"Why run at all if you don’t have it?"
President Rodrigo Duterte is openly and prematurely campaigning for his favorite senatorial candidates: Bong Go, Bato dela Rosa and Francis Tolentino.
Isn’t he encouraging other candidates to violate the Comelec’s rules? What is Duterte up to? Does he intend to pack the Senate with his minions and lackeys? The Senate is supposed to be an independent body.
And what would it all tell him when his candidates lose? Won’t it be a slap on his face?
I have covered 10 presidents in my almost 70 years as a journalist. I have never seen a president so eager to have his minions get elected to the Senate. Sure, there were other chief executives who had their favorite candidates, but nobody has come close to what Duterte is doing.
Recall that Duterte even accompanied Bong Go when filing his certificate of candidacy with the Comelec, and when visiting the Iglesia ni Kristo.
In his provincial speeches, Duterte tells the people—“if you don’t make my candidates win, bahala na kayo.”
The implications of what President Duterte is doing are obvious. LGUs, all under the Executive branch, will be spending for the sorties of the three. And at the rate political ads on tv and radio are going, Bong Go must now have spent millions for his campaign!
The President says Go is a billionaire. Just how he became one would be a good question to ask.
In the end, it’s really up to the people if they want a rubber-stamp Senate.
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In my lengthy career in journalism, the factor that determines victory or defeat is still money.
Other factors—party affiliation, membership in a political dynasty, popularity—of course are also important. But funding is the most important factor,
I know that running for local office would entail P100 million to P300 million. Unless you are a candidate of the administration or its ally, you have to spend for rallies. You need to draw crowds and to do that you have to spend for entertainers. Also, people have to be fetched from where they live so you also have to spend for transportation.
For some candidates, election times are happy times. They make the rounds of businessmen who dole out funds. It’s like winning the lottery!
On the national level, senatorial candidates need at least P500 million if they expect to win. In some cases, they need funds to cheat especially if they are at the tail end of the Magic 12.
So why run if you don’t have the money?
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Supreme Court insiders say that justices still have to conduct oral arguments on the two petitions brought up first by the government of Sulu led by Governor Abdusakur Tan II and second by the Philippine Constitution Association led by its chairman former Justice Manuel Lazaro and its president Martin Romualdez.
The petitions are basically the same, contesting the legality and constitutionality of the Bangsamoro Organic Law passed by Congress. The 1987 Constitution speaks only of two autonomous regions—the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and the Cordillera Autonomous Region.
I also believe that Congress cannot amend the Constitution just by the BOL.
The problem here is that in the absence of a temporary restraining order, the scheduled January 21 and February 6 plebiscite to ratify the BOL will proceed. Thus, any decision of the Supreme Court will come after the fact.
The question is: Would the High Court still rule on the unconstitutionality of the BOL after it has been ratified?
Can and will the Supreme Court override the plebiscite?
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Recent reports say that GMA 7 beat the Lopez-owned ABS-CBN in Metro Manila and rural areas per its Nielsen Audience Measurement survey against ABS-CBN’s Kantar.
I’ve always believed that the former is more credible, I commend Atty. Felipe Gozon for making GMA-7 the number one tv network.