Analyst: ‘Reluctant candidate’ part of PH political culture, often used as ‘gimmick’

Rose Carmelle Lacuata, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 11 2021 01:59 AM | Updated as of Jan 12 2022 02:09 PM

MANILA—Filipinos are drawn to the image of the "reluctant candidate", the reason it has become a political gimmick used during the election season, a political analyst said.

Professor Dennis Coronacion of the University of Santo Tomas said politicians unsure of their plans make them appealing to the electorate, who are normally turned off by candidates who seem eager to get elected.

"Parte na ng kulturang pampulitika natin 'yung tinatawag na reluctant candidate. Kumbaga appealing sa mga Filipino voters, Filipino electorate 'yung mga pakipot na mga kandidato. Natu-turn off 'yung electorate doon sa mga klase ng kandidato na parang excited na maihalal," Coronacion told Teleradyo Wednesday night.

(The reluctant candidate is part of our political culture. This is appealing to Filipino voters, Filipino electorate, who are usually turned off by those candidates who are too excited to get elected.)

"Dahil ganoon, parte ng campaign strategy ng karamihan ng mga kandidato natin ay i-portray ang mga sarili nila as a reluctant candidate, na hindi excited na magkaroon ng posisyon, public position.

(Because of that, it is a part of the campaign strategy of most candidates to portray themselves as a reluctant candidate who is not excited to be elected into a public position.)

"So mabenta 'yun, 'yung ganoong istratehiya. Parte ho 'yan ng mga political gimmicks na ginagamit ng mga kandidato tuwing kampanya. Kasama ho yan doon sa mga gimik na substitution at kung ano ano pa."

(This strategy is popular. It is part of the political gimmicks candidates use in campaigns. This is also included in the gimmick of substitution and others.)

Although the ploy does not sit well with some voters, Coronacion said it remains popular among those who have not yet decided on who to vote for, or those who are not too concerned about a candidate's platform.

"For some Filipino voters, ayaw nila 'yan, as shown in the comments in social media, sa iba ibang social media platforms, at talaga namang nadidismaya na ang Filipino voters sa mga ganyang klaseng gimik," he said.

(Some Filipinos don't like this, as shown in the comments in various social media platforms, and some Filipino voters are fed up with these kind of gimmicks.)

"Pero ang nangyayari kasi, mabenta rin naman siya doon sa mga hindi naghahanap ng halimbawa, 'yung mga botante natin na hindi sila after sa plataporma, at 'yung mga imumunkahi sana na polisiya kung sakaling mahalal sila. Mas gusto nila, kumbaga source of entertainment itong kampanya."

(However, it is still popular for those voters who, for example, are not too concerned about the platform and policies that candidates want to implement. They look at the campaign as a source of entertainment.)

For Dr. Fe Mendoza of the National College of Public Administration and Governance of the University of the Philippines (UP NCPAG), such a ploy shows the flaws of the country's Omnibus Election Code.

"Isa kasi ito sa flaw ng Omnibus Election Code natin, because we are allowing substitution sa last minute, sa November 15 nga ang hinihintay natin. Kasi talagang may place holders. Sana 'yung substitution, only on, kunwari na-incapacitate siya, namatay siya, 'yung ganoon. Pero 'yung buhay na buhay siya pero talagang place holder siya at hinihintay niya kung sino talaga at the last minute ang bonggang pupunta at ano, ay ako na nga," Mendoza said.

(This is a flaw of our Omnibus Election Code, because we allow last-minute substitution, until November 15. So there are really place holders. If the substitution is only allowed, say, in cases of death or incapacitation. But these people are alive and they are just place holders, waiting for the real candidate at the last minute.)

"Sa akin kasi parang hindi masyadong katanggap-tanggap 'yung substitution."

(For me this substitution is not that acceptable.)

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Speculation about Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio's next move became a hot topic following her announcement Tuesday afternoon.

The mayor, who has topped surveys for the presidency, earlier said she and her father, President Rodrigo Duterte, had agreed only one of them would run for a national role next year. 

President Duterte initially said he would run for vice president, but in a surprise move in October said he was retiring from politics when his term ends in 2022. 

He said his 43-year-old daughter would vie for the presidency with his longtime aide, Senator Christopher "Bong" Go, as running mate. 

Go, who filed his candidacy for Vice President under the PDP-Laban party (Cusi wing, which is backed by President Duterte), said on Tuesday that there might be changes in his vice presidential bid.

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