MANILA — The Philippines is seeing a "regression" in its political system with how political parties have nominated candidates for next year's national elections, a political analyst said Sunday.
Analyst Edmund Tayao made the statement as he expressed disappointment over how political parties are fielding an incomplete slate for the 2022 polls.
"We're seeing a regression. This is quite [a] disappointing setup kasi first time, may tatakbong presidente, walang bise; may tatakbong bise presidente, hindi mo alam kung sino ang presidente niya. First time may presidente, may bise presidente, walang senatorial slate," he said in an ABS-CBN TeleRadyo interview.
(We're seeing a regression. This is quite a disappointing setup because for the first time, someone's running for president without a vice president, someone's running for vice president, you don't know who their president is. It's the first time that there's a president, vice president but they don't have a senatorial slate.)
"Hindi nakikita ng tao na iyong senatorial slate is integral to an administration kasi wala naman magagawa ang gobyerno nang walang suporta ng Kongreso... It's really a team that you're voting for," he added.
(People don't see that a senatorial slate is integral to an administration because a government cannot do anything without the support of Congress... It's really a team that you're voting for.)
This is why voters in the Philippines tend to vote based on personalities and not policies, according to Tayao.
"Ang tinitingnan natin, 'yong tao, 'yong personalidad. So it prevents us from looking at the programs. Hence, the debates are not about programs, policies but about personalities," he said, referring to the debates of national candidates during elections.
(What we're looking at are the people, personalities. So it prevents us from looking at the programs.)
Tayao was asked to react to the recent substitutions of aspirants for national posts in the May 9, 2022 elections.
On Saturday, presidential daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio filed her candidacy for vice president under party Lakas-CMD, substituting "placeholder" Lyle Uy.
The party of presidential aspirant Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. then said it is adopting Duterte-Carpio as its vice presidential bet.
Later, Sen. Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa of the ruling party PDP-Laban dropped out of the presidential race, while Sen. Christopher "Bong" Go withdrew his candidacy for vice president and decided to run for president instead.
President Rodrigo Duterte is also expected to file his candidacy for vice president on Monday, the last day to file for substitutions, according to Communications Sec. Martin Andanar.
Various groups and lawmakers earlier called for a ban on the substitution of candidates, which is supposedly being used a "a way of fooling the electorate" and a "mockery of the election process."
For Tayao, issues related to the elections, such as substitutions, will not be resolved until they are seen as part of an overall "systemic problem" in Philippine politics.
In a separate TeleRadyo interview, Commission on Elections (Comelec) Spokesman James Jimenez said there should be more regulation on the substitution system instead of scrapping it.
"Kailangan pa rin 'yan (substitution). Pero gayunpaman, dapat siguro lagyan ng kaunting regulasyon," he said.
(You still need that. But nonetheless, maybe it should be more regulated.)
"Baka puwede nila medyo sikipan nang kaunti 'yong paggamit ng proseso na 'yon para maproteksiyunan pa rin yung political party but at the same time, maiwasan 'yong parang ginagawang laruan 'yong filing [of candidacies]."
(Perhaps they can tighten the regulation so we can protect the interest of the political parties while avoiding people from toying with the filing of candidaces at the same time.)
Jimenez, in an earlier interview, explained that the substitution of political aspirants balances the need to protect a person's right to run and not run for public office, and the need to protect a political party from a "whimsical withdrawal."