One of the outdated observations in Philippine political practice is the so-called “command” vote. It hardly exists.
Perhaps we had pockets of the same in Muslim Mindanao in the previous elections. Or perhaps some island provinces ruled by dynastic warlords. But the net effect on a presidential candidacy of the so-called command vote has become less and less significant through the years. Credit media for that, and in latter years, the pervasive influence of the internet.
If memory serves me right, in 2004, the late FPJ carried Pangasinan, though with a non-too-decisive margin over GMA. Both claimed roots in the province, as FPJ’s father was native to San Carlos City. And GMA’s mother, Dona Evangelina Macaraeg, my mom’s classmate at the UST College of Medicine, came from Binalonan in Ilocano-speaking Eastern Pangasinan.
Standing out was the town of Sto. Tomas, where Mayor Bebot Villar reigned. The whole town voted for GMA, all 7,000 voters and more, and gave FPJ a zero. Now that is a command vote.
The Ampatuans could likewise deliver so-called command votes, as they did in 2007 when they gave the Lakas senatorial slate a clean sweep. But all these are now passé.
The other theory I have always held is that the average Filipino voter keeps his vote for president distinct from his vote for local officials, congressman included. He can even allow the local official he loyally votes for to influence his list of senators, but not the president he wants to elect. He will be loyal to the mayor, or the congressman who gives him and his family care, but his presidential vote is his own—it is for his “kursunada”.
Otherwise, Joe de V should have won over Erap. And Tata Monching Mitra should have prevailed over FVR and Miriam. And so on through succeeding elections.
The “masa” treasure their vote for the president of the land, which is why if we finally get around to replacing the present Constitution, that direct vote for president must be retained, if we are to consider acceptability by the public. More like the French system rather than a purely parliamentary model. Or, shorn of dictatorial characteristics, the Marcos model.
Now let’s segue into the realm of geo-rithmetic, or political geographic arithmetic. Does a favorite son vote exist? Simply put, will the Filipino voter come 2016 place high on his hierarchy of “likes” the fact that he has ethno-linguistic, even regionalistic similarities to the candidate?
In times past, and as amply demonstrated by Ferdinand Marcos, there was a Solid North vote. The so-called Ilocano nation voted for Marcos, and never forsook him, even when Cory Aquino ran against him in 1986. That bloc of votes, comprising some 10-15% of the vote then, began in Rosales, Pangasinan all the way to the tip of Pagudpud in Ilocos Norte (west), to the entire Cagayan Valley (Region 2) in the northeast of Luzon, and the Montanosa provinces now known as the CAR. Half of Tarlac and Zambales as well.
It bears watching if the same would be a commanding “baluarte” for Bongbong Marcos. Or what percentage of the same. And likewise, whether it is something transferable to his supported presidential candidate. In 2010, he supported Manny Villar, and he delivered part of the “solid” North, the two Ilocos provinces.
The Tagalogs are not known to vote on the basis of ethno-linguistic bias. Pampangos do, but they are just a little over a million votes. The last time the Tagalogs delivered solidly was for Erap. In fact, Nueva Ecija, the country’s rice granary, gave Erap 90 percent of their vote, and his father’s Laguna 80 percent of the total vote. But never again. Not even similar margins for FPJ, Erap’s best friend. He carried these provinces in 2004, but not in the magnitude of Erap’s victory in 1998. How much diminished would the support be for FPJ’s Grace? It bears watching, should she finally decide to make a go for the top post.
Batangas has a native son vote. Even when Tito Doy Laurel and Rene de Villa were clearly going to lose, they elected their comprovincianos. Which means in 2016, albeit with a diminished majority, Jojo Binay will likely carry his father’s native province. And, if Congressman Rodito Albano is correct, Isabela likewise, because Binay’s mother is from there.
But will Binay, who is half-Batangueno and half-Ibanag, carry Regions 2 and 4? With the reach of media, that does not look like a sure bet. Even the pre-campaign surveys show it quite clearly. Poe has edged him out in these regions.
Bicol always votes for a native son. For senator that is, even giving their native sons a “solo voto”, as in filling up the list of 12, or 24 in the past, with just their Bicolano senator, giving him or them a multiplier despite Bicol being just 2.5 percent of the national vote. Grace and Chiz, if the pairing runs, will likely get this 2.5 percent.
I don’t know if the Ilonggos will vote solidly for Mar Roxas, of Capiz and Negros Occidental. The total Ilonggo-speaking vote is around 7 to 8 percent, and in the surveys, Miriam Defensor Santiago is competing against Mar, even in her sick bed. Would the Iloilo “foundling” Grace, with a Negrense mother, Susan Sonora, also deprive Mar of a solid Ilonggo vote?
For the first time in remembered history, a Mindanaoan of Cebuano and Southern Leyte roots, is running for president. That’s Rodrigo Duterte of Davao, who despite his protestations that he is not running, is clearly and seriously thinking of taking the plunge.
Nobody before, neither Teofisto Guingona Jr., of Bukidnon, Agusan and Guimaras, who was appointed vice-president by GMA after the Erap putsch, nor Emmanuel Pelaez of Medina in Misamis Oriental, who lost the nominating convention of the Nacionalista Party to Ferdinand Marcos in 1965, ever got so close to running for the top post, mismo.
Mindanao is 24 percent of the national vote. Bisaya, or Cebuano-speaking Visayas is 10 percent, or more than half of the entire Visayas vote of 19-20 percent. In the language of geo-rithmetic, Dutere should win heavily here. That’s 34 percent of the total vote. Assuming he gets 65 percent average, and the initial surveys indicate such a possibility, that’s a solid 22 percent of the vote.
And there are plenty of Bisaya in NCR and nearby provinces as well. Please note that the last time the Bisaya had a president was when they elected Carlos P. Garcia of Bohol in 1957, after Magsaysay died in a plane crash. His opponents, an Ilocano-Tagalog, Manuel Manahan, an Ilonggo-Lagunense, Jose Yulo, and a Batangueno-Quezonian, Claro M. Recto, divided Luzon among themselves, leaving the Bisaya voting for a native son, and winning.
Even Erap did not vote for Garcia. His first vote was cast when Marcos trounced Macapagal. Fred Lim perhaps did vote in 1957.
Will geo-rithmetic matter in 2016? Vamos a ver.