News PHL Vote 2022

Go, Pacquiao may deny Marcos Jr. much-needed Mindanao votes for the 2022 elections – political analysts

Political experts predict a divided Mindanao as presidential aspirants Sens. Christopher “Bong” Go and Manny Pacquiao may still form a stronghold in the region, despite Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio’s last minute bid for the vice presidency and team-up with Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

In an online forum hosted by the Philippine Press Institute (PPI), panelists political strategist Malou Tiquia, and politics professor Richard Heydarian noted that Marcos Jr.’s presumed lead in the surveys of polling bodies may not reflect his share of votes in southern Philippines. Political analyst Ramon Casiple was a third panelist.

“The base of Mr. Marcos is solely a base identified with him,” said Tiquia, founder of lobbying and campaigns firm Publicus Asia, Inc.

“When Mayor Sara was removed from the list, the votes for Mayor Sara went to Mr. Marcos and Senator [Bong] Go. Now that she’s back in the race, I think that support will consolidate with her,” she explained.

Marcos Jr. recently topped Social Weather Station’s commissioned survey on presidential aspirants conducted from October 20 to 23. He garnered 47% of the survey’s 1,200 participants. Vice President Leni Robredo came in second with 18% of the respondents, followed by Manila City Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso with 13%.

For Heydarian, however, Mindanao is now an open playing field that could deny the namesake of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. a significant number of votes to win the presidential race.

“Is Bong Go gonna fill in the vacuum of Sara leading back [in the race]? Is Pacquiao also going to come in and try to consolidate his surge in Mindanao?” he said, noting the on-ground strategies of the two aspirants, who hail from Davao and General Santos, respectively.

“In short, is there gonna be a Bong Go-Pacquiao wall — joint wall, not coordinated — that will keep Bongbong from getting the Mindanao votes where Sara could have brought it in?,” Heydarian raised.

Comelec data as of September 2021 says out of 61.01 million registered voters, 14.6 million are from Mindanao comprising less than one fourth of the country’s voting population for the 2022 elections.

Despite Marcos Jr.’s lead in recent surveys and partnership with Duterte-Carpio, the former senator did not get the endorsement of President Rodrigo Duterte. Instead, the outgoing president publicly declared his support for his former aide’s presidential bid, and daughter Duterte-Carpio’s run for the vice presidency. (See A nauseating week of surprises and compromises)

More, the political experts also foresee that votes in known bailiwicks of the big name aspirants may not be as solid as in the past, with people’s choices also shifting along with political alliances.

Ngayon, sa daming paksyon, nagbiyak-biyak ‘yan. Pati yung mga tumatakbo nilang mga tao, nag away-away na rin sa mga local areas ngayon,” said Mindanao-based sociologist Mario Aguja, a reactor at the forum.

(These days, with so many factions emerging, support has been split. Even those running for local government are fighting in their areas.)

“Nakita naman natin yung mga bailiwick na tinatawag, hindi ko na masabi na gano’n pa din siya ka potent. At the end of the day, the voters, I’m sure, will have a good mix of who they’re going to vote for,” said another reactor, political science professor Edmund Tayao.

(We’ve seen the so-called bailiwicks already. I can’t say that those areas remain as potent today. At the end of the day, the voters, I’m sure, will have a good mix of who they are going to vote for.)

Tayao, who is also the executive director of the Local Government Development Foundation, emphasized that it’s still too early to predict winners based on who are topping surveys, citing rankings are not yet stable.

He explained that while Robredo and Moreno may not top polls, they remain “strong contenders” in the presidential race, as both continue to land in the top three of these studies, while gathering more ground support.

As the May polls loom, political experts remind voters that the absence of real political parties represented by candidates should not overshadow the need to evaluate contenders based on their platform of issues beyond navigating the pandemic.

“[Ngayon pandemya…] nagkaproblema tayo kasi talagang ang hirap ng sourcing ng mga goods and materials ‘no at napabayaan talaga yung manufacturing and agriculture. So sana hindi lang yung special interest (ng mga kandidato) ang manaig,” declared Tayao.

(This pandemic, we’ve had problems and difficulties in sourcing goods and materials. And the manufacturing and agriculture sectors were also neglected. So I hope it’s not just the candidates’ special interests that are considered.)

“If you’re asking who among the candidates might push for meaningful direction in these particular sectors, honestly, I’ve yet to hear anyone (from among the aspirants) really taking a shot at those sectors,” he added.