A midterm election is generally considered as a litmus test of the administration in power. It sends signals of affirmation or negation to the programs and policies of the current administration, and provides indicators of acceptability and satisfaction to the holders of power depending on the electoral system one has.
The recently concluded 2019 Philippine elections, being a midterm election, is also expected to serve as a litmus test of the Duterte Administration. But while the results were by far favorable to the current government, it also appears tricky as the Bicolanos, just like before, voted independently at the national level.
The 2019 senatorial elections in general is an electoral harvest for the Duterte Administration. Of the 11 originally endorsed by President Rodrigo Duterte, eight landed on the Magic 12. Cynthia Villar landed on the top spot; Bong Go, Pia Cayetano, “Bato” dela Rosa, and Sonny Angara occupied the 3rd to 6th places, consecutively; Aimee Marcos, Francis Tolentino, and Koko Pimentel secured the 8th to 10th spots, respectively.
A pro-Duterte candidate, Lito Lapid, ranked seventh despite not being endorsed by the President.
Completing the list are three self-proclaimed “independents” wiping any slot for the opposition candidate – the first ever in the last 30 years. The “independents are Grace Poe who ranked 2nd, Bong Revilla who ranked 11th, and Nancy Binay who ranked 12th.
In Region 5, however, the Bicolanos consistently exercised electoral independence by voting only four of the Duterte-endorsed candidates. These are Villar who ranked 3rd in the regional ranking, Cayetano who ranked 6th, Angara who ranked 7th, and Go who ranked 12th. The Bicolanos also elected four of the eight opposition candidates. These are Bam Aquino who ranked 2nd, Mar Roxas who ranked 4th, Chel Diokno who ranked 10th, and Gary Alejano who ranked 11th.
The other four senatorial candidates that made it to Bicol’s Top 12 are Poe, Lapid, Nancy Binay and Bong Revilla.
|CANDIDATE||TOTAL BICOL VOTES||BICOL RANKING||NATIONAL RANKING|
|POE, GRACE (IND)||1,376,982||1||2|
|AQUINO, BENIGNO BAM (LP)||1,292,530||2||14|
|VILLAR, CYNTHIA (NP)||1,205,786||3||1|
|ROXAS, MAR (LP)||971,641||4||16|
|LAPID, LITO (NPC)||952,416||5||7|
|CAYETANO, PIA (NP)||858,422||6||4|
|ANGARA, EDGARDO SONNY (LDP)||820,942||7||6|
|BINAY, NANCY (UNA)||743,844||8||12|
|BONG REVILLA, RAMON JR (LAKAS)||742,590||9||11|
|DIOKNO, CHEL (LP)||657,504||10||21|
|ALEJANO, GARY (LP)||642,919||11||23|
|GO, BONG GO (PDPLBN)||627,380||12||3|
|PIMENTEL, KOKO (PDPLBN)||599,243||13||10|
|TOLENTINO, FRANCIS (PDPLBN)||589,652||14||9|
|EJERCITO, ESTRADA JV (NPC)||587,280||15||13|
|GUTOC, SAMIRA (LP)||545,708||16||25|
|ESTRADA, JINGGOY (PMP)||531,518||17||15|
|MACALINTAL, MACAROMY (IND)||528,768||18||26|
|TAÑADA, LORENZO ERIN TAPAT (LP)||505,434||19||27|
|DELA ROSA, BATO (PDPLBN)||498,323||20||5|
|OSMEÑA, SERGE (IND)||447,998||21||17|
|HILBAY, PILO (AKSYON)||426,397||22||29|
|COLMENARES, NERI (MKBYN)||412,391||23||24|
|MARCOS, IMEE (NP)||362,608||24||8|
In the Congressional races, a plurality or 37.5% of the total 16 Congressional seats of the winning District Representatives are allied with the President’s political party, the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban). These are from Albay, Camarines Norte and Masbate with two seats each. The rest of the seats are divided among the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) with four, the Liberal Party (LP) and Nacionalista Party (NP) each having two, and the National Union Party (NUP) with one. An independent candidate also occupied the lone Congressional District seat of Catanduanes.
Only Sorsogon and Camarines Norte exhibited a more solid behavior electing all their Congressional District Representatives from a single party. Sorsogon opted for NPC candidates while Camarines Norte chose PDP-Laban.
In the gubernatorial races, four of six Bicol’s governors-elect are with PDP-Laban. Only Catanduanes and Sorsogon elected the NPC provincial standard bearers.
At the city and municipal races, PDP-Laban also dominated the region’s 114 mayoralty seats with 53%. NPC, mostly from Catanduanes, also took 30% of the mayoralty seats, the NUP got 5%, and the Liberal Party and the UNA both with 3%. The rest are divided between Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP), Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan (PDDS), and Kusog Bikolandia (KB).
Political party system in the Philippines, however, is more or less similar to the organization of Christmas parties. Party members unite only during occasions – in this case, the elections. Only a few political parties have ideological, or at least principled, undertones. Immediately after the elections, political parties, if not candidates, rally behind the leader of the administration. With the current leanings and pronouncements of the winning candidates, a supermajority both in the Senate and House of Representatives is imminent. In the upper chamber, for instance, only four of the 24 are considered as the opposition – the three LP and one Akbayan Party members. Even the self-proclaimed independents like Poe, Villar and Binay are seen to be aligned with the majority which is clearly a pro-Duterte bloc.
Given these, what do the results tell us?
Note: This article appears in the maiden issue of Bicol Express