What analysts say on 2022 elections

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 29 2021 11:42 PM | Updated as of Jan 13 2022 03:35 PM

MANILA - Experts on Friday had various opinions on the presidential race and what voters should look for in presidential candidates in the 2022 elections.

In a virtual forum organized by Konrad-Adenauer-Stifung Philippines, Ateneo School of Government Dean Ronald Mendoza noted that the existence of political dynasties and their intention to remain in power is one of the realities voters face in next year's polls.

Many young leaders are also aspiring for positions, he said.

“If we had a proper process, strong political parties, then we would know what this former mayor is pushing and what that former senator is standing for. Right now we are essentially talking about personality and clans and the histories not even of just these candidates but of their families," Mendoza said.

He noted that there are many areas where relatives are running against each other for local posts, while other political clans are negotiating with opponents to save up on campaign costs.

“In the absence of strong systems, in the absence of strong political parties, this is really going to be an election dominated by political clans, political dynasties. We're seeing patterns in different parts of the country, wherein it will be fat dynasty versus fat dynasty," Mendoza said.

"It is unfortunate but we really need to encourage young better leaders to compete and they can only do this if they attached themselves to solid and serious political parties.”

SURVEYS

Political analyst Ramon Casiple, meanwhile, said pre-election surveys should not be given much attention to at this time.

"This is not yet the time for surveys to reflect the actual trend in the voters' choice. As an example, in the last presidential election, the one who won, that’s President Duterte, became number one in the surveys in mid-April. That’s too far in the future. We don’t know yet the issues, we don’t know yet what will be the come-on topics that they want so I would advise not to believe all surveys at this time," Casiple said.

"I’m not talking not to believe all the surveys but at least at this time. It should not be taken as something that is already recognizable a vote," he clarified.

According to him, there are many issues which candidates, especially national aspirants, have to focus on, especially the COVID-19 pandemic, which he said is the whole country's problem.

“The number 1 issue there is the pandemya of course, that’s the immediate problem of so many of our countrymen. The second issue which has a long-term effect, which has a major and daily impact on the life of our people, is the economic crisis. Business has suffered, It will become an issue not really because the politicians or the candidates have taken that as an issue but it is an issue that even if you don’t know something about it is a daily topic in every household in much of the country," he said.

3 TYPES OF CANDIDATES

Columnist John Nery said there are three types of candidates that voters should scrutinize in Halalan 2022, namely the "continuity candidate, change candidate, and career candidate."

“A continuity candidate is a candidate that seeks to extend the legacy of the Duterte administration. To summarize, the legacy of the Duterte administration as a public security approach to governance which results to thousands of kilings, the favor to China, closer alliance with the middle kingdom, and the rehabilitation of the Marcoses — the continuity candidate seeks to extend all of that," Nery said.

He then noted that Sen. Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa, which is the presidential candidate of the Duterte-backed faction in PDP-Laban, filed candidacy at the last minute on Oct. 8.

“He was informed at 3 p.m. on the last day of the filing of certificate of candidacy that he should represent PDP-Laban so obviously he was not prepared for it. But I would like to argue that this unprepared, underqualified, utak-pulbura candidate is the perfect candidate of continuity. He is the Duterte the sequel," Nery said.

Nery then said presidential aspirant Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. can be tagged as "continuity candidate" due to the latter's ties to the Duterte administration.

The columnist then labeled Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso as Sen. Manny Pacquiao as "career candidates".

“Career candidate is like Isko Moreno or also Bongbong Marcos. A career candidate is someone who thinks this is the best opportunity to run for president. Manny Pacquiao is also a career candidate, this is the best time for him to run. He’s just retired from boxing, 6-years from now nobody will remember his greatest fights. Now is the time, strike while the iron is hot," Nery said.

He said Vice President Leni Robredo and Ka Leody De Guzman are "change candidates", who are part of the opposition.

Nery meanwhile believes Duterte's eldest daughter, Davao Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, does not really want to run for president in 2022 despite calls for her to join the race for the top job. 

Many have speculated that she will substitute for one of the candidates with administration ties, particularly Bato, to aim succession of her father, who substituted a candidate in 2016.

“Substitution the way is practice under Duterte is an act of deception. I mean you present a candidate and at the same time you are negotiating in the back and trying to pull a fast one, trying to turn the process into your own advantage. I don’t think Sara will run, I think for better or for worst, Duterte will put his money on Bongbong Marcos. That’s the very definition of Duterte’s legacy- abusing the law,” Nery said.

DEBATES BEFORE POLLS

Experts meanwhile agreed that candidates should participate in debates before the 2022 elections.

Maria Ela Atienza, a former chairperson of the political science department of University of the Philippines, said debates help voters decide.

“Debates are imperfect but are important in elections … generally debates are useful particularly for people who are still undecided. It’s possible that aside from being a tool for leveling the playing field. It can also be an opportunity for people who are better communicators for candidates who give a lot of very good sound bites and some voters with less information may be easily swayed by promises and very convincing motherhood statements," she said. 

"It can also be an opportunity for young people to actually question and hold accountable the candidates. We need to transform the debates into actual town hall meetings.”

Mendoza said the 2016 presidential debates between Duterte, former senator Mar Roxas, Sen. Grace Poe, former Vice President Jojo Binay and now-deceased former senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago was a "circus" because voters were easily swayed into false promises regarding corruption in government and the issue in the West Philippine Sea.

Mendoza cited Duterte's infamous election promise to ride a jet ski to challenge Chinese incursion in Philippine waters. The President has since kowtowed to Beijing, as he sought investments and loans from China.

“The debates will expose how far left of how far right you’re going to drive policy issues and what type of specific policy reform you’re going to push. But since we don’t have that we’re going to catch them very belatedly," he said.

"If you remember the 2016 debates, it turned in into some kind of circus … and people basically just begun to be entertained by promises of 3-month, 6-months things fixing things and taking a jetski to the West Philippine Sea," headed.

Ahead of the elections, political experts are hoping that voters next year will be more critical of candidates and not easily swayed by sweet words and jokes from aspirants.

—Report from Johnson Manabat, ABS-CBN News

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