Madness of “just in time” improvisation – Manila Bulletin


Sonny Coloma

Should there be a second round in the Philippines?

This question emerged in light of the fact that in all five post-EDSA elections, the winning candidate received less than a majority vote. In three of them, the winners won by a considerable margin, even though they did not obtain more than 50% of the votes.

The two-round system is practiced in a total of 83 countries, making it the most common way of electing heads of state commonly referred to as presidents. Only 22 countries, including the Philippines, use first past the post or first past the post.

In the two-round system, a second round of voting ensues if in the first round no candidate obtains a simple majority or more than 50% of the votes cast. Only the two candidates with the most votes in the first round qualify for the second round. In some cases, all candidates who obtained above a prescribed proportion of votes qualify for the second round. Any remaining candidate could withdraw from the second round.

In 1992, Fidel Ramos was elected with 5,342,521 or 23.58% of the vote, a margin of 874,348 over Miriam Defensor Santiago. The third place, Eduardo ‘Danding’ Cojuangco, Jr. garnered 4,116,376 votes or 1,226,1455 votes behind Ramos. Crucial to Ramos’ victory was the return of former First Lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos, who received 2,338,294 votes, enough for fourth place, behind Ramon Mitra, Jr. and ahead of Jovito Salonga. Observers have speculated that most of those who voted for her would have voted for Cojuangco and given her a winning margin of more than a million votes over Ramos.

In 1998, Joseph Ejercito Estrada won decisively over Jose de Venecia, Jr. He received 10,722,295 votes or 39.86% while De Venecia obtained 4,258,483 or 15.87%. Eight other candidates combined received less than 12 million votes or 44.28%.

In 2004, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was elected with 12,905,808 votes or 39.99%. His nearest rival, Fernando Poe, Jr., won 11,782,232 votes or 36.51%. His winning margin was 1,123,576 votes.

Benigno S. Aquino III was the big winner in the 2010 elections, the first time an automated voting system was used. He garnered a total of 15,208,678 votes or 42.08%, the highest vote share in the post-EDSA era. The first runner-up was former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada who received 9,487,837 votes or 26.25%.

In 2016, Rodrigo Duterte won with 16,601,997 votes or 39.01%. Manuel ‘Mar’ Roxas III got 9,100,991 votes or 23.45%, closely followed by Grace Poe with 9,100,991 votes or 21.39%. As in the 1992 election, the proverbial “hindsight” experts observed that if the two had joined forces, one of them would have received enough votes to be elected.

The adoption of an alternative scenario of a second round or a two-round system could be justified not on the basis of empirical electoral results, but in terms of providing a more solid basis for the construction of a national consensus. Another potential benefit is the emergence of strong political parties that could offer viable government programs that would attract long-term support.

During the post-EDSA era, there was a procession of presidents whose platforms of government – ​​if there was one that was sufficiently articulated – focused only on a single six-year term.

Recall that the Ramos presidency announced the celebration of the centenary of the independence of the Philippines – while struggling against a severe energy crisis and the Asian financial crisis which slowed the pace of economic growth. “Erap para samahirap” or a pro-poor accent was the battle cry of Estrada’s presidency that was cut short by a halted impeachment trial and another EDSA upset. The Macapagal-Arroyo administration was hampered by political unrest and a perception of rampant corruption – despite stable economic growth.

Aquino’s second presidency saw a record of sustained economic growth, but the Liberal Party whose colors he wore when he won in 2010 failed to consolidate its base and thinned out in the quicksand of membership. Politics. Ironically, the PDP-Laban – formed from parties emerging from the EDSA People Power revolution – became the administration’s new party after 2016, and its adherents have branded its critics “dilawan” (yellow). However, PDP-Laban found itself without an official presidential candidate due to new political dynamics triggered by the candidacy of Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.

In the current presidential race, none of the candidates have been long-term members of an established political party. Ernesto Abella is an independent. Leody de Guzman is under the leadership of Partido Lakas ng Masa. Panfilo Lacson chose Reporma. Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso is running under his newly adopted party, Aksyon Demokratiko. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao, president of one of the two rival PDP-Laban factions, chose to run under the PROMDI (Probinsya Muna Development Initiative) coalition. Leni Robredo, who ran as the Liberal Party’s vice-presidential candidate in 2016, has decided to run as an independent.

Whoever wins, he or she would likely attract the most elected senators, representatives, governors, and mayors who would affiliate with the “ruling party” for convenience, and without agreement in principle on a platform of government , let alone in the long term. view of governance.

Such is the sad state of Philippine politics: a showcase of just-in-time improvisation. Unless this is resolved by structural change – through legislation or constitutional review – we will likely see the same charade six years from now.



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