Mid-Term Polls as referendum on Pres. Duterte?

“The Philippine mid-term election is a referendum on the leadership of President Duterte” and whether voters still want him to continue with his policies and reforms, Institute for Political and Electoral Reform Executive Director Ramon C. Casiplesaid recently at the non-partisan Pandesal Forum in Quezon City’s pioneer 80-year-old Kamuning Bakery Café.

Kamuning Bakery owner and PhilStar columnist Wilson Lee Flores moderates Pandesal Forum with guests Prof. Ramon Casiple and Cong. Anthony Bravo

Kamuning Bakery owner and PhilStar columnist Wilson Lee Flores moderates Pandesal Forum with guests Prof. Ramon Casiple and Cong. Anthony Bravo

Casiple added this election offers President Duterte the opportunity to consolidate political power in order for him to fulfill his various 2016 campaign promises in the remaining three years of his administration. 

Casiple also stressed that the mid-term elections offer the Duterte government and the opposition the opportunity to prepare for the 2022 presidential elections, with political parties, coalitions and potential candidates now campaigning in this May 2019 election with the goal of also influencing the next 2022 election. The pro-Duterte forces are consolidating their influence, while the opposition forces are also seeking to keep their 2022 chances alive.

Casiple also noted that due to the perceive high popularity of the incumbent President and the resulting strength of his senatorial bets, two opposition senatorial candidates from traditional political clans, former presidential bet Manuel “Mar” Roxas III and Senator Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, seem to be conducting their own election campaigns apart from that of their “Otso Diretso” team. Casiple noted that even in his past election bid, Roxas had used his own blue color instead of the Liberal Party’s yellow color, while Bam Aquino nowadays often wears black color also instead of yellow. Casiple noted that during the inaugural proclamation rally of Otso Diretso’s eight official candidates, Mar Roxas was conspicuously absent and held his own rally in his home province of Capiz. 

Flores, Casiple, and Bravo show off Kamuning Bakery’s famous pan de sal after the forum

Flores, Casiple, and Bravo show off Kamuning Bakery’s famous pan de sal after the forum

In the case of President Duterte, Casiple noted that among the senatorial candidates he has endorsed, two are non-politicians and also totally new names in national politics---his former loyal aide Bong Go and the former police chief General Bato de la Rosa.   

Kamuning Bakery Café’s Pandesal Forum is a non-partisan forum with leaders and newsmakers having a platform for a dialogue with members of the mass and social media.

In the same Pandesal Forum, Coop-NATCCO party-list Congressman Dr.  Anthony M. Bravo, minority floor leader of Congress, the newly-elected president of the Party-list Coalition Foundation, Inc. (the coalition of 48 partylist groups now in Congress) and representative of farmer cooperatives nationwide, said, “As long as the mid-term election is generally peaceful and credible nationwide, this shall boost domestic and foreign investors’ interest in the Philippine economy. A successful mid-term election is good news for Philippine democracy, and a big win by the Duterte administration shall also enable it to pursue its promised reforms.”