The Manila Times : Decision point: This weekend will show the real structure of competition in 2022 election

13 November 2021

By Yen Makabenta | The Manila Times

Because of this provision, this weekend of November 13 and 14 will profoundly impact the election by rigorously shaping the structure of competition in the balloting.

This is a time when the currently bloated and clownish roster of candidates will be winnowed down to only the fully qualified and serious candidates, who are truly determined and prepared to go the distance in the campaign. The chaff will be separated from the grain.

Consequently, this weekend many candidates, particularly the presidential and vice presidential aspirants, will seriously review and assess their resolve or confidence in their candidacies. They will look at themselves in the mirror to see where they stand in the rankings by turning to the poll surveys and the level of public response to their bids. They will see that they have reached the decision point in their electoral adventure.

Those who discover that they have not moved the needle in public opinion one whit, will start planning on how best to shut down their campaigns, and how to exit from the campaign with their pride still intact.

Decision point

Decision point is a military term that is frequently used and has been adopted in project management to denote the stages in a project when important decisions must be taken.

Specifically, decision point is defined as "the point in space and time where the commander or staff anticipates making a decision concerning a specific course of action. A decision point is usually associated with a specific target area of interest and is located in time and space to permit the commander sufficient lead time to engage the adversary in the target area of interest. Decision points may also be associated with the friendly force and the status of ongoing operations." (From the Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms, US Department of Defense.)

The term's application and relevance to politics are manifest in the decision of former US President George W. Bush to entitle his memoirs, Decision Points (2010).

Bush's 481-page memoir covered his life before and during his presidency. He discussed notable events in his earlier life, such as his decision to quit drinking in 1986 and his decision to run for governor of Texas, and then for president of the United States. And then he discussed major events and decisions he made during his presidency, including the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and the wars he launched in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Bush also talked about the 2000 election and the 36-day legal battle with Al Gore over Florida and its 25 electoral votes. Bush was eventually declared the winner when the Supreme Court stopped a court-ordered recount in a controversial 5-4 decision on Dec. 8, 2000.

Review of election bids

It is entirely fitting and fair to say that Filipino candidates in the 2022 elections, particularly those running for president or vice president, should review at length and consciously decide whether and how to proceed with their candidacies.

Many of these election bids, while scoring high in self-delusion and gumption, are not taken seriously by the public. They are likely being dismissed even by the candidates' relatives, neighbors and associates.

As I write these words, many are already thinking twice about running, and have publicly amended their published policy views.

I still have to find a single policeman who believes in Sen. Bato dela Rosa's candidacy for president. Many think President Duterte twisted his arm to file his candidacy because of the reported move of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate the killings in the war on drugs.

When Senator Bato declared the other day that he is ready to stand aside for Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, if she runs for president, this proves that he has already dropped his candidacy for all intents and purposes. PDP-Laban President Alfonso Cusi, who has been persistent in selling us this mockery, does not believe in this crap at all.

Sen. Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go, who has similarly been nominated for vice president by PDP-Laban, has virtually withdrawn from the campaign. He never believed in his electability in the first place.

No chance of Sara vs BBM

Mayor Sara's decision to run for a national office, without specifying what, is being seized on by some politicians for all kinds of conjectures and positioning.

Sara turned heads when she resigned from the regional party she heads, Hugpong Ng Pagbabago, last Thursday. Her resignation came just days after she dropped her reelection bid for mayor in the 2022 elections.

This led some allies like Albay Rep. Joey Salceda to fantasize that she is seriously planning to run for president.

This also impelled the media to pepper presidentiables with questions on how Sara's running would affect their plans.

Dela Rosa wants to be substituted by Sara in the PDP-Laban ticket.

By contrast, Bongbong Marcos, when asked what if Sara runs for the top post, said curtly: "Then she runs."

And then he added: "Examine my situation; I have nowhere else to go. I cannot go anywhere. I will not change parties. I entered this race not to play any of this substitution."

The hope and prayer of the opposition, of course, is to see Marcos and Sara on separate and clashing tickets in the coming campaign and election.

Maybe they will wind up ruining each other's electoral chances.

More likely, however, the two will join together in a union of forces. The signs point to it.

They are both bright and young politicians who know their future is ahead of them, and the wind is at their back.

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