THE most important consequence of the elections the other day is this: The political landscape has been cleared for our country to finally take off, not just in terms of its economy and its nationhood.
The results of the senatorial contest prove without an iota of doubt that there is massive support for President Duterte. He has presided over the funeral of the elite-based Yellow Cult that had ruled the country for 18 years under Cory, Fidel Ramos and Aquino 3rd.
Outside of Davao, practically nobody knew who Duterte’s aide Christopher “Bong” Go was. Yet the senatorial contest shows him in the same league as two personalities — Cynthia Villar and Grace Poe — who are household names not just because they are incumbent senators. Villar’s husband ran for President in 2010, while Poe did so in 2016.
Filipinos simply took Duterte’s word that Go would be a good senator. He is basically Duterte’s trusted political proxy in the Senate.
Former police chief Rodolfo “Bato” dela Rosa was, after Duterte, the face of this administration’s war against illegal drugs. Its alleged “extrajudicial killings” had been the focus of the Yellows’ propaganda, supported by American media and the press outlets the US government and its proxies have been funding. De la Rosa was even fading from public consciousness, since he retired seven months ago — a long time in politics.
Filipinos simply took Duterte’s word that somebody whose life occupation had been in law enforcement deserves to be in the highest legislative chamber of the land. He is basically Duterte’s representative for his most important agenda in his first three years in power, which was to stop the country’s slipping into becoming a narco-state. The vote for dela Rosa, who took the 5th slot, is another indication of Filipinos’ support for that agenda.
Francis Tolentino could have been disliked by voters, as he could not improve the EDSA traffic while he was Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) head from 2010 to 2015, and his former Yellow comrades alleged that he had sponsored the lewd dancers that provided the entertainment in one Liberal Party rally. People didn’t have an idea what he stood for. His campaign peg was that he was “Tol,” the Filipino translation of “Bro.”
Yet Duterte’s last-minute “request” (pakiusap) to Filipinos to vote for him, and the newspaper photos of the President raising his hand, apparently got Tolentino the 9th slot — millions in votes ahead of the sons of the once-popular Erap, and the iconic Yellow leaders, Bam Aquino, Mar Roxas and Serge Osmeña.
The results of the Senate contest of course validates recent polls that showed 8 out of 10 Filipinos being happy with Duterte’s rule.
There has been no president in the post-Marcos era with such a high level of nationwide support. The apparent euphoria over Marcos’ fall and Cory Aquino’s capture of power in 1986 has proven to be an illusion, expertly created by the US media and controlled by Aquino’s oligarchs who had returned to power.
The veil of illusion has been rent asunder. Imee Marcos, the strongman’s daughter who had been most active during his rule, is in the 8th slot in the senatorial results, getting 5 million and more votes than the personification of Cory rule — Bam Aquino, Mar Roxas and Serge Osmeña.
Midterm elections for the Senate in all past administrations before Duterte were messages that the people had become tired of his or her rule, and couldn’t wait for it to end. The elections the other day instead proved to be an affirmation of Filipinos’ satisfaction with Duterte’s presidency, and implicitly a wish for his rule to continue past 2022.
The biggest block to the landscape of Duterte’s rule, the Yellow Cult, has been demolished.
Also, the senatorial candidates backed by the Communist Party — Neri Colmentares, Chel Diokno and Erin Tañada — were roundly rejected by Filipinos. The communist party-list representatives will also be decreasing as a result of this election. Even a dubious party as “1Pacman” bankrolled by a billionaire got more votes than communist fronts Gabriela and Kabataan.
The political routing of the communists opens the way for the military destruction of the communist insurgency — one of the biggest reasons why the Philippine economy has not taken off, in contrast to its neighbors that had decades ago decisively defeated their communist rebellions.
There is nobody in the horizon to challenge Duterte, certainly not the Yellow leaders such as the sleeping Drilon and the sleepy Pangilinan, nor the two often hysterical ladies.
The past three years have demonstrated Duterte’s unexpected skill in political maneuvering: Note how he has kept the wily Sen. Panfilo Lacson largely quiet with regard to his rule, and how he acquiesced to the removal as House Speaker of his buddy Pantaleon Alvarez.
I don’t think any president except the former general Fidel Ramos has had such support from the military as Duterte. His recruitment of retired generals to the bureaucracy both vastly improved its efficiency and endeared him to the military.
The economic elite and the middle class have applauded his economic initiatives such as the overhaul of the tax system and his massive infrastructure-building program. Duterte has shown his commitment to building a form of welfare state, through such programs as free education and health services. Note how vastly different that focus is from the previous administration’s dole-out program euphemistically called the “conditional cash transfer.”
The Yellows and the US-funded media’s main thrust against Duterte — the alleged extrajudicial killings in the wake of his anti-drug campaign — demonstrates their total isolation from the conditions on the ground. This is not surprising because their world has been in gated middle-class communities, so detached from the masses.
I don’t think there is any community of the average Filipino that isn’t celebrating the success of Duterte’s anti-drug war.
For instance, my caddy who lives in a municipality outside Manila remarked that she was happy that her brother was the subject of “tokhang,” dela Rosa’s term for suspected drug pushers warned by the police to reform. Reading the reports on the casualties of the drug war, her brother had turned a new leaf, she said. Ironic perhaps, but that’s the reality on the ground. In my subdivision, the taho vendor was finally exposed, and jailed, for being the efficient shabu retailer.
With a president having a clear vision for the country, an iron will to see it through, and a political runway cleared of obstructions, we are poised for a take-off, finally. I hope.
And those Yellow and Red academics claim they’re losing sleep over the loss of “checks and balances” in our Republic?