In this corner…


(Free Press editorial cartoon circa 1965)

While we had the two party system from 1935 to 1972, from our first national, presidential election, the tendency has been to have a three-way contest for the presidency. In particular, 1935, 1957, 1961 were real three-cornered fights; in our era, 1998 and 2004 were three-cornered fights, though it can also be argued that 2004 also saw the country inching back to the more familiar territory of the presidential contest being viewed as a two-way fight. But 2010, if it happens, shows signs of being a repeat of the 1992 contest.

I’ve written elsewhere that with the election of Garcia to the presidency in 1957, something else emerged: the problem of a plurality, and not majority, presidency, although people didn’t get worried over this because each of his successors managed to garner majorities. But I contend that, as Leon Ma. Guerrero argued (in his case, arguing in defense of martial law), “Today began yesterday,” and that the 1950’s brought forward the trends of celebrity candidates and minority presidents we continue to discuss today.

Last February, colleague John Nery wrote a remarkable column titled The 2010 race is set. In it, he set out to discuss what the surveys on presidential contenders reveals about voter behavior -and preferences:

The reality is: We already know who our next president will be. Or more precisely, who among a select five or six Filipinos will win the 2010 elections.

His basis for saying this is based on

…two fundamental assumptions about our voting patterns for national elective office. First, it takes us a considerable amount of time to warm to prospective presidents (in other words, we are not ready for “overnight” candidacies for the presidency). And second, the way we choose our senators is distinctly different from the way we choose our presidents.

Read the whole thing, which also refers to past surveys and elections (1992, 1998, and 2004), and his concluding that,

I obviously believe in electoral miracles. But experience tells me this sort of thing happens only in Senate elections, when a voter has 12 votes to deploy, and some decidedly surprising candidates to choose from. For the presidency, however, we limit our choices early. We don’t like surprises.

Nery believes the surveys indicate the public’s views that there are only six real contenders for 2010: de Castro, Legarda, Villar, Escudero, Lacson and Roxas. He pointed out that regardless of their actual merits or demerits, prospective presidential candidates like Richard Gordon, Jejomar Binay, or Bayani Fernando might as well accept it was too late in the game for them to be taken seriously.

Lito Banayo, also in February, pretty much reached the same conclusion. Banayo added that the same might hold true for Gilbert Teodoro for the presidency or even reform candidates like Grace Padaca or Jesse Robredo or Ed Panlilio for the Senate. Banayo also pointed out that Feliciano Belmonte had publicly disavowed any interest in running for the presidency, knowing he’d have better chances seeking another position.

In recent weeks, trial balloons aplenty have been launched, to gauge the viability of various candidates. The rumor mill has been particularly active, too. So everyone from the Chief Justice, to businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan has been publicly floated or privately whispered about as being interested in the presidency. Most recently, Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro expressed interest in the presidency, prompting a skeptical column by Amando Doronila: though I wonder why Doronila didn’t point out what is, perhaps, the biggest obstacle to a Teodoro candidacy: talk that he has broken, politically, with his uncle, Eduardo Cojuangco, Jr. because of Teodoro’s wife wanting his vacated congressional seat, something Cojuangco didn’t agree with.

The comes the reality check, the most recent one being Pulse Asia’s February 2009 Nationwide Survey on the May 2010 Elections.

Now of course ahead of any talk of elections in 2010 is the question of whether it would be an actual presidential or a parliamentary, election.

I asked a congressman whether Charter Change was well and truly dead, and the congressman replied that yes, it was, because the Speaker had informed his colleagues that whatever constitutional amendments might be approved would, to soothe the public, not be applicable to them -at which point the enthusiasm of the congressmen for amending the Charter waned perceptibly.

Whether this is true or not, the Pulse Asia survey suggests that the public is convinced that we will have presidential elections in 2010, and that the percentage of those who believe elections will take place has risen slightly since last year. Though what Pulse Asia itself points out as the notable improvement in figures, is that the percentage of people undecided on the matter has dropped. The optimists far outnumber the pessimists and the fence-sitting portion of the public has shrunk.


Personally, looking at the above, this is what I find interesting. I consider the roughly 25% or a quarter of the public who disagree there would be trouble if the 2010 elections aren’t held the hard-core constituency of the President, and the roughly equal percentage the ambivalent sectors who essentially go along, when push comes to shove, with the hard-core supporters of the President.

Now why do I find this interesting? The survey shows far from an overwhelming majority being worried about the consequences of not having elections. It may be a stretch to consider that this means they would welcome not having elections. But if I were looking at these numbers from the Palace’s point of view, an argument could be made for pushing Charter Change a little bit further; because compared to the figures for the possible presidential candidates, there remain more who shrug off the implications of not having elections, and those who are unsure, than those who actually have a stake in pushing forward any individual candidate. There would be no one to galvanize opposition to the cancellation of elections.

Which brings us to what the media considers the juiciest part of this most recent survey: personal preferences, in elections had been held last February:


While from the very start, Nery considered a renewed Estrada bid for the presidency as legally preposterous, what may be more relevant is that Estrada is far from a runaway winner in the surveys, as his drumbeaters were predicting; Nery also points out that compared to his past survey ratings, Estrada’s sheen has dulled, politically.

In fact, if you look at the comparative preferences of people, only four of the main contenders have improved their standings over the past year: Escudero and Roxas by the most, followed by de Castro. Villar went down, as did Estrada, Legarda, and Lacson:


Doronila points out that the latest survey actually presents a dead heat between the four leading contenders, de Castro, Escudero, Estrada and Villar (Nery of course immediately discounts Estrada as constitutionally-banned from seeking the presidency). Of these four, only two have access to the cash necessary to run a strong campaign: Escudero and Villar. Which is why there is talk that the Vice-President might be amenable to running for the vice-presidency, again, repeating the strategy pursued by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2004 when she convinced de Castro to be her running mate.

Regarding the vice-presidency, what may surprise readers the most is that the survey gives an indication of those who are mulling over throwing their hat in the vice-presidential derby, or who are considered likely to do so, or who the various political forces are considering drafting:


More people, it seems, would be happy with de Castro running for Vice-President for the second time, and Escudero, if he decided, as Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo did in 1998, to play it safe, would do twice as well running for the vice-presidency, too. Legarda would do much better, too. So all three have the luxury or choice, they can slide down if necessary.

I think this point is strengthened by the finding that only four potential vice-presidential candidates have shown improvement in their rankings over the past year:


With Escudero doing best, followed by de Castro and Legarda, who only made negligible gains. Binay went from infinitesimal to negligible.

What the survey doesn’t take into account is the talk, quite recent, at that, that Joseph, not Jinggoy, Estrada might cut through the constitutional Gordian knot and run for the vice-presidency!

Concerning the Senate, the survey looked at the number of slots people fill up in their ballots (just as an aside, it’s well to remember that prior to martial law, voters only voted for 8 senators at a time; if voters’ behavior hasn’t changed all that much, this suggests that fill-up rates back then must have been 100% most of the time). It’s interesting to note that the National Capital Region has the lowest fill-out rate (9) and that demographically, it’s class ABC that fills out the least number of names (also 9):


Now personally I think the 12 at a time system at present is crazy; the old 8 at a time was more reasonable, and also meant a periodic changing of 1/3 of the Senate, more accurately fulfilling its function, as compared to the House, of being a continuing body.

But anyway, here are the front-runners, for the Senate, and again, voters will be interested in getting a sneak peek at those who are angling to run, or who will run:



Now it’s up to you at which point you’ll consider a candidate to be facing such an uphill climb that a candidacy isn’t worth it, but I’d draw it at 12-16, which means Dick Gordon is the last candidate with a ghost of a chance. Note the appearance in the list of media personalities Korina Sanchez, Mike Enriquez, Arnold Clavio and Anthony Taberna; of Speakers de Venecia and Nograles, businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan, former Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban, and Wowowee host Revillame. Also, just as Lito Banayo pointed out in February, only those with a very high Awareness Rating can be considered viable senatorial contenders (consider the contrast between the probable awareness among newspaper readers or those who regularly read political blogs, and the public awareness of figures often mentioned in the papers and blogs, such as Ed Panlilio (only 34% Awareness) or Jessie Robredo (only 14%).

I am surprised at the rankings of former senators like Butz Aquino or up-and-coming candidates like Adel Tamano.

An interesting table is the next one, showing how individual candidates have moved up or down, percentage-wise, since late last year. Now how much of the changes, do you think, can be directly connected with whatever the headlines have been in the interval between October ’08 and February ’09?


Look at the biggest gainer -Edu Manzano! And how, generally, the President’s cabinet members are doing badly. Only Ralph Recto and Sotto are doing well: Durano, Yap, Duque, Syjuco, Teves, Romulo, Teodoro are all in the cellar (with Dinky Soliman). This suggests not even the administration machine can help them.

Nonetheless, the administration and everyone else has to attend to fine-tuning their political machinery in preparation for 2010. Here the old dictum that all politics is local comes to the fore. Even as national candidates mull over their chances, each has to consider who their local allies will be, while local allies jockey to ensure the succession or block rivals from presenting a strong alternative to their rule.

My column today, Vendettas, recounts the scuttlebutt I heard in Davao City when I was there over the weekend. Both Mayor Duterte and Speaker Nograles are third termers; both are trying to ensure their posts pass on to their successors, in Duterte’s case, his daughter for the mayoralty, and in the case of Nograles, to his son for the House of Representative. The possibility that old scores have been merged with the concerns of other groups -say, Duterte’s tolerance for the NPA and the obsession within certain circles of the AFP to liquidate the unarmed Left- points to the role warlordism in all its forms, will play in the coming months to enable permanent solutions to often intractable political problems.


An entirely different study (“Impression: The Importance of Media Presence on the bid for the 2010 National Elections”) was presented at the College of Mass Communications of the University of the Philippines at Diliman. It was a student project, with 10 Focus Group Discussions (FGDs), with each group comprising six to eight participants in Metro Manila, Laguna, Rizal, Cavite, Batangas, Quezon, Camarines Sur, Bulacan, Tarlac and Pampanga. All I can do at this point is stitch together the and stories. Note that the Inquirer article was fairly misleading, headlining former Senate President Manuel Villar Jr. as the “most popular.” That isn’t what the respondents were asked.

Instead, what respondents were asked was to rate the probability certain candidates would seek the presidency, based on their media exposure. In other words, based on media appearances, who was expected to seek the presidency? According to the respondents:

Manuel Villar Jr. : 79%

Loren Legarda: 49%

Manuel de Castro Jr. 45%

Manuel Roxas II: 34%

Bayani Fernando: 26%

Panfilo Lacson: 25%

Francis Escudero: 22%

Joseph Estrada: 16%

Gloria Macapagal Arroyo: 6%

So this tells us who was the most obvious, or most assiduous, about increasing their media visibility. But not about their actual popularity. Asked who they actually intend to vote for, 15% said they’d vote for Villar, followed by 10% saying they intended to vote for Escudero.

More interesting was the finding that TV was the most influential medium in terms of ensuring visibility; that in terms of TV, news program exposure was preferable, in the public’s opinion, than exposure in entertainment programs; that, however, over-exposure might lead to public skepticism or resistance to candidates:

“High media visibility was risky for those with political ambitions since media may emphasize the negative rather than the positive facets of potential candidates,” the study said.

The Internet was hardly mentioned as the media in which they saw candidates the most.

(addendum, March 17) Newsbreak, in Voters don’t like pre-campaigning: study , reports as follows:

…television remains to be the most influential medium, with almost all (98%) of the respondents using it. Radio was used by 62 percent while Internet and broadsheet were used by 42 percent and 35 percent, respectively.

“The results of the survey and the FGD echo conclusions made by previous studies that television is the most widely used, and most influential, the study said. “All top five candidates were seen most often by the respondents on TV.”

The study, however, noted that only few respondents saw the potential candidates in the Internet, a medium that has become popular in the Philippines and has been used extensively in other countries for organizing political campaigns and soliciting campaign donations.

“The Internet, which seems to draw the greatest excitement these days due to US president Barack Obama’s history-making and breaking rise to power, was hardly ever mentioned by the respondents when asked in which media they see potential candidates most,” the study said, adding that most respondents prefer using this medium for other purposes like downloading music, visiting social networking sites and chatting.

The rest of the An article, Study shows good, bad among hopefuls, makes for interesting reading, in terms of the semiotics of campaigning.I suppose the findings were listed from least effective to most effective to dispel the impression the article favored any particular candidate, so let me reproduce the reported findings more logically, from most effective to least effective:

– Sen. Manuel Villar. His old campaign slogan “Sipag at Tiyaga” (hard work) still served him well in the UP study. Desirable, too, were his choice of orange as campaign color (symbol) and his relatively new advocacy for the welfare of Filipino migrant workers.

–  Sen. Loren Legarda. She wages a “Green Revolution” (slogan) and is always seen wearing “white” (symbol) in public; both were seen as desirable. Respondents also associated her favorably with causes promoting women empowerment.

– Vice President Noli De Castro. Respondents responded positively to his slogan and symbol “Kabayan,”(compatriot or town mate). They also found desirable his advocacy for mass housing (pabahay).

– Sen. Manuel “Mar” Roxas II. “Mr. Palengke” (his slogan), the wet market (his symbol), and his campaign for poverty alleviation (advocacy) all registered as desirable.

– Sen. Panfilo Lacson. While his anticorruption advocacy got the thumbs-up from the respondents, they still associated the former police official with the undesirable notion of being iron-fisted (kamay na bakal), which emerged as both his slogan and symbol.

–  Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chair Bayani Fernando. His urban beautification slogan “Metro Gwapo” and his advocacy for traffic management got the respondents’ nod. But his symbol – the pink (with blue) motif for overpasses, fences, road signs and urinals – proved to be a turnoff.

– Sen. Francis Escudero. His slogan “Say Chiz” and his advocacy for “youth empowerment” were deemed desirable. So was his supposed close resemblance to Bamboo, front man of a popular rock band of the same name.

– Former President Joseph Estrada. The convicted-then-pardoned political kingpin still exuded desirability with his old “Erap Para Sa Mahirap” slogan, his “white wristband” symbol and his pro-poor advocacy.

–  Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay. His “Makati, Atin Ito” slogan, his city being his own symbol and his economic development agenda consistently came across as desirable among respondents.

–  Ms Arroyo. Her slogan Gloria Labandera (Laundrywoman) and her recognized symbol, the mole or nunal on her left cheek, were both considered undesirable; her advocacy for economic development, desirable.

For the political tacticians and communications teams of the various candidates, this surely makes for interesting reading. They have a glimpse, free of charge, at how their “messaging,” thus far, has worked -or failed. And how it ties into what voters look for in candidates.

Back in July, 2007, I pointed out some of the findings in “The Vote of the Poor” by the Institute of Popular Culture of the Ateneo de Manila University:

Corruption is widely seen as making a bad leader. To be good, a leader must have the following attributes: (a) God-fearing, (b) helpful, (c) loyal, (d) responsible, (e) intelligent, (f) hardworking, (g) faithful to one’s word, (h) principled, and (i) trustworthy. Rural and female participants look for intelligence, while urban participants value religiosity. Older participants give priority to helpfulness, while youth and male groups emphasize a leader’s sense of responsibility. Participants tend to cast their sight on local officials for examples of good leaders and on national officials for examples of bad leaders.

Now for more, see the PCIJ articles The poor vote is a thinking vote, and In Payatas, the poor are hopeful. Also, the more recent Pity the poor, for they vote unwisely? From the first two articles, these findings by the Institute of Popular Culture, are helpful.

The first concerns positive qualities the poor look for, in leaders:

Snapshot 2009-03-16 17-49-17

The next concerns what are considered negative traits:

Snapshot 2009-03-16 17-48-27

Then, the things that make a difference in actually choosing a leader:

Snapshot 2009-03-16 17-51-16

And, perhaps most interestingly, the factors that might nullify or alter any of the above:

Snapshot 2009-03-16 17-52-21
How are these findings helpful? First of all, figuring out differences between the rural and urban poor; and the young versus their elders.

They can help you figure out where you stand, in terms of values and voting behavior, in terms of the majority; and whether the surveys, and the U.P. FGD’s, and past studies, all mesh, or are there new developments to factor in, in terms of popular expectations?

Manuel L. Quezon III.

40 thoughts on “In this corner…

  1. if the trend will continue, chances are we are gonna have the same set of old timers in the senate (note that top 1-7 are all old timers).

    surprisingly, old timer Gordon is at the bottom 12. no wonder why he is making so much noise to discredit the survey.

  2. from the very start, the senate was meant to foster old timers, this is the reason the rectos and laurels repeatedly won; in that sense the question is whether in legislatures it’s desirable to maintain the term limit (personally, i’ve come to the conclusion that terms limits are necessary in executive positions but unhealthy in legislative positions)

  3. The way Chiz Escudero is moving in the charts above will give my daughter reasons to be jubilant about. He’s her idol, heheh.

    The young is seeing something in him that the not-so-young like me failed to see.

    One interesting point shown by the tables is the steady and consistent rise of the positive changes in the public’s approval for Escudero in so short a time, in contrast with the other presidentiables’, such that, if the trajectory of its rise be mainained up to election time, we’ll be seeing a sure win for him.

    Btw, is Chiz an old timer? Compared with the others he seems like a rookie to me.

  4. bert, because with the elimination of bloc voting, election to the senate no longer favored those who rose through the ranks in parties. it became a every man for himself game and the celebrity factor entered the picture (immediately obvious from the rise of movie idol rogelio dela rosa in the aftermath of bloc voting being eliminated).

  5. mlq3, why is gloria still included in the candidates for 2010? do we need to entertain this thought?

  6. no idea, grd. maybe at the time the students were formulating their questions, they felt it was interesting to see public opinion on the matter.

  7. Is there a tabulated data showing why each particular candidate was chosen? Why did they chose Villar, because he is educated? maka Diyos? Why GMA is pugit, corrupt? liar?

  8. Haven’t we always known the poor are good voters? Media is more blameworthy for all the bad apples in government. I wonder why media consistently give the image that a plebiscite is a boxing match or a sabong. This habit of pandering to the public while distancing themselves as if they’re above it all should stop. I understand being smart protects one from rabid pols but the reason is precisely the lack of audience of such educated and smart writeups.

  9. “Of these four, only two have access to the cash necessary to run a strong campaign: Escudero and Villar.”

    Why so, mlq3? I heard Villar is rich, and perhaps Mar Roxas too. But Escudero? I am puzzled.

  10. mlq3, could you kindly elaborate on your statement:

    “i’ve come to the conclusion that terms limits are necessary in executive positions but unhealthy in legislative positions”

    aren’t they one and the same bananas? (well, of course, i’m referring to the way they do their corruption)

  11. supremo,

    Escudero is a member of Danding’s NPC. And now, Gilbert Teodoro appears in the picture. Where would the funds go to, suppose Teodoro enters the game?

    Aaah, this is getting exciting….

  12. MLQ3, do we have survey of possible pairings for the President and the VP. I’m leaning towards a Villar-Escudero tandem.

  13. Between Chiz and Gilbert Teodoro Danding is in a dilemma. What should he do?

    We’ll find out this time whether blood is really thicker than water, or, whether money is the thickest of them all, heheh.

    What do you think, guys?

  14. The IPC/Ateneo de Manila focus groups established that the poor have brains. They can evaluate candidates and come up with a choice. But after such a choice is made, do they actually vote for their pick? The poor vote may be a thinking vote but does this mean that the poor vote is resistant to manipulation? Note that respondents say that they will accept money and vote for their own choice only if they can get away with it. But what if their votes can somehow be checked? Would they still accept the money? On the other hand, will they accept money and vote against their conscience due to feelings of gratitude for money received? The IPC/Ateneo study did not adequately address this issue. I’m afraid that unless the poor rises out of their poverty, they will be unable to resist vote manipulation. The stomach will trump the brain and can we blame them?

  15. Mike,

    That’s possible too. Except that, if you are Escudero, and you have tables like above looking better than the others including Villar’s, would you be playing second fiddle?

    An Escudero-Villar tandem would be formidable. It’s also sort of a promotion to Villar…one step at a time.

  16. Regards the poor votes I believe the IPC/Ateneo focus group.

    In Caloocan where I vote, a depressed area, there is no rampant vote-buying, and the pressure on the voters comes mainly from the leaders of local candidates, so that the voters can do as they pleases with their choice of national positions.

    But I am a probinsyano, and in my province where some of my siblings are in politics too, election time is always a source of income specially of the poor voters. There is no actual monitoring of what were written on the ballot inside the precinct but the result after the tabulation always shows that even the poor have honors and conscience too. But that is as far as local candidates are concerned only. The local candidates are strict with the results of their votes but not with the results of the national candidates they carry.

    In some sense, the poor voters are even more honorable than the politicians.

  17. Between Escudero and Teodoro, Danding will back Chiz, hands down.

    First of all, as Manolo points out, there is a rift between Teodoro and Danding. There has been talk about this for some time.

    Secondly, Danding is the consummate pragmatist. One look at the polls, and he will see that there’s no contest. Chiz is ahead of Gibô by a mile. It is also clear to Danding that, personality-wise, Chiz is the far more marketable candidate. Danding will not hesitate to sideline family in order to back a winner. This can be clearly seen in how he ditched his own sons in favor of Ramon Ang to run his business empire.

    Third, while Chiz may not be a blood relative, they belong to the KBL family. Sonny Escudero, Chiz’ dad, was a faithful KBL loyalist, just like Danding. While Sonny was one of Imelda Marcos’ pets, he was considered a very capable techno-bureaucrat who didn’t get involved in the power struggle within KBL. He cut both ways, and was also close to Danding. Over the years, Chiz has been very loyal to Danding. Chiz has given Danding no cause to doubt whether he will protect Danding’s interests when push comes to shove.

  18. Manolo,

    I have your site bookmarked. Whenever I go there, it still has the the “National Embrace” post dated March 6. Then after a few days, my virus scanner said your site has a virus (html.ini something and I even left a comment to fyi you, but my comment was not posted). Then after a few days again, there was no more virus, but it still has the old post in your homepage.

    I got to this post via a Facebook link (I am in your friendslist).

    So wierd.

  19. the question the IPC findings raises is, to what extent does fraud thwart their intent, particularly in national elections? if the poor and the public is as easy to manipulate as smoke suggests:

    then you could concentrate on media manipulation and not go for wholesale fraud. retail fraud having been proven to be too messy and perhaps, not as much bang for the buck (that is, bribing voters one by one, or stuffing ballot boxes, is not as efficient as simply manipulating the adding up of votes).

  20. hector, even the way corruption is done would differ between those in legislative and executive positions. my view is that the legislature is a deliberative body, and that when it comes to the requirements of parliamentary procedure and lawmaking, investigation and oversight, experience is both necessary and can only be honed over time. therefore ideally, a veteran legislator is preferable to a greenhorn legislator, corrupt practices aside. executive positions, however, are limited by endurance and imagination, executive ability becomes counterproductive if too long at the same job, and so, executive responsibilities are best exercised by someone bound by a limited time frame.

  21. “when it comes to the requirements of parliamentary procedure and lawmaking, investigation and oversight, experience is both necessary and can only be honed over time.”

    our brilliant lawmakers probably interpreted the idea incorrectly that’s why they are extending their term with their “anak/asawa/kapatid” 😀

  22. Assuming, for the sake of argument, that media is the main influencing factor in voter’s decision-making during national election, then why the focus on the poor and not on the general voting population, as if the poor has the exclusive right to access to media when, in fact, media has the same impact/impression on the not-poor as on the poor?

    The media is dishing out the news, so what the poor reads and hear is the same news that the not-poor hear and read, the interpretation would be the same whether it’s manipulative news or the factual. Therefore, why the inference that the choice of the poor voters in national elections is inferior to that of the not-poor voters?

    The political surveys, having been conducted in a balance social spectrum, will bear out the fact that the not-poor is as vulnerable to media manipulation as the poor voters. That is, if we call media dishing out the news voter manipulation.

    I say, the poor is as wise as the not-poor in their choice of candidate to vote for.

    To say otherwise is elitist…not necessarily elite.

  23. Nicole’s life story…just another tele-novela in real life. I just hope it has a happy ending.

  24. This is the detailed “Nicole” statement:

    N.4number 6 had : ….with the amount of alcoholic mixed drinks I took, my low tolerance level for alcohol and with only a slice of pizza all night, it dawned upon me that I may have possibly lost my inhibitions, became so intimate with Daniel Smith and did more than just dancing and talking with him like everyone else on the dance floor.

  25. I don’t know exactly how big a role vote-buying and ward politics play when the poor vote. I do know that, in some areas, local leaders have a big say on the outcome of an election. Cotabato may be an extreme example, but there are several pockets all over the country where local leaders can influence the vote. Politicians themselves seem to believe that this is so, giving credence to these leaders by sucking up to them and giving them money during elections.

    I also don’t know how big a role religious groups play in determining the vote. Again, politicians seem to think that this is pivotal because of the way they queue up, hoping for endorsements from El Shaddai, Iglesia ni Cristo and other groups.

    Then there is also the regional vote. Marcos rode on the back of the Ilocano vote with his “solid North” phenomenon. Miriam Santiago almost won the Presidency in 1992 behind the youth and the Ilonggo vote. Ramos countered with his Pangasinan vote. The Osmeña’s counted on the Cebuano vote to score well in national elections. And, in the past few senatorial elections, the Bicolano vote has been more and more solid behind their own candidates. Recently, Mar Roxas has been working hard to solidify his hold over the Ilonggo vote, which is substantial and involves quite a number of provinces in the Visayas and Mindanao.

  26. there’s an interesting demographic trend here, in the demise of the ilocano solid north vote, and the endurance of say, the bicol vote.

  27. I agree, Manolo. The Ilocano solid North has been on the wane, while the Bicol vote is a relatively new phenomenon. It has been especially evident at the senatorial level. Raul Roco, Gringo Honasan, Chiz Escudero, even Kit Tatad, benefited from this. While Chiz enjoys widespread popularity, a solid Bicol vote can become a game changer in a close election.

    Miriam also showed that Ilonggos can vote solidly for a Presidential candidate. Miriam got 70% to 80% of the votes in Panay Island, Negros Occidental, South Cotabato and North Cotabato, areas with a considerable voting population. That caught everyone by surprise in 1992, and Ramos had to work double-time and do fancy footwork in order to catch up. While I think Miriam is wacko, I do believe she was robbed in that election.

    I hear that Mar Roxas is working on the Ilonggo vote these days. He has people touching base with Ilonggo organizations in the Visayas and Mindanao. In a close, multi-cornered fight, a reliable regional base could spell the difference between winning and losing. That’s when it comes into play.

  28. Yes, hello garci can counter a solid regional vote in a close election. In the case of Miriam in 1992, her solid votes from the youth sector and the Ilonggo region were countered by Ramos with a bailiwick vote of his own. Ramos won Pangasinan with almost 90% of the vote. But that wasn’t enough. So Ramos had to resort to hello Garci methods in Mindanao to overcome Miriam’s lead. Fortunately for Ramos, there was no smoking gun.

    Bailiwick votes, votes from organized groups and even vote-buying may be critical in close elections. But in 1998, for example, Erap was too far ahead of the pack for any of these to matter. But despite winning handily, Erap still failed to win a majority vote. Over 60% of the people didn’t vote for him.

  29. Hello. I am one of the two faculty advisers of the Communication Research students who did the UP study. May I thank you for accurately reporting that the heart of our research was the importance of media presence on the perceptions of potential voters. We have been quite disheartened by comments based on inaccurate reports about our data especially those that claim that majority of “UP students” said they want Villar to be the next president. Please let us know how we can send you a copy of our brochure so you may read the rest of our results and findings. Again thank you and best regards.

    Almond Pilar N. Aguila
    Assistant Professor
    Communication Research Department
    College of Mass Communication
    UP Diliman

  30. Dear Prof. Aguila, the best way might be to scan your brochures and make them available online? I’m sure many would be interested in seeing the results of your student’s research! Many thanks for your kind words.

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