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Duterte power, Kiko’s flop, Willie Ong’s FB vote: Takeaways from 2019 midterm elections

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1. Duterte proves he can make you win or lose if he puts his mind into it

President Rodrigo Duterte showed that he can translate his popularity into votes not only for his hand-picked candidates who have so far cornered nine of the top 12 spots based on the partial returns of the Commission on Elections.

Duterte has also shown he can shut out the opposition from the Magic Circle with his relentless attacks on Otso Diretso bets during the campaign despite advice that this could backfire against him. At this point, only Senator Bam Aquino has a slim chance of landing the 12th spot.

2. Sara is not Thanos in Davao

Davao City mayor and Hugpong ng Pagbabago boss Sara Duterte apparently couldn’t finish the job she started when she masterminded Bebot Alvarez’s ouster as Speaker during the 2018 State of the Nation Address.

Alvarez is poised to come back in the 18th Congress with a massive lead over Sara’s choice, Davao del Norte Governor Anthony del Rosario, in the race for the first district seat.

Sara’s bet and Alvarez’s frenemy, re-electionist Davao del Norte Rep. Antonio Floirendo Jr., is also eating dust against Alvarez’s ally, Aldu Dujali, in the province’s second district.

3. Kiko Pangilinan and the Otso Diretso fiasco

Kiko Pangilinan, the husband of megastar Sharon Cuneta, has zero record of being an astute political strategist despite being a multi-term senator. So it was a big surprise that he was named the campaign strategist of Otso Diretso. It was all downhill from there.

The Liberal Party-led opposition slate is headed for one of its most embarrassing losses in an election as none of its eight members are likely to make it to the Magic 12. Pangilinan engaged in a negative campaign strategy which proved to be a no-win plan in the face of Duterte’s sky-high popularity.

4. End of the road for titans

The 2019 elections will probably be remembered for being the final chapter in the storied career of some of the countries most popular politikos.

This will be former senator Mar Roxas third straight defeat in a national election in nine years; former Vice President Jojo Binay’s second defeat in three years; former senator Serge Osmena’s second defeat in two straight elections; and the final nail on former Senator Juan Ponce Enrile’s half-a-century in government service and politics. Roxas turned 62 last Monday, while Binay is 76 years old and Enrile is 95.

5. Estradas show that a family that runs together, loses together

Former president Joseph Estrada apparently has used up all the water in the magic well which propelled his political career in 52 years ago.

The 82-year old Estrada is not only losing badly in his bid for a third straight term as Manila mayor, his family has lost the San Juan throne to the Zamoras. His two sons, the good one JV and the other one Jinggoy, are also out of the Magic 12 based on partial returns. This will be the first time in 18 years that the Senate will have no Estrada on the roster.

6. Doc Willie Ong and the Facebook vote

Doc Willie Ong might have fallen short in his bid to be the second coming of the late-great Senator Juan Flavier. But his novelty run proved the power of social media.

Shunning traditional campaign gimmicks and media, Ong ran primarily on the back of his 10 million loyal followers on Facebook. With 7.3 million votes (good for 18th place in the partial returns tally), Ong showed that he could convert his digital fame to ballot.

7. Vico Sotto is the face of the millennial politiko

After drubbing one of the most enduring political dynasties in Metro Manila, incoming Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto has emerged as the face of the new generation of politikos.

With his father’s wits, his mom’s smarts and their looks, Sotto is the feel good story of this mid-term elections. The future is indeed bright.

8. Comelec and Sablay-matic epic fails in automated elections

After four tries in nine years, the Commission on Elections and its eternal partner Smartmatic are still at the bottom of the learning curve on how to conduct a transparent and reliable automated election.

Despite a P10 billion budget, hundreds of vote counting machines conked out, a thousand SD cards were defective, marking pens and indelible ink were in short supply, and its transparency server is still glitch prone.

Comelec-Smartmatic has ran out of excuses as much as voters have naturally lost their patience, the best option left is to break up the bumbling duo because this Sisyphus situation ain’t funny anymore.

9. Reports of deaths of political dynasties exaggerated

Yes, big dynasties fell like dominoes in the 2019 elections like Estradas in Manila and San Juan, Eusebios in Pasig, Ecleos of Dinagat and Del Rosarios in Davao. But you’d be fooling yourself to think that dynasties are on their way to extinction. Political clans still dominated the polls, dynasties replaced dynasties, and in some cases, millennial members of dynasties entered politics to ensure the continued family reign for another generation. Asa pa tayong lahat.

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