My forecast for the Philippines Election 2022:
What would it look like if a son of the late dictator and a daughter of the incumbent tyrant president win the two highest positions in the land?
Election in the Philippines is and was always an opportunity for change. That is in fact always the mantra or campaign promise of the politicians from the national level down to the local governments.
The people also vote or voted for change. The change that the people expect is about their miserable economic situation – jobs, food, shelter, health, and social order – the basics of it. All the presidents then and now promised to resolve and provide solutions for these during their campaign sorties. But real change has never come.
Duterte, in fact, won because of his promise for a genuine change. Among others, he promised (1) peace through the peace talks between his government and the rebel groups to end the 5 decades-old insurgencies, but had it turned down when the two panels have almost reached an agreement on land reform by free distribution of land and provision of free technical and material subsidy to the farmers. (2) Fixing the drug problem for six months but ends up with the killings of thousands of poor people, (3) The end workers’ contractualization policy but he vetoed the law passed by congress, and (4) The eradication of poverty, land to the tillers did not support his appointed department secretaries to the anti-poverty commission, agrarian reform department, social welfare department, environment, and natural resources department simply because they were political activist from the left and his political allies and the oligarchs will be affected by them when these secretaries implement the laws in favor of the oppressed and marginalized
Incomprehensively though, Duterte still enjoys the trust of the people even after he failed to fulfill his promises and the widespread and gruesome extra-judicial killings in his drug war which also applied to the activist and oppositionists.
This trust is shown during the 2019 senatorial election when almost all his party or endorsed candidates won including the retired police general who is in charge of the implementation of his drug war.
The May 2022 Election. According to the surveys, leading in the race is the tandem of Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr., for president, and Sara Duterte, the daughter of the incumbent populist tyrannical President Rodrigo Duterte, for the vice president. Various survey firms put it that between 50-60% are voting for this tandem. This could be explained by the fact that the Diehard Duterte Supports or DDS and the Marcos loyalists are now combined forces for the win.
If the survey translates into the actual result in the May 9 Election, what would it look like in the new government?
- Historical revisionism will prosper which means that the 20 years of Marcos in power was of a golden age for the Filipinos, that it was not a dictatorship and there was no human rights violation that is so rampant. In spite of the laws about the indemnification of the thousands of victims of human rights violations and the ruling of the supreme court of the Philippines on the ill-gotten wealth, these people are still denying Marcos’ violations.
- That Marcos has not accumulated ill-gotten wealth because they were already so rich and powerful even before Marcos Sr. became a president
- That Marcos was or is a hero to the Filipino people who saved us from the communists, the reason for his Martial Law declaration after the “ambush me” incident of the then Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile.
- Taxation or tax collection will have a problem. The Marcoses is alleged by no less than a retired magistrate in the Supreme Court to have 203 billion pesos unpaid taxes despite the efforts of the Bureau of Internal Revenue to collect it.
- There will be a massive discontent and an iron hand will be there again to quell it. Another martial rule is in the making.
- Another situation would be that President Duterte will be assured or secured against the International Criminal Court of his crime against humanity which already gained momentum in at least the prosecution.
Therefore, all the gains of the Filipino people in toppling down the Marcos dictatorship will be lost.
Is there hope? Leni Robredo, the incumbent Vice President running in opposition is the only hope. The survey conducted and released this March shows that she has 17-24% of winning. Many analysts and observers, however, are saying that this is not the true reflection on the ground especially since there have been big campaign sorties held by Leni Robredo at the beginning of April. The Leni Robredo candidacy is in fact gaining momentum already.
Is it a hope for a real change? Not necessarily. It is only hoping against the comeback of dictatorship and the protection to the democracy that we have earned during the 1986 bloodless people power revolution and for the historical revisionism not to prosper and the gains about upholding human rights and the advocacy for it.
Leni Robredo is the president of the Liberal party but for tactical reasons, I believe, runs for president as an independent candidate. But the liberal party is still at her back and serves incognito as her main campaign machinery. The liberals are now in the opposition but are also dangerous when they are in power. History proves that they are elitist and only do lip service to the poor and the deprived in society. The two Aquino presidencies, for example, Corazon Aquino who has no political party but was backed by the yellows had the Mendiola Massacre of Farmers then the son, Benigno Aquino had among others the massacre of the lumads. During their terms, as with the other presidents were laws passed that are deceivingly for the masses but are in favor of the foreign capitalists and their local cohorts.
It is only a slim hope. The Filipino people seem to have historical amnesia in forgetting the dark days of martial rule or maybe they are influenced already by the growing distortion of historical facts in the social media disinformation, misinformation, and fake news. This and another machination have long been prepared by the Marcoses for their planned come back to power. The Philippines election has been known for cheating, fraud, killings, and vote-buying. There was a seven-hour glitch in the automated election in 2019. The whole automation was not working and when it was back on track the candidates of Duterte were quickly leading in the election tally.
What would turn the tide for the win? It will be when the Leni Robredo camp can reach out to most of the masses and awaken them from the lies and false promises of Marcos and Duterte. Also, and the most important is for the opposition and the awakened Filipinos to muster to guard the election and prevent cheating and election result manipulation.
What should be done for a real change? Filipinos should be armed with active vigilance and critical support and participation to the new elitist government if Leni Robredo wins. However, if the son of a dictator wins, we must brace ourselves for the battle against the lies and deception of another populist dictatorship in the guise of implementing the laws of the land but are weaponizing it against the people. Real change will come when the people embrace and live out being citizens of the country and not mere fans of politicians whom they adore as saviors who subtlety wrecked them up. ###
1 May 2022, International Labor Day