Manila Bulletin : How the people will vote

News & Interviews
29 August 2021

By Dr. Jun Ynares | Manila Bulletin

THE VIEW FROM RIZAL

Readers have been asking us what our “reaction” is to the announcement of the PDP-Laban that President Duterte has acceded to their call for him to run as their party’s vice-presidential candidate in the 2022 elections.

According to media reports, the President has decided to run for the second highest elective post in the land in order to ensure that the programs he started during his term as the country’s chief executive are completed.

If he and his running mate win the elections, the latter would benefit from the wisdom of the counsel of someone who has run the country for six years. A “Vice President Digong” will carry the might of his political goodwill over to the term of the next President.

If his running mate does not make it and the next President were to come from an opposing camp, a “Vice President Digong” would keep the latter on his toes. The ex-President Vice President would be a formidable critic. The next President will have to perform well in office and watch the action of his underlings if he or she is to survive the scrutiny of an ex-President sitting at the vice-presidential chair.

Our view is that, in the 2022 elections, most voters will choose whom they will vote for on the basis of “performance.”

As we mentioned in a previous column, there are three bases for voters’ decision on whom to vote for: performance, personality, promise.

We are going through tough times. We do not know when the tough times will come to an end. In times like these, people would want someone who has already held the helm of government – local and national – and faced the challenges head on.

“Performance” has two components: experience and track record. Both are proof that a candidate is already familiar with the needs of the people under the present circumstances, and has done something to address those needs.

It is unlikely that the people will opt for someone whose bid for a public office – local or national – is based simply on “personality” or – worse – “promise.”

When people are dying, sick, hungry and jobless, they are not predisposed to go for candidates whose bid for an elective post is based simply on being “lovable”, such as trying to look like a teenage basketball player even as the middle age looks envelop the pretender’s being.

It will also be difficult to win votes simply on the basis of “promise.” We seriously doubt if voters can be won over by a candidate who would simply throw mud at the incumbent’s reputation and performance while claiming that he or she “can do better.”

Whether one likes him or not, one cannot deny that no national government official has been tried and tested by our present circumstances than President Duterte.

The same is true for our local officials. No generation of governors and mayors has had to put up systems for containing a deadly virus, inoculating their constituents, providing for urgent survival needs while implementing restrictions to human movement than the incumbent local government leaders.

They have had to put order amid the chaos created by collective panic and the common fear of death from hunger or from the deadly virus and its deadlier variants.

Voters are not likely to put the country – as well as their province, cities and towns – in the hands of someone untried and untested.

Our fearless forecast is that the 2022 elections will be about performance – that deadly combination of experience and track record.

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