to Heydarian, could take advantage of public frustration to convince them that EDSA 1 Revolution, which kicked out his father, former president and dictator Ferdinand Marcos, out of power is a wrong move.

"I also have a sense that if people are given an option of business as usual, cacique democracy, but the same kind of incompetence; worst traffic in the world, longest running and most ineffective lander from the world, the kind of infrastructure button knock on one hand, and they’ll tell people that 'maybe we’ll have to chip away a little at your civil liberties here and there but we’re gonna give you performance, we’re gonna have effective government,' I will not be surprise if majority of people will say 'we’ll rather have the latter',” he said.

“This is precisely what when person like Bongbong Marcos comes out and say things that are supposed to be red lines like for instances that say ‘I’m not that sure if EDSA was really right thing to do, if you only gave my dad more time for us we could have been like Singapore’,” he added.


Heydarian said although Duterte has been pulling away from his rivals, Poe, who from top has slid down to second place in the latest surveys, is still very much in race.

He said, unlike Duterte who has maintained an image of being an "authentic candidate," Poe has been viewed now as not the "reform candidate" that people are looking for, citing issues connecting her with the Cojuanco's and the endorsement of Manila Mayor and former president Joseph Estrada.

He added, Poe's victory over the disqualification cases against her did not help her candidacy, as evident in the recent surveys, since this victory dismissed people's perception of her that she is a candidate coming from the outside and is looking into changing the current political status quo.

"I think what makes him distinct (Duterte) from all of the candidatures is the perception, because politics is a game of perception, is that he's the only authentic candidate," he said.

"This is the problem that Poe faced over the past month, you had this perception that she's close to certain oligarchs like Danding Cojuangco, there was a perception that she was pandering to certain religious groups, interest groups, and then you had the endorsement of Estrada, and fact that she didn't categorically turn down a possible endorsement of Arroyo, so many people had said 'maybe she's not the anti-establishment candidate or the reform candidate we're looking at, she's a business as usual candidate'," he added.

However, he said, it is still not too late for Poe and she can take advantage of the most recent controversy that Duterte is facing to get back on track.

Duterte has been widely criticized by various sectors for his remarks over the gang rape and killing of 36-year-old Jaqueline Hamill, a missionary from Sydney, Australia.

In a campaign rally on April 12 in Quezon City, Duterte described the missionary as very beautiful and likened her to an American actress.

"T***a, sayang. Ang napasok sa isip ko, ni-rape nila. Pinagpilahan nila. Nagalit ako kasi ni-rape. Oo, isa rin yun. Napakaganda. Dapat ang mayor muna ang mauna," he said.

READ: Duterte says sorry to Filipinos; 'rape remarks not a joke'

He said Poe can seize the opportunity amid wide backlash against Duterte, if she plays as the feminist.

He also said, although Duterte has already developed an "anti-fragility," or the ability of getting away with criticisms after saying or doing unnecessary things, his remarks over rape could still impact the voters' decision, especially his soft supporters.

“It is possible that not the over loyal, the hard-core supporters of Duterte but the soft supporters of Duterte, might think twice and survey show that Poe is by far the most preferred candidate as the second preference, way more than anyone else,” he said.

“This is still an open race, I wanna say that Duterte necessarily pulling away, that could be the suggestion, but we have to watch out for the next survey and see whether some of his soft supporters may have switched to Poe. And if Poe seizes on the moment, she can actually regain momentum in this race.”