Voters preferred 'anti-establishment' politicians in 2016 polls
MANILA, Philippines – The May 2016 polls concluded with the two highest positions in the country going to local executives, a choice that reflects voters' preference for politicians deemed to be anti-establishment, said senator-elect Sherwin Gatchalian.
In a Rappler Talk interview on Thursday, June 2, the first-time senator shared his observations about the recently-concluded polls, zeroing in on the win of president-elect Rodrigo Duterte and vice president-elect Leni Robredo and what this said about voters' preferences.
Gatchalian said that even in the United States – where controversial politician Donald Trump remains popular – politicians deemed to be anti-establishment seem to have captured voters' attention.
"President Digong and Vice President Leni is really a different mold of politicians. A lot of people view them as anti-establishment. They're not part of the system," Gatchalian said.
He also noted that the two did not go through the usual process for would-be presidents and vice presidents. Normally, local politicians would first aspire for a Senate seat before making a bid for the presidency.
But bucking this pattern were Duterte, a longtime mayor of Davao City, and Robredo, Camarines Sur 3rd District Representative. The two shot straight to the highest national positions after holding positions at the local level.
For Gatchalian, this meant that voters value candidates' intentions for public service more.
"I think that opened a lot of doors for local candidates, meaning, [as long as] you do well, you perform well in your own locality and you have the heart to serve the public, you can actually run for national. Hindi mo na kailangang dumaan pa sa normal process (You don't need to go through the normal process)," he said.
Gender, too, is not as important a criterion among voters, Gatchalian added, pointing to the historic win of Geraldine Roman, the first transgender member of the House of Representatives.
Roman won the first legislative district seat of Bataan in the May 9 polls.
"Gender doesn't play an important role anymore. It's what you can do for your locality and what you have done for your locality," Gatchalian said. – Rappler.com