Political alliances shift as presidential contest set to turn into 2-way race

IMAGES of presidential candidates are printed on consuming cups bought at a preferred comfort retailer. — PHILIPPINE STAR/ RUSSELL PALMA

By Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza, Reporter

BOBBY YADAO, 25, was impressed by the rags-to-riches story of Manila Metropolis Mayor Francisco “Isko” M. Domagoso, a former matinee idol who’s working for Philippine president this 12 months.

However he modified his thoughts and is now supporting Vice-President Maria Leonor “Leni” G. Robredo after listening to about her platforms and seeing his mates marketing campaign for the opposition chief at a rally close to the Philippine capital final month.

“I used to be impressed by the occasion,” he mentioned in an interview. “‘What might have motivated no less than 137,000 individuals to attend the rally?’ I requested after seeing pictures of the occasion on-line,” mentioned Mr. Yadao, who works at a laundry store in Manila.

He isn’t bothered by presidential opinion polls that former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. has dominated. Ms. Robredo stays a distant second, although her scores proceed to rise.

Teams and powerbrokers proceed to vary their methods two weeks earlier than Filipinos select President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s alternative, because the presidential contest shapes as much as turn into a two-way race, in accordance with political analysts.

Shifting alliances is nothing new so far as Philippine politics is anxious, mentioned Maria Ela L. Atienza, who teaches political science on the College of the Philippines (UP).

“A few of these organizations and conventional politicians are inclined to flock to perceived stronger candidates,” she mentioned in a Viber message. “They’ll simply flip-flop in contrast with extra progressive and principled politicians and teams.”

Ikaw Muna Pilipinas, a political group shaped in 2021 to push the presidential bid of Mr. Domagoso, this month shifted its help to Ms. Robredo, who it mentioned has a greater probability of profitable in opposition to the son and namesake of the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos.

This comes after a key official of Aksyon Demokratiko, Mr. Domagoso’s political social gathering, left his submit to endorse Ms. Robredo for president.

Partido Reporma, which is headed by a former administration ally and powerbroker in southern Philippines, withdrew its help for Senator Panfilo “Ping” M. Lacson and endorsed Ms. Robredo.

In the meantime, One Cebu Occasion, a political group in central Philippines, has endorsed Mr. Marcos for president. The group is led by the household of Cebu Governor Gwendolyn F. Garcia, whose brother Pablo resigned as social gathering secretary-general to proceed supporting Mr. Domagoso.

Ms. Atienza famous that the Remulla political clan from vote-rich Cavite province had campaigned laborious for the presidential run of ex-Vice President Jejomar C. Binay, solely to shift its help on the final minute to Mr. Duterte, who was his rival then.

“What’s presumably novel within the 2022 elections is that we’ve got sectoral {and professional} teams that haven’t been very vocal in earlier elections popping out to help the Robredo-Pangilinan tandem,” she mentioned, referring to the tandem of Ms. Robredo and her working mate Senator Francis N. Pangilinan.

“In a presidential marketing campaign, any type of endorsement is indispensable, and extra so in a decent race,” mentioned Jan Robert R. Go, an assistant political science professor at UP.

Native authorities officers often endorse their nationwide bets primarily based on consultations with the governor and different higher-level politicians.

“So, if one candidate on the nationwide stage can penetrate this technique, there’s a probability of being thought of and ultimately being elected to the place,” Mr. Go mentioned in a Fb Messenger chat.

He added that nationwide candidates need to steadiness their focus between nationwide and native politics, which is extra close-knit and will affect the outcomes.

Ms. Atienza mentioned the take a look at on election day is whether or not the endorsements by conventional politicians would make a distinction. “Will voters be influenced extra by different components? We will in all probability anticipate extra shifts within the coming days till Could 9.”

Jean Encinas-Franco, a political science professor at UP, expects Mr. Marcos to lose supporters provided that his scores have been falling and points in opposition to him and his household together with billions of unpaid property tax pile up.

“April is crunch time for all candidates so these developments are anticipated,” she mentioned in a Messenger chat.

Leaders of the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan chapter in Baguio Metropolis not too long ago withdrew their help for Mr. Marcos, whose ballot ranking at Pulse Asia Analysis, Inc.’s March opinion ballot fell by 4 factors.

Ms. Franco mentioned it’s unlikely for Ms. Robredo’s supporters to vary their thoughts on the final minute since they’ve been organizing and becoming a member of rallies which have drawn 1000’s of individuals and have managed to run the marketing campaign like a social motion.

Mr. Go mentioned the opposition candidate should maintain her marketing campaign and persuade extra voters given her comparatively decrease scores.

“It appears that evidently she’s gaining momentum due to a extra private method of campaigning,” he mentioned. “If sustained, this will make a distinction in her favor. So much can nonetheless occur between as we speak and election day.”

Mr. Marcos saved his lead in Pulse Asia presidential opinion ballot final month, with 56% of Filipinos saying they might vote for him, even when his ranking fell by 4 factors.

Nonetheless in second place was Ms. Robredo, whose ranking rose by 9 factors to 24%. She was adopted by Mr. Domagoso (8%), Senator and boxing champion Emmanuel “Manny” D. Pacquiao (6%) and Mr. Lacson (2%).

Earlier this month, the opposition wager drew greater than 200,000 supporters at a rally in Pampanga province, the bailiwick of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who has endorsed Mr. Marcos and his vice-presidential working mate, Davao Metropolis Mayor and presidential daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio.

Analysts have mentioned youth voters, who make up greater than 50% of registered voters, are unlikely to be swayed by the endorsements of native politicians.

“I don’t contemplate Pampanga a bailiwick of Arroyo or any of the politicians on the market,” mentioned Wenry Manaloto Basa, one of many 1000’s of kids who joined Ms. Robredo’s Pampanga rally.

“We’re not going to let any native politician dictate who we should always vote for,” he mentioned in a Messenger chat. “We’re uninterested in dynasties. We are going to vote for somebody who we expect will assist not simply our province and our Cabalens however all Filipinos.”

“There isn’t any Stable North,” supporters shouted at Ms. Robredo’s latest rally in La Union province within the nation’s north, which is a part of the regional bloc identified for supporting the late dictator’s household.

“I joined the rally to show that there is no such thing as a Stable North,” Bret Jarod Sean Ordoño, one of many 1000’s of kids who joined the occasion, mentioned in a Messenger chat. The 22-year-old scholar from UP joined the La Union rally along with his mates from Baguio, Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte, that are thought of a part of the pro-Marcos regional bloc.

“The so-called unity dubbed as Stable North is a hoax,” he mentioned, noting that his ancestors had fought to stop the return of the Marcoses to energy. “It’s used to achieve the bandwagon voters.”

Mr. Yadao, the laundry store employee, mentioned his voting choice relies on a candidate’s platforms and observe file, not opinion polls. “Ballot outcomes can nonetheless change.”


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