9-3 for now

The papers belted out the first senatorial survey results since the campaign actually began. See the Inquirer, and the Star, for example.

Here are the results:
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And by way of comparison, how they compare with the previous surveys before the campaign season.
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The Palace will of course pooh-pooh the results (it only appreciates surveys when the findings are favorable to it), except it seems to have commissioned its own and found they’re really getting a clobbering.

If you recall the conversation I had with a PR Expert recently (and some additional explanations in the discussion in Newsstand), the first survey of the campaign period tells us who are in play during the campaign. I assume only those who have double-digit figures are still in play; so besides the top 12 in the list, the candidates from Angara to Oreta in the list are the only ones who still have a fighting chance.

The trajectory of candidates enters the picture. According to SWS,

Individually, the gainers from November 2006 to February 2007 were: Pangilinan, who moved from third to first; Villar, from seventh to third; Cayetano, from tied for fifth to tied-fourth; Escudero, from tenth to tied-sixth; Osmeña and Aquino, both from tied-twelfth to tied-ninth; Arroyo, from tied-twelfth to solo twelfth; and Roco, from seventeenth to sixteenth….

Candidates who lost ground between November and February were: Legarda, who went from first to second; Lacson, from second to tied-fourth; Sotto, from fourth to eighth; Recto, from tied-fifth to tied-sixth; Honasan, from tied-eighth to eleventh; Pimentel, from tied-eighth to fourteenth; Angara, from eleventh to thirteenth; and Pichay, from eighteenth to twenty-second (due to the entry of fresh candidates Zubiri, Gomez, Montano, Magsaysay, and Coseteng).

It seems to have helped a candidate more, to be an oppositionist, than to have affiliated with the administration. These and other results are the grist for discussion: Newsstand says that the other problem the surveys help identify is who is liable to “dropping” when the counting takes place. Philippine Commentary also has some observations and predictions based on the present survey results: he expects Cayetano and Lacson to improve their rankings; Legarda to keep losing votes (because of her former husband’s murder case).

Here’s something I’d like to point out, too.
The harm nuisance or misleading candidates can cause is best demonstrated by looking at four names. Let’s input the margin of error (3%) into their current standing in the survey:

Benigno Aquino III 27-33% (in the survey, 30%). At 30%, Aquino III is tied with John Osmeña. At 27% (the low range), Aquino III drops out the winning 12; at 33% (the high range), Aquino III overtakes Sotto III and places 8th.

Theodore Aquino -1-5% (in the survey, 2%). If we assume (reasonably, I think) that his presence simply takes away votes from Aquino III, the “bonus” he could provide ranges anywhere from nothing, to 2%, to a maximum of 5%. A sort of blurry area with the range Aquino III already operates in; but at a maximum benefit of 5%, the addition 2% could firmly entrench Aquino III, for example, in 8th place were the elections held today.

Alan Peter Cayetano 40-46% (in the survey, 43%). At 40% he slides down below Lacson and fights for 6th to 7th place with Escudero and Recto; but at 46%, he’s at least firmly in 4th place.

Joselito Cayetano 3-9% (in the survey, 6%), a formidable showing which I think only goes to show the strength of the real Cayetano’s campaign. The numbers for the fake Cayetano are the “fuzzy” voters whose votes could be manipulated to drag down the real Cayetano. If you simply add back the fake Cayetano’s votes to the real Cayetano’s, in a best case scenario, the real Cayetano would regain up to 9 points, bringing him from 46% (his current best possible) to 55% (more accurately his real best at the present time), which would make him no. 2!

Basically, looking at these four candidates, two real candidates and two spoilers, shows you how dagdag-bawas works.

The results of the survey will frustrate some people even as it makes others happy. Relevant readings, courtesy of the PCIJ: how the poor vote, and why elections are covered in sporting terms.

In other news: the President was heckled this morning; women marchers were beaten up; Supreme Court orders the Pandacan oil depot closed (see nifty pictures in Philippine Commentary); two charged in nursing exam mess (see what blackshama has to say about the whole thing). Palace says soldiers should leave slums; well, maybe not (see Patsada Karajaw for a look into the doublespeak). The Peso improves, but stock market falls some more; and Gov. Singson sues an editor who managed to post bail, but four others are still in legal limbo.

In the punditocracy, my column for today is Indefensible in Plaza Miranda. In his column, Billy Esposo explains why he opposes the offer by some businessmen to host a debate. Geronimo Sy endorses the administration while Alex Magno believes this election is a non-event and that the main event so to speak, will be the 2010 presidential race (if we have one).

In the blogosphere, commentary on the survey results comes from Atheista, who finds the results for Pimentel III unfrigginbelievable; The Purple Phoenix, who has some interesting observations of her own to make on the results, and also, Istambay sa Mindanao. Observations on the campaign from Read This and Die, and see amor rebelde’s blog for an account of how some opposition and administration candidates did in a UST student forum.

An OFW Living in Hong Kong observes the pressures Filipino males face overseas.

Bunker Chronicles on a silly censor’s decision.

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Manuel L. Quezon III.

77 thoughts on “9-3 for now

  1. moks, rego:

    definitely, the power of machinery is important, anywhere, in getting out the votes and then in guarding the counting. the more disciplined group has the advantage.

    there are several factors, though, that can impede machinery. first, an obedient local electorate is not necessarily obedient when it comes to national candidates. second, traditionally, local officials and their machinery are more interested in guarding their own votes, and not as interested in the national candidates -their help is more along the lines of distributing sample ballots as you both pointed out. third, local officials will also see who they think is winnable and decide on that basis who to include on their sample ballots to be able to say they supported the winners.

    on a national level, that is, the senate: two more points.

    1. the votes in urbanized areas/communities outnumbers the far-flung provincial areas. this is why it no longer makes sense to campaign personally around the country when tv advertising brings the candidate to every home: it’s more cost-effective (and effective) to advertise. remember the votes of luzon equals, more or less, the votes of the visayas and mindanao combined. the debate over the 2004 cheating was over the visayas and mindanao votes having to be manipulated to compensate for the opposition victory in luzon. so the first eight places in a survey will, more likely than not, be difficult to really change and too expensive to be worth trying to change. the dropping of candidates from sample ballots will, however, make a difference for 9, 10, 11, and 12 in the senate race. and this is where machinery makes the difference, if the difference between say, 12th and 13 place is something like 4 to 8,000 votes, machinery will spell that difference (recall barbers and biazon in 2004).

    2. the administration machinery can be compromised in some local areas, because not every local area will have an official candidate unopposed. by this i mean: if the president endorses candidate A (Lakas), someone will get angry and will run as candidate B (Kampi): both are a gain for the President, but what if this means candidate C (either another Lakas, or an oppositionist) suddenly does a little better? attention and machinery will focus on that candidate and neither candidate A, or B, or C will much care about the senate…

    so yes, i think the administration cannot really affect who comes in from 1-8, but the last 4 is where administration support can win it for a candidate who is fighting it out for the last few slots vs. oppositionists with no one to guard the counting. this is why elections tend to bog down where they’re conducted least efficiently, that is, mindanao, where the magic’s been going on since the 1949 elections.

    see the senate results from 2004:


    see the number of registered voters in metro manila:


  2. Manolo,

    I can agree with you on the top 8 being safe in so many ways. But this can only be true for surveys just before the election. So there is no way for the opposition to claim that they have the top and safe candidates at this moment.

    See SWS survey last Jan 2004 for May 2004 elections. An dcomapred them to the current winners.

    Take note where is Mar Roxas in this survey and he went on to Top teh senate race.

    Take Note of John Osmena who is in the top 3 in this survey but in teh end di not win.

    It only means that Kiko, Lacson, Loren, Escudero, and Cayetano, is not really safe…..
    2 February 2004 release:

    SWS January 2004 Survey:
    Six K4s and Five KNPs Lead Senatorial Race

    Mahar Mangahas
    Social Weather Stations

    K4 slightly ahead

    The “magic 12” in the race for the Senate, as of the SWS January 2004 Survey, include six candidates from the administration coalition K4 or Koalisyon ng Katapatan at Karanasan sa Kinabukasan, and five candidates from the opposition grouping KNP or Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino.

    The last slot is being contested by four K4s and two KNPs.

    Revilla, Pimentel, Osmeña on top

    Virtually tied for top position in the SWS survey are Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. (K4) at 42%, Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr. (KNP) at 41%, and John Osmeña (K4) at 41%.

    They are followed by: 4. Juan Ponce Enrile (KNP) 38%, 5. Rodolfo Biazon (K4) 35%, 6-7. Miriam Santiago (K4) and Alfredo Lim (KNP) 34%, 8. Robert Barbers (K4) 33%, 9. Jinggoy Estrada (KNP) 32%, 10. Orlando Mercado (KNP) 30%, and 11. Ernesto Maceda (KNP) 29%.

    Contesting 12th place, Manuel “Lito” Lapid (K4), Francisco Tatad (KNP), Robert Jaworski (K4), and Pia Cayetano (K4) are all at 27% or the cut-off score.

    Nonetheless, 16th placer Ernesto Herrera (KNP) with 25% and 17th placer Manuel “Mar” Roxas with 24% are still statistically tied for the last winning slot.

    Struggling to catch up

    Outside the winning circle by more than the margin for error, as of January, are: 18-19. Jamby Madrigal (KNP) and Richard Gordon (K4) 22%, 20. Heherson Alvarez (Ind.) 21%, 21. Boots Anson-Roa (KNP) 15%, 22. Carlos Padilla (LDP) 14%, 23. Amina Rasul (KNP) 13%, and 24. Frank Chavez (Reporma LM) 11%.


  3. Are there other countries who use the same Senatorial Election system that we do here? Is it me or is it just plain stupid? The whole party dynamics become moot because your partymate is still technically your opponent.

    Rego: Yeah, I remember that John Osmeña incident. That sudden drop was a bit shocking. Well, the fact that he was third was shocking, but I sort of attributed it to his political “legacy”. Wow, Gordon was in the 20s in late January?! Wow. That means Coseteng can still win! Go Nikki!!! LOLOLOL

  4. rego, definitely. even now, if you compare the previous to the present survey, some candidates seem headed down. others are headed up. two more and we have enough to connect the dots.

    benj, the dysfunctional element comes in with what i believe were a couple of assumptions when the system was put in place in 1941:

    1. block voting would permit parties to both get out, and keep the votes, and thereby enforce party discipline. this also gave parties an incentive to have balanced tickets of old and new faces, luzon, visayas and mindanao members, etc.

    2. even when block voting was abolished, by then the two party system was fully entrenched, again, it punished independents and rewarded the slates of either party (the disastrous experience in 1959 when the lp and np divided up the votes of the grand alliance is the most famous example)

    3. nos. 1 and 2 were the control to head off what even then (from 1937 to 1940 when a senate at large was being debated) the dangers of wealth or popularity dominating the senate. now there is no institutional obstacle to either.

    4. because party voting, a two-party system, etc. have been eliminated, each senator is in a sense running in the first round of the presidential election. the run-off election takes place in the actual presidential election itself. it should be the other way around, of course (i say this because i believe in run off elections for the presidency to avoid a minority president).

  5. Ok, so it was supposed to be a ticket voting exercise? That might not be exactly a favorable thing in the status quo, but it does make more sense.

    I agree with the use of a run-off election. I wonder why we don’t employ it here… Your take on the senatorial elections is very interesting. Yes, it can be treated as the first round, but then again, the run-off takes place three/six years after the first one. But then again, it hardly changes. Come to think of it, both Erap and GMA topped their senatorial elections. We all know what happened to Loren.

    Kiko and Mar Roxas are future presidents? haha. I wonder who would make that call.


    I tried to correlate the “trends” and probable link of tv ads on my new blog entry. As low as Pichay rating is, he is still on the upswing. He jumped a long way from the last survey.

    John Osmeña’s definitely a beneficiary of his Tatak Osmeña ads. It’s the first time since last June that he has figured in the top 12 of any survey.

  6. mlq,

    I do agree with you that Luzon has the highest number of voters. I also agree with you on 1-8, probably being sure winners; nah…1-6 being sure winners, if and only if, they got a huge Luzon margin of votes, that is, if the sixth place will obtain a 3 million vote advantage from Luzon against the 12th place, otherwise he can dropped to 13th, when the machinery votes from Visayas and Mindanao comes in.

    In one Municipality here for example, it is probable for TU to get 95% of the votes as proven during the several past elections.

    For the GO – they should focus their campaign in the Visayas and Mindanao. Besides, what will make them winners are the Visayas and Mindanao votes eventually.

  7. Another is, there are no opposition candidates for Governor and most local positions in Samar, Leyte, Cebu, Bohol, Biliran and in many areas in Mindanao. TU are sure winners in these places. Wanna bet?

  8. ooops, jamby run within the opposition slate (KNP)in 2004, not with the Arroyo team. My mistake.

  9. “Unfortunately, these TWO IMPORTANT FACTORS the opposition doesn’t have.”

    “Botante, Manuel Buencamino et al shoudl really take a leave from blogging in the meantime. They should go to the rurals areas and help the oppsistion distribute sample ballots. If they really wanted their impossible dream realized.”

    in the context of what you have just said, rego, i am very disappointed by your suggestion, which is this: go hand out ballots that contain P100 bills.

    and i thought you are for reform. tsk, tsk.

  10. very well then. too bad, all you rants about internal resolution falls on dead ground.

  11. bencard,

    i was talking about rego allowing me to interpret his statement as i please. my statement was this: by urging manuel et al to distribute sample ballots in the context of what he earlier suggested as a strategy to win (meaning, padulas ng P100) which he said the opposition do not have, is he not tolerating the practice of corruption with this suggestion? when i said all his rants about “internal resolution” falls on dead ground, he is intelligent to know where this remark stems from (if you are clueless, for which he is not, then DON’T REACT cause this is a personal reply to him and not to you.]

    on second thought, if you reacted to the phrase “all you rants about…” that should have read “all your rants…”
    which therefore is directly addressed to him, and the context clarified. nevertheless, i wonder if you too is endorsing rego’s suggestion that opposition hand out P100 to sample ballots to match the practice of those with machinery. hmmmmm.

  12. “3. nos. 1 and 2 were the control to head off what even then (from 1937 to 1940 when a senate at large was being debated) the dangers of wealth or popularity dominating the senate. now there is no institutional obstacle to either.”

    mlq3, could you explain the advantage that our forefathers saw in having a senate elected at large (as opposed to by senatorial districts), and how such a set-up promotes democratic representation and accountability? Is such a set-up still viable today?

  13. aames, as i see it, the restoration of the senate and its transformation into a nationally-elected body was promoted along several lines:

    1. the experience with unicameralism from 1935 to 1938 (when the proposal to restore the senate began being seriously proposed) was:
    a) it required constant supervision from the president and was only as efficient as a president’s ability to run the legislature.
    b) it presented the possibility, however, that should a president end up antagonized by the national assembly, there would be government paralysis;
    c) the assembly was not providing an arena for raising up a new generation of leaders with the familiarity and prestige to assume national office;
    d) the rise of radical politics would eventually lead to the infiltration of the national assembly and lead to (b)
    e) that (d) and (b) were going to happen sooner than later because of the obsession of assemblymen purely with parochial concerns, which prevented a national focus essential to the coming challenges of independence.

    since the 1935 constitution was premised on a strong presidency, which the drafters of the charter felt was the most suitable arrangement for filipino society, but since the experience under the national assembly was that national concerns were only being pushed by the executive, and the executive at times was thwarted in pushing a national agenda by the need to devote time and energy to actually running the national assembly, something had to be done.

    the previous model was a senate elected according to senatorial districts (roughly approximating today’s regions), with 2 senators per senatorial district. this model was dispensed with as it would simply have been the assembly writ large.

    if the objective was to foster three things:

    1. party government, or the formation of parties as an alternative to the local networks of local leaders
    2. a national attitude towards legislation
    3. a venue for the introduction and training of a national leadership on a more conservative basis, which means having leaders elected by the same constituency as the president

    then a nationally elected senate was ideal. we forget that from 1935 to 1938, quezon actually had an office in the national assembly, and basically ran the legislature, hand-picking the majority leader and ensuring the speaker was essentially a decoration. by 1938 it was literally killing him and he restored the powers of the speaker’s position and selected jose yulo. the situation observers saw at the time was that aside from quezon, the only person with a national stature to lead the country was osmena, but both belonged to the same generation. quezon’s own preferences for the succession, roxas and yulo, lacked the national standing to replace him either in 1941 or 1943: and beneath them, there was no one with a national stature sufficient to making them frontrunners for the presidency. again this opened up the possibility of some radical demagogue suddenly emerging to throw the country into turmoil or, if any crisis faced the country, were quezon and osmena out of the picture there would be a sudden leadership vacuum.

    there was a very paternal attitude at that time, a conscious effort to engage in nation-building, and with that came the belief that the electorate could be trained, in a sense, to think in terms of a national and not purely local frame of mind with regards to leaders. but a means would have to be found that would establish the rules to underline this framework.

    hence, a nationallly-elected senate, essentially harnessing the same electorate already being trained to consider executive leadership (the presidency), with block voting as an instrument to give an incentive to party government (that is, that the parties would finance and select candidates and candidates would listen to them because candidates with less money or fame could harness the rules on block voting). establishing the senate as a counterbalance to the highly provincial attitudes of assemblymen, and later (for future presidents though not for the incumbents at the time) serving as a counterbalance for presidents who might be tempted to establish a dictatorship.

    my personal view is that ever since the block voting system was dismantled in the 1950s (on the premise it was “undemocratic”), the dangers of a senate dominated only by the wealthy or the famous has come to pass -not least because there are no institutional incentives to belong to a party. even the rules that fostered a more stable two-party system were eliminated in 1987 with no runoff elections to restore the need to have healthy and unqestionable majorities.

    therefore, at the very least block voting must be restored to give parties a fighting chance, it will serve as an incentive for candidates to campaign together, and for parties to punish erring members who, for example, whimsically leave one party for another. even the party switchers of the past, quezon marcos and magsaysay, in careers spanning decades, only changed parties at most, twice; today a candidate can change parties twice in a year.

    if block voting will not be restored, than the senate as it stands is not viable as a national body. we would then have to look at restoring senatorial districts or at least, 4 senators each from luzon, visayas, and mindanao every election cycle, to restore the balance that was assumed would always be there when the senate was restored in 1941 (then, it was the parties who insisted on geographical balance, just as every presidential and vice-presidential tandem from 1935 to 1969 was a north-south tandem; in 1986, since luzon votes outnumbered the other regions and parties had wilted away, the marcos-tolentino and aquino-laurel tickets were, for the first time, luzon tickets only).

  14. inidoro, thanks for the clarification, i was really thrown off by the typo. I guess I was a little too fast on the draw. Sorry.

  15. if block voting will not be restored, than the senate as it stands is not viable as a national body. we would then have to look at restoring senatorial districts – mlq3

    Wouldn’t that mean then that the Senate will risk becoming the assembly writ large? If yes, to what extent will the disadvantages enumerated in (a) to (e) apply, or will the fact that there will still be two houses somehow mitigate these disadvantages?

  16. cvj,

    yes, that’s the risk and that’s why the senatorial districts weren’t revived in the first place. but it would be what would be established if we ever went federal. the advantages of a bicameral system with one chamber having larger territorial representation still outweighs unicameralism, though. as i keep repeating, the concept of delay is precious to a democracy.

    the problem of tradition when it’s dispensed with, is that it can’t be brought back or when it is, it’s a farce. after the enforced amnesia of the marcos years, the old dynamic of insisting on balanced representation for luzon, visayas and mindanao was abandoned for the strategy ramos perfected: there’s no need to win a full majority when a calculated minority will do as well. which means we are more manila-centric than ever before, and we confuse that with being manila-centric always.

  17. That so very good benj! I was trying to do the same however I dont have a blog so I abandoned the plan…It really very early to tell who is going to win with the recent SWS survey.

  18. The Ca t : That survey is sooo weird. haha. They didn’t even bother to put the 12th ranked guy along with the candidates outside the top 12.

  19. Senator Ralph Recto is a Recto and history can never erase it. The Santosas, Cunetas and Pangilinans were not yet in politics and not even in the headlines yet but the name Recto was already here. Recto can be equated with history and nationalism, go back to Philippine history and review.It is very unfair to say that Ralph became popular only because of vilma. I have nothing against vilma but Recto is Recto and that is history.

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