The Manila Times – Tandem voting

By Ma. Lourdes Tiquia | The Manila Times

TANDEM voting is supposed to be the way to go in 2022 but to enforce this, the Constitution has to undergo an amendment if that would be the mode of voting. Tandem voting is selecting a ticket rather than individual voting for candidates for president and vice president, respectively. An amendment is crucial to facilitate the selection. Without it, the change could still be possible through discovering a campaign device, framing the campaign as a team and writing both names on the ballot. The amendment though makes things easier because a vote for a presidential candidate would be a vote for his/her vice president.

How does it stack out? Luzon has 56 percent of voters in the country, while the Visayas has 21 percent and Mindanao has 23 percent. As what was adopted in 2019, Kilusang Pagbabago clearly cornered VizMin, but had a ground game of hitting Luzon first in the 90-day campaign period. Two groups represented the administration, with the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan being the other one. Again, out of the traditional playbook of just having a coalition. It was during the campaign when cohesion was made and collaboration was emphasized between the two slates. It was not a super coalition but it accorded the voters more choices with President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (PRRD) shepherding candidate Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go in the first 45 days of the campaign period and then candidate Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa midway, and a concerted final push for candidate Francis Tolentino in the last week of the campaign.

Clearly, certain strategies have been tested and validated with the results of the midterm. With no one from Otso Diretso getting in, the Liberal Party (LP) reelectionists of 2022 will have a hard time in the next election cycle. The only regions that showed LP support were Bicol and Western Visayas.

With the results of the PahayagVisMin, it seems reelectionists coming from LP will have a hard time gaining traction in these islands, making Luzon a battleground for the LP. Former senator Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino 4th has a preponderance rating of 31.50 percent with a trust rating of 36.85percent. Ana Theresia “Risa” Hontiveros has a 23.40-percent preponderance rating and 27.10 percent trust rating. Pangilinan is at 21 percent preponderance and a trust rating of 26.80 percent, while Emmanuel Joel Villanueva has likely to vote at 16.35 percent and a trust rating of 20.20 percent, among the LP reelectionists. The PahayagVisMin measured predisposition and not preference.

Having a presidential candidate will dissipate whatever remaining strength the LP has should it fail to change its narratives in 2020. Reframing will not be easy with the poll numbers going nowhere. If the LP fails to gain headway in 2020, it will be hard to secure a win in 2022.

Though it is the end of term of PRRD, a nuanced tandem, identified/associated with a Duterte will be a strong ticket for 2022. The shadow of PRRD ending on a high note with high approval and trust ratings could be converted to a strong endorsement for a tandem. It will ensure continuity of policies, plans, programs and activities that will not be completed by end of June 2022.

The anti-drug war will have to be sustained under a more refined public order platform, anti-corruption push heightened, ensuring five percent of gross national product for infrastructure development pursued and anti-poverty complementary programs rolled out are the platform issues post-PRRD. Message framing of being for and is identified with classes DE are necessary metrics in a tandem victory.

A PRRD-endorsed tandem would be critical for the country in the long term. Tandem voting would ensure predictability, reliability and stability for 12 years. PRRD is in a position to put together a formula for the next 18 years or three presidencies if he can wield the stick and get everyone in the political parties to agree and define who shall form the three presidencies post-PRRD. This would mean a lot of negotiations and sacrifices for the three will have to be identified early and be working together to complete generational leapfrog. For 2022, a working vice president is critical. She or he cannot just be a spare tire. Partnership and working together as a team is necessary. The triumvirate (president, vice president and the potential 2034 candidates) will have to be honed in shared leadership and management so that the future is ensured. Continuity after all is the ingredient lacking in our governance.

A Duterte to follow a Duterte may be the step most of the Duterte base would like to see if we are to maintain the growth in VisMin. But a Duterte immediately following PRRD smacks of dynastic power. If the successor will immediately be a Duterte, the presidential campaign will be a wild, wild west with the succeeding Duterte taking all the bullets against PRRD, as well as being responsible for all the “sins” of the administration. To sustain and continue the gains for 2022, a Duterte should lead the ticket in 2028 to signal to all that the country will finish what PRRD has started. Consequently, to inoculate Duterte 2, the tandem of 2022 will have to be headed by another individual, with the current mayor from Davao taking the second spot in preparation for 2028. PRRD has to carefully lay out the bricks for 2022, 2028 and 2034. Only then can our politics be sustainable because institutions are inclusive and not extractive. Probably, if this political map is made, federalism can be realized and the needed political reforms instituted. BSA3 failed to have political reform in place. PRRD only has the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao to show in terms of political reform and yet it has not taken root with needed inclusive legislation.

The year 2022 will see the shift from the cohorts of PRRD to a younger, new breed of leaders. Imagine if the average age in the next cabinet will be 50 years old, as compared to today at around 70 years old. A male-female tandem would certainly be carrying varying lens in looking at problems and providing solutions to it. A North-South tandem ensures representation. Local government exposure gives the tandem the executive training needed in governance. Time and time again we have seen that legislators are not the best executives. They lack the skill to implement, to roll out plans and manage activities efficiently and effectively. And there is innovation, which is today, the controlling metric, with productivity being on the sidelines because of VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity).

PRRD will end up naming 13 of the 15 justices in the Supreme Court by the end of his term. He will be naming two new commissioners in the Commission on Elections, and seven of eight commissioners by the campaign period in 2022. PRRD would be naming the full eight commissioners before he exits in June 2022. Imagine if the LP is obliterated by 2022. That would mean PRRD, in just a span of six years, changed the political terrain by sheer will and a huge political capital that he was able to sustain despite the odds at the beginning, an odd defined by being an outlier.

The countdown has started. First test is the speakership fight and whether the gentleman’s agreement will be honored. Second test would be the movement of political parties, specifically the regional Hukbong Pagbabago and the national players: Nacionalista, National Unity Party and the National People’s Coalition. Third test is understanding the psychographics of the voters whose demographics are changing fast due to technology.

Davao is buzzing with two factions and tandems have been floated and are being tested as we near December 2020 when the 18 months of needed preparation for national campaigns are made. How many tandems will there be? How many competitive slates will come out in support of the tandems? Will PRRD parlay his political capital into local politics, focusing more on provinces and cities in order to have more reforms in key areas? How will the oligarchs play their political game with huge war chests being put together to get a friendlier leader in Malacañang? They should be wary for “political necessities sometimes turn out to be political mistakes.”

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