Midterm elections: Lessons learned and what to look forward to

/ 11:21 AM May 15, 2019
Midterm elections: Lessons learned and what to look forward to

Volunteers of an election watchdog wave Philippine flags to seek assistance during the unofficial tally of votes at Monday’s midterm elections Tuesday, May 14, 2019 in suburban Pasay city, south of Manila, Philippines. President Rodrigo Duterte’s allies appeared to have overwhelming leads in elections for the Philippine Senate, one of the opposition’s last bulwarks against a brash populist leader accused of massive human rights violations. Preliminary results comprising 94 percent of returns from Monday’s midterm elections showed at least eight candidates endorsed by Duterte were leading the races for 12 seats in the 24-member Senate. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

MANILA, Philippines–As the midterm elections come to a close, many lessons have been learned and much still to look forward to in the coming three years.

Professor Clarita Carlos, of the University of the Philippines’ political science department, gave her thoughts on the election results in a Radyo Inquirer interview Wednesday, ranging from the supposed “magic” of President Rodrigo Duterte to the rise and fall of political dynasties, among others.


“The quick answer is we don’t know, because there has not been any time to ask the ‘why,’ we can conjecture that maybe so,” Carlos said when asked about the possibility of Duterte “magic” that risks turning the Senate into the administration’s rubber-stamp. “In previous interviews we say there are many publics and some publics will cotton on to the President and some others will not pay attention to him.”

What people must also be concerned about, she added, was the seven hours of radio silence that followed the initial transmission of votes to the Commission on Election (Comelec) transparency servers.

Carlos was also quick to ascribe the fall of political dynasties, such as the Estrada family, to just other elites returning to power.

“In the literature, there’s such a theory called the circulation of the elites. Wala lang, nag-balik lang sila. Eh ‘di meron ka ngayon Tulfo, Sotto, Cayetano,” she said. “For as long as the institution of setting is the same, sa 2022 you’ll have more of the same thing.”

A switch to the parliamentary system would change this, as it limits the campaign period to just two weeks and the political party becomes the pivotal actor. However, Carlos said the party system would only follow the dynamics of the political life of the nation and it is the system’s dynamics that would bring that about.

Meanwhile, when it came to Otso Diretso, Carlos said there are varied reasons that can be attributed to their failure to make it to the senatorial race’s top 12. It is reported senatorial candidates of Otso Diretso topped the mock elections of varied universities in the country, but this did not seem to carry out when it came to the actual elections.

READ: What went wrong with Otso Diretso?

“Again, conjectural… If you will notice, they were appearing in mock elections in the universities, so that means iba sa university setting, yung mga kabataan iba…” she said. “But 64 percent of them siguro nag-tamad sila, dahil hindi nag reflect yung vote sa university … And secondly, syempre gahol na gahol ang mga ito sa salapi, sa organization, sa exposure…”

In the end, Carlos said Duterte’s priority in the next three years should be constitutional amendment and the switch to a federal-parliamentary system. She believes at a later time, Philippines’ leaders would just be administrators because the country is moving towards a borderless world.


“Constitutional amendment. Pag hindi mo inayos yung institutional setting mo, dapat ang campaign period mo 2 weeks, ganun sa parliamentary system,” she said.

“Prime minister, you can kick him out in the vote of non-confidence, mga ganun ba. Political parties, the people tell actors, no, wala kang party eh, you commit political suicide…  It should be federal-parliamentary, i-abandon mo na ang presidential.” (Editor: Jonathan P. Vicente)

See the bigger picture with the Inquirer's live in-depth coverage of the election here

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TAGS: Comelec, Election 2019, electorate, Lessons, Local news, Philippine news update
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