Still a popularity contest

"Name recall is half the battle won."



As expected, party-list representation in Congress is turning out to be the biggest joke in the coming circus...I mean, elections!

We can see that so-called party-list nominees do not really belong to the marginalized sectors as mandated by the 1987 Constitution. Rather, they are elite members of society.

I have called party-list representation the biggest anomaly in the charter. It has origins in a parliamentary system.

The late President Corazon Aquino just made it part of the charter because she had friends and allies from the Left.

Worse, it’s us taxpayers paying their salary. I feel like I am being swindled!

* * *

So they are off and running. I refer to the 104 candidates for the Senate, as of the penultimate day for the filing of the certificates of candidacy. I have been told the number could rise to more than 120.

With so many characters running, the voters will not be choosing political parties but personalities. This is a stark departure from the days when voters made their choices based on party affiliation.

I think those who will perform strongly are: Grace Poe, Cynthia Villar, Nancy Binay, Sonny Angara, Koko Pimentel, Imee Marcos, Jinggoy Estrada, Mar Roxas, Juan Ponce Enrile, Serge Osmeña, Pia Cayetano and Bong Revilla.

I am not predicting that they will win, just saying they have a strong chance. Awareness is a big factor and they have this advantage over the newcomers.

Bailiwicks of candidates are also a factor.

I have covered 10 administrations. I think I am aware of the realities of Philippine elections.

* * *

Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go just sounds pathetic. I listened to an interview after President Duterte accompanied him in filing his certificate of candidacy.

Obviously Go is not aware that being a senator means protecting the Constitution. He is just all about loyalty to one man.

Once elected, a senator no longer represents any party but the common good. This is the reason why a senatorial candidate must have integrity and probity.

I am not picking on Go. I am just bewildered that Mr. Duterte would go out on a limb for his faithful and loyal assistant. Will he rise and fall on Go’s candidacy?

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo says there is just too much attention on Go’s filing. I say Panelo insults our intelligence.

* * *

I have advocated the elimination of the restrictive, protectionist clauses of the 1987 Constitution. I am glad that former Finance secretary Gary Teves shares my opinion. He sent me an article on the need to amend the economic provisions of the Constitution.

Teves claims that today, unlike a few years ago and even up to last year, the country’s macroeconomic fundamentals are facing challenges: Weaker peso, high inflation rate, high balance of payment deficit.

According to Teves, the Duterte administration should seriously consider removing the restrictive provisions as a headstart to federalism.

No doubt, this will make us more competitive in the region in terms of attracting foreign investments. Records show that we pale in comparison with Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam. FDIs fuel growth and create more jobs.

Teves also says we don’t need 18 federated regions right away. Preconditions include expanding the capabilities of the LGUs and their officials to ensure they are prepared for regional self-government. A more open economy will help accelerate the state of preparedness of the regions.

I certainly agree with that!

The former Finance secretary believes that federalism is important but may not be urgent at this point. On the other hand, lifting the restrictive economic provisions of the Constitution is both important and urgent. It paves the way for solutions that can immediately      help address the gut issues and accelerate the attainment of the administration’s socio-economic agenda—particularly development and infrastructure.

Teves says: “It is high time to harvest the low-hanging fruit, which will yield many benefits for us today and the next generation. We need to respond with a deeper sense of urgency to bring real and positive change in our country.”

I say Amen to that!

* * *

I feel sad that the patriarch of the Binay family, former Vice President Jejomar Binay, decided to have the residents of Makati just choose between his two children, Junjun and Abby.

I am also sad that despite the request of Mayor Abby, her brother Junjun still opted to run against her.

I am sad because Mayor Abby is already doing a fine job in the city. A change at city hall can derail what she is already doing. She has made Makati crime-free and drug-free.

All I can say is “sayang.”

* * *

Another father, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, has also not been able to reconcile his sons. Both JV Ejercito and Jinggoy Estrada are bent on running, although I can’t see how JV can win against Jinggoy. Think it over, JV.

Topics: Congress , Elections , Joseph Estrada , Jinggoy Estrada , JV Ejercito , Jejomar Binay , Junjun Binay , Abby Binay , Gary Teves , Salvador Panelo , Christopher Go , Salvador Panelo , Rodrigo Duterte
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