State of Replay: After Action Assessment


In the election's aftermath, many fascinating and detailed analysis are emerging. With the adrenal rush of the election fading, I want to pen down some thoughts.


First, BBM’s plurality signals the beginning of two decades of deadzone for the Philippine’s politics. The plurality, for the first time after EDSA, shows the impetus of empire-building among the various political clans dwindling to regional ambition, and the presidential slot will be negotiated, more like how a prime minister is chosen by the Members of Parliament, except in this case, by the head of various clans that controls the regional votes. (Maybe I’m thinking of the Godfather.) Some would tell me that this has always been the case and I would not be surprised. However, this bodes badly for the Philippines voters and popular reformers and provides an even tougher scenario for the liberal party, but it will bring predictability to the electoral system.


Second, the political dead zone started with BBM putting his clan’s imprimatur on history by formalizing his decade-long revisionism as an official chronicle through the education reform. Heading this ideological switch is the next candidate for the presidency, and after Sara, Imee’s. This represents a generation of Philippines growing up with a discontinued sense of their history and will be a seed for civil discontent that other countries can continually energize for their usurpation of Philippine interest.


Third, on a less hysterical and prophetic note, the Philippines is moving towards a similar dynamic with Taiwanese political governance; a strong regional government, with overlap and tension with a central government. Dissimilar to the power dynamic of Singapore, Taiwan needs a central government, but much of the genuine power is in the provincial hands. This makes a strong case for the political party more aligned to a presidential model of bipolar power. In the previous elections, all the presidential races had strong contenders, not just a bipolar extreme in this one. In 2004, all the previous elections had capable candidates preventing a political consensus, because of the obligation of duties, ideology, and personalities. The Philippines, in the absence of highly structured political parties, operates on a regional power-sharing model, where behind the scene negotiation is more often than ideological-based political command and control. The genuine issue to watch for is the Charter Change. With BBM’s strong appearance of mandate, and the liberal’s lack of presence in the senate and congress, this looks like the perfect opportunity for BBM is cement his family’s power base by combining state-sponsored propaganda to the young with a constitutionally favorable amendment to his family’s hold on power.

Image: "South Vietnamese Troops Inspect Destroyed Tank" by manhhai is licensed under CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/?ref=openverse.

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