May 2019 polls a ‘referendum’ for the Duterte gov’t – analyst

Jodesz Gavilan
May 2019 polls a ‘referendum’ for the Duterte gov’t – analyst
The upcoming midterm elections can be a way for people to register their support or opposition to the incumbent administration, political analyst Julio Teehankee says

MANILA, Philippines – The midterm elections in May 2019 will serve as a referendum for the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, a political analyst said.  

“It’s only during the midterm elections that the electorate, the people, can actually register their support or opposition to an incumbent administration for voting for or against the administration slate,” Julio Teehankee said in an interview with Rappler editor-at-large Marites Vitug on Wednesday, January 30.  

While historically, the administration often has the upper hand in the elections, it is also important to note that everything is not set in stone for candidates who choose to side with the incumbent. 

According to Teehankee, the so-called “legacy candidates” may still prove to be stronger than those fielded by the administration.

“I refer to a legacy candidate as celebrities or members of political clans or reelectionist who have successfully transformed their names into national political brands,” he explained. 

“They have transformed their image to national political brands na kahit mawala sila sa Senado at bumalik, malaki pa rin ang tsansa nilang manalo (even if they run after leaveing the Senate, they still have a big chance of winning),” Teehankee added. 

No longer the same

The election of Duterte in 2016 and the events that transpired in the last 3 years have indicated that it is no longer “politics as usual” in the Philippines. 

According to Teehankee, this is an important context for people who are gunning for a seat in the national government as they kick off their campaigns come February 12.

“Everybody, both the opposition and administration candidates, should realize na hindi na puwede iyong dating gawi (you can’t go back to the old ways),” he said.

The new reality was ushered in with the election of Duterte, riding on the “politics of anger and frustration” of the people or those who have not felt the economic growth of the country. 

“In the end, they played the same political game and forgot their narrative of change and reform so the people got frustrated so they looked for a different kind of change,” Teehankee said.

Ang palaging nakakalimutan sa national discourse ay paano ba natin babaguhin ang sistema para iyong mga nahuhuli, iyong mga mahihirap, ay makinabang rin sa so-called economic growth na ito,” he added.  

(What we always forget in the national discourse is how we can change the system so that those who are lagging behind, the poorest communities, can benefit from the so-called economic growth.)  –

Jodesz Gavilan

Jodesz Gavilan is a writer and researcher for Rappler and its investigative arm, Newsbreak. She covers human rights and also hosts the weekly podcast Newsbreak: Beyond the Stories. She joined Rappler in 2014 after obtaining her journalism degree from the University of the Philippines.