By Krip Yuson
A few weeks remain before Election Day. It promises to be the tightest presidential contest since… well, maybe 1992 when FVR won the derby, topping Maid (some say Mad) Miriam, who immediately claimed she was cheated.
No such claim arose after Erap won handily in 1998. But he didn’t last halfway through his term. Replacing him after “EDSA Dos,” GMA was said to have gamed her election as president in 2004, with “Hello, Garci!” tapes eventually appearing to confirm that she had to cheat to beat back the challenge of another popular movie star and action hero, FPJ.
The 2010 election saw PNoy winning comfortably over the second-placer, a come-backing Erap who might have had his second stint at the Palace had former President Tita Cory (who had ended Macoy’s 21-year rule) not pass away to practically bequeath her son his sudden presidency.
Thus, after Marcos, we’ve had claims of cheating in alternate elections. And this time, fears have again been raised that Administration gaming might be tried again.
Like some relationships in Facebook, it’s complicated. And yes, the lead-up to the actual polls continues to be a thriller.
Before Duterte took pole position in the latest surveys, his rabid supporters were already threatening a revolution should he be cheated of victory. At the time this warning was raised, their tough-talking, expletive-spouting idol had started to gain momentum to creep up on erstwhile front-runner Grace Poe, foundling and adopted daughter of FPJ, whose own dramatic narrative arc pulled in strong core support even as she faced legal challenges all the way to the Supreme Court.
Surprisingly and somewhat disappointingly for her supporters, clearing all the hurdles with apparent finality didn’t produce the ratings spike that was expected for her to pull away again from Du30. Current analysis posits that the daily dose of blackprop mounted against her by at least three rival camps started taking its toll. So that Digong’s momentum built on the promise of radical change finally dislodged Poe as front-runner.
It’s said that surveys can undergo twists and turns, and that this contest is still too tight to call. After all, the early favorite, VP Binay, whose own core support seemed to have been gnawed away by repeated charges of corruption, still has the “ground game” and the wherewithal fueled by desperation to get back into contention. And PNoy’s anointed one, Mar Roxas, may still count on the Admin party’s supposed clout with local candidates.
So who will it be, for Prez and Veep? Most centrists are currently chagrined that the unlikely pair of Duterte and Bongbong Marcos might make it all the way. Yet challenges can still be mounted by those placing second to fourth in the presidential race, with only Miriam at a poor fifth out of it all. And in the VP tussle, Leni Robredo could still gain a good push down the wire, while early front-runner Chiz Escudero also can’t be counted out yet. That they’re both from Bicol could work against both and the hope of standing up to the so-called Solid North vote.
Oh, it is complicated. One final note: that latest survey has 9% and 11% undecided for the two positions, respectively. That’s still a lot of points up for grabs, so that it certainly promises to be exciting down to the last survey, and up to Election Day.