Thu. May 26th, 2022
One presidential candidate already acts like an “Emperor without clothes” but the Digong sees right through him. Moral of the story: Never underestimate a former city prosecutor from Mindanao.

This week is the 36th anniversary of the so-called People Power Revolution or EDSA 1. It serves as a reminder to us of two things: that a united people can oust a duly elected president and what life could have been if the promises of EDSA became a reality.

And if people still do not get it, we are bound never to see our aspirations as a nation and forever maintain the tunnel vision, catering to the romantic notions of leaders and politics.

Corazon “Cory” Aquino became the traditional president. She was the 11th, and her term ran from 1986 to 1992 or six years under the 1987 Constitution.

Fidel V. Ramos (FVR) was the first president post-EDSA but was pushed to that position because of his role in EDSA.

From Cory to FVR (1992 to 1998) were 12 years of renewed faith, brought about by an assiduous march for the promises of EDSA. The telltale signs were already there that people were tired of the restoration of the old oligarchs and the creation of a new elite class, all benefiting from EDSA.

Protest votes

As few families controlled the economy, the poor increased in number, and that led to the first protest vote in 1998 carrying President Joseph Estrada.

The first split ticket post-martial law was that of FVR and Vice President (VP) Estrada. President Aquino and Vice President Laurel came from the same forces that toppled Marcos. But in office, VP Laurel faded into oblivion because President Aquino did not like interference from politics to governance.

The removal of Estrada was a function of economic and political powers joining together to replace a popular president, who was accused of corruption.

The oligarchs did not like the idea of not having control of a sitting president. In aggravation, Estrada was also maintaining different sets of friends that commingled with governance and illegal activities such as jueteng. The work ethic was highlighted, and the goings-on in Malacanang were fodder for enterprising journalists and broadsheets that wanted to retaliate for his call for an advertising boycott of some newspapers.

Estrada stayed in office from 1998 to 2001, or two and a half years.

Economic and political elites aided by external forces, and again led by officials from the defense and military, paved the way for the assumption to the presidency of Vice President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. She stayed the course and invoked the 1987 Constitution to run in 2004, staying in office the longest post-martial law, nine years.

Arroyo was carried by the yellow group until it became clear that the 2004 elections were rigged, with the “I am sorry,” said to be proposed by a senior official from the Liberal Party and then the resignation of cabinet secretaries associated with the LP.

Since Arroyo was elected in tandem with her VP, Noli de Castro, it was hard to remove her without de Castro’s agreement to the LP’s plan. It was the second tandem elected into office post-martial law.

From that point on, the LP worked hard to remove Arroyo but without VP de Castro, nothing came of the political acrobats. De Castro was popular but was not seen by the oligarchs as theirs. Probably, except by the Lopezes.

Thus, when Cory Aquino, the icon of liberal democracy died, voters were anxious as to who they would support. There were several candidates for the presidency: Teodoro, Estrada, Villar, Aquino 3rd, among others.

 Because of the death, voters were kind to support her only son and namesake of Ninoy despite the paper-thin experience, and nonperformance record as a legislator.

But so many issues cropped up by 2016 – from the Luneta hostage crisis that claimed the lives of eight Hongkong tourists, pork barrel expenditures such as PDAF/DAP scandals, humungous disaster in the handling of the response, to Supertyphoon Yolanda whose casualties may have reached more than 10,000, chaotic military handling of the Zamboanga siege, mayhem in the management of the public transport system especially the MRT3, the impeachment of Chief Justice Corona and the assassination of his character, booboos all culminating in the Mamasapano massacre of 44 members of the Special Action Force of the Philippine police. 

Campaign 2016 FB meme from Noynoy King of Flies

Another protest vote was rising come 2016 and that resulted in the election of a latecomer, a mayor of Davao City, totally unknown in Luzon and who did not fit the traditional cast of leaders we elect.

In total rejection of LP, the voters dealt a blow to Roxas giving a landslide victory to Davao’s Rodrigo Roa Duterte, the first post-Edsa president from Southern Philippines.

Robredo, Roxas’ VP candidate, squeaked out a victory but a contentious one who faced a strong electoral protest from the Bongbong Marcos camp, as she won by a 263,000 not even 1% of votes cast.

On the midterm elections of 2019, voters were going against the Liberal Party on a massive scale, not electing anyone from their Senate ticket. And the protest has continued in the runup to 2022.

Certainty, predictability and sustainability are the drivers for 2022. The six years of Duterte has not completed several things: opening up the economy, reducing poverty, completing Build-Build-Build bringing education to match industry 4.0 needs and reviving the claim to Sabah.

There are only two families which have produced presidents in our nation: the father-daughter Macapagal family and the mother-son Aquino family. Macapagal-Arroyo came 36 years after her father (the 9th president) who was elected in 1961 and served until 1965. Aquino 3rd, on the other hand, came 18 years after his mother’s presidency.

If destiny favors Bongbong Marcos, he would be coming after 36 years of his father, Ferdinand Marcos, exactly 36 years after EDSA.

Domagoso’s breakaway strategy

Will Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso fit the billing of a protest vote? No, he won’t. He was in bed with the Liberals and even had talks with the Vice President.

He attacked Duterte early on. He lambasted the President’s cabinet and questioned the manner in which the President is handling the pandemic. Domagoso even issued a challenge to a fist fight. A sign of rawness.

In hindsight, worse for him, Duterte and his cabinet was proven right in dealing with the pandemic.

The mayor of Manila, practically used his first term to prepare to run for the presidency in 2022. His fiscal management is so bad leaving the city in disarray. Reforms were made to aid his ambition hence there is no sustainability.

To therefore reposition himself as being supported by the Duterte Diehard Supporters shows a character flaw. He will do what it takes to fulfill his ambition.

And this is where the breakaway group of Duterte supporters are giving a second wind to Domagoso without taking into account the utterances and the actuations of the mayor of Manila.

They could readily sustain support for the daughter of the President even if they do not collectively throw their support for Domagoso. What gives?

The supposed “ISSA” (ISko-Sara) is not a tandem ticket. It is a forced partnership without the approval of the mayor from Davao City. What kind of politics is that? Politics of convenience for Domagoso but what about Duterte?

ISSA even has a headquarters in Malate, how can they do that to Doc Willie Ong -the VP candidate of Domagoso? How can Domagoso stab his loyal running mate in the back?

Speaks of how Domagoso stabbed Lim and Estrada, all for money.

In all these last-minute maneuverings, Domagoso’s character is seen by all for what he really is. It is the kind of character we abhor in politics. It’s like your attack/defend/collect approach.

Domagoso even insults the President and the DDS when he said, “Huwag nyong aalisin si Pangulong Duterte sa puso ninyo, ipahiram nyo lang ang puso ninyo pangsamantala…” Clearly, he is a user.

Clearly, the basis of ISSA is to achieve his ambition. Clearly, it’s not about the voters but all about Domagoso. That flaw is dangerous in a president.

This act drives a wedge to the BBM-Sara tandem and promotes division rather than unity. Breaking the tandem is the next strategy in the coming weeks of the campaign.

But how can a third placer (Domagoso) dislodge VP Robredo by this move?

Besides, we have seen what a split ticket can do for our nation.

When 62.2 percent want a tandem, these DDS who jumped to Domagoso do not understand the writing on the wall. “Your reputation is what others think of you; your character is what you truly are. Reputations can be manipulated; character can only be developed and maintained.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Maria Lourdes Navarro Tiquia is a noted lobbyist and political strategist in the Philippines and in Asia. She is a trained and experienced political management expert and a policy analyst, hence combining politics and policy in her 29 years of professional career. She is the founder of PUBLiCUS Asia Inc. and continues to write commentaries for The Manila Times.

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