May 9 is just around the corner. Have you finally made a choice? Is that now an irrevocable choice? Based on present circumstances, we are hurtling towards a presidential election that is like no other in recent past.

Consider these:

First, because of the general none-of-the-above appeal (regardless of real qualifications) of the leading candidates, this election might be won on the basis of negative or “anti” votes. This means that people could be voting for a particular candidate simply because they don’t like – by a greater degree – any of the other candidates listed in the ballot. In other words, their “best choice” is in fact their least unacceptable choice. The danger here is that when the mind has no clear choice, the heart or the gut could take over to make a non-rational choice.

Second, due to the relatively high number of contenders still in a viable/winnable position at this late stage in the campaign, there is a likelihood that the winner will be getting a mere 30% of the total votes cast, which in turn is equivalent to an even lower 15% of the total population of the land. This implies a small support base for the entire six-year term when the incoming president is supposed to make tough and unpopular decisions to improve the country’s overall situation.

Third, for the same reason cited above, we are in a tight race wherein the winning margin will be relatively small (i.e. no landslide victory, no clear mandate) – such that election protests are likely to ensue. As observed in the past instances, nobody loses an election in the Philippines. Every candidate ends up as either panalo or nadaya – that’s why nobody concedes – which is not good for post-campaign healing and for post-election reconciliation and unification.

Fourth, given our electorate’s split-voting tradition, the VP-elect will probably come from another party or opposing group. As in times past, this strange arrangement will either undermine teamwork or outrightly impede important/urgent actions needed of the president. Or, if such VP is conveniently sidelined again into a “spare tire” role, he/she becomes an early or premature campaigner for the 2022 presidency – a distraction that the incumbent executive team can ill afford at this time.

Fifth, based on recent SC rulings (e.g. cancellation of COCs, issuance of PCOS receipts), the SC has encroached into Comelec’s jurisdiction – thereby effectively weakening its capability to quickly and authoritatively restore order in the event of a post-election disputes. Things can get even more chaotic when the election tribunals (PET, SET, HRET) step into the fray and add their political antics into the brewing storm.

Sixth, no matter which presidential bet emerges on top after the Comelec count, there will be instant or early trouble. Here are the possible scenarios:

A. GP wins, and several motions to disqualify her are filed at PET (supposedly because SC did not rule definitively on the citizenship and residency issues) and/or a public furor arises from an unprecedented “American FG” or “American first family” situation. The final resolution can even create constitutional complications that could affect future elections.

B. JB wins, and the plunder cases against him (and his family members) speedily move forward at the courts and – thus – arrest warrants are issued for these unbailable offenses.

C. MR surprisingly wins notwithstanding his sluggish performance at several pre-election surveys, and the opposition alleges widespread cheating and thereafter obtains an injunction against his proclamation.

D. RD wins, but does not accomplish a significant decline on corruption and criminality within 6 months and hence resigns to honor his campaign commitment. Or he exuberantly takes short-cuts in his war against corrupt officials and criminal elements, and thereby provokes a coup d’ etat, an impeachment, or an EDSA-3.

E. MS stages a miraculous come-from-behind rally and wins, but her health situation deteriorates or is otherwise declared unfit to serve by her own team of medical doctors.

More than ever, it looks like we have to select our VP very wisely and very well. Such VP-elect may have to relocate from the Bamboo Palace to Malacañang Palace sooner than we think.

And to make the post-election horizon more worrisome – while any of the above political drama is going on, we have to stay on red alert about the existing “flashpoints” and pray that nothing serious or urgent will erupt regarding Bangsamoro, Spratlies, Korean peninsula, ISIS terrorism, OFW employment, natural calamities, etc.

I can almost hear those unwelcome words in air travel: “This is the captain speaking. Please fasten your seatbelts. There is turbulence ahead”.

Rolando (Rolly) Narciso was the former President and CEO of the National Steel Corporation (NSC). He is from Iligan who went to the Ateneo de Manila University and graduated in the mid 60s.


Read 2823 times Last modified on Tuesday, 03 May 2016 18:47
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