The 2022 Philippine general election will take place on May 9, 2022, for executive and legislative branches of the government – national, provincial, and local, except for the barangay officials.

The election is not like in other countries where people vote for political parties and the political parties are the ones that fill a person into the position in the government or in the parliament. Each voter in the Philippines votes for president, vice president senators (12), Governor, Vice Governor, and members of the provincial board which is 6 to 8 depending on the classification of the province based on their income, mayor, vice-mayor, and 6 to 8 members of the city council or municipal board depending on the congressional districts and the classification of the city, and a congressman. At least 31 or 33 names a voter selects or writes in a ballot during election day.

A president can be elected even if he/she did not get the majority of the votes. President Duterte for example only gets a little more than 16.6 million votes or 39% of the total votes counted.

The president, vice president, and senators will stay up to 6 years in the post all others are only for 3 years. Interestingly, we have 24 senators, but we only elect 12 every election. The seats of the 12 senators elected in 2016 are contested in this election, and the senators that will be elected in this election serve until June 30, 2028. The winners of this election will join the winners of the 2019 election to form the Senate’s delegation to the 19th Congress of the Philippines with the senators elected in 2019 serving until June 30, 2025. The idea here is for continuity in the senate work which is not really the case.

The vice president is a lame officer of the land. The post is only there to substitute the president when incapacitated or died. If the vice president is a party-mate or has a coalition with the president’s party, he/she can be given an executive post in the government. If not, the vice president can do his/her own program and projects with a budget slashed, if authorized, from the president aside from the budget for office and staff.

Unlike the provincial board and city council or municipal board, the Senate will elect their president to lead them and preside over their meetings. The congressmen who composed the House of Representatives also elect their leader called the speaker of the house. The senate and the house of representatives composed the congress of the Philippines. They operate in a bicameral way in passing a law. A proposed law or a bill is passed separately in the senate and in the house of representatives and then be finalized in a bicameral meeting. The bill will only become a law if the president approves it. He also has the power to veto it like what happened to the proposed law to end the labor contracting/contractualization in favor of the workers which was vetoed by President Duterte which is inconsistent with his election promises.

The government operational budget for each year is approved by congress including the budget for the office of the president.

The president exerts all efforts that the leadership of the senate and the house of representatives are his men. On the one hand, senators and congressmen are competing with each other to become the president’s choice for this. During election time politicians or candidates are jumping from one political party to the other for their bid to win. After they are elected, they again jumped to the president’s political party or make a coalition with the president to form the majority in the congress. Even the governors and mayors are doing the same. Why? Because it is the president who prioritizes the government’s projects, and he usually favors those who belonged to his wagon.

The senators and members of the house of representatives will have millions of allocations from the budget each year. In 2019 for example, the senators have 200 million and the members of the house have 60 million pesos each. They are the ones who identify the projects themselves. The members of the house for their districts and the senators to whichever part of the country. This is a lumpsum discretionary government fund because they are also identifying the contractors and suppliers. A great source of corruption.

To be continued…

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