Duterte magic? ‘Fraud, use of gov’t resources, fear are key factors in elections’

Students join the Black Friday protest against electoral fraud. (Photo by Anne Marxze D. Umil/Bulatlat)

A political analyst credited the “victory” of administration bets to fraudulent elections and the “unusual combination of Duterte’s popularity, systematic use of government resources, use of fear, and black propaganda and disinformation against progressive partylist groups.”

By RONALYN V. OLEA
Bulatlat.com

MANILA – Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo claimed that it was “Duterte’s magic” that made the administration senatorial bets win the elections.

Based on partial and unofficial results, eight candidates endorsed by the President are winning. They are releectionist Cynthia Villar, former Special Assistant to the President Christopher Go, Taguig City Rep. Pia Cayetano, former police chief Ronald dela Rosa, reelectionist Senator Sonny Angara, Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos, former Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs Francis Tolentino, and reelectionist Senator Aquilino Pimentel III.

In an interview with Bulatlat, political analyst Dr. Temario Rivera said that while Duterte ranked high in popularity and performance surveys, other important factors should not be dismissed.

Rivera, who is also part of poll watchdog AES Watch, credited the “victory” of administration bets to fraudulent elections and the “unusual combination of Duterte’s popularity, systematic use of government resources, use of fear, and black propaganda and disinformation against progressive partylist groups.”

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The Movement Against Tyranny (MAT) shared the same analysis. “Duterte gave his minions free rein to use state funds and bureaucracies, to claim credit for programs already in place,” the group said.

Go, in particular, was allowed to falsely “own” various health, housing and disaster programs, the group said in a statement.

The MAT said state agencies, including state security forces, “were harnessed to attack the opposition, whether progressives or more traditional political parties.”

Poll watchdog Kontra Daya reported cases of death threats, harassment, red tagging and intimidation against Makabayan members and supporters on election day.  Policemen even distributed copies of a newsletter red tagging Makabayan party-lists on election day.

Rivera said many local politicians tagged in the narco list were intimidated and forced to support the administration.

Nuances

If at all, Rivera said, the Duterte magic only worked for Go and dela Rosa, who both also used government resources to boost their candidacy and spent millions in advertisements.

He said that other administration bets such as Villar, Cayetano and Marcos could have won even without endorsement from the president.

“They (Villar and Cayetano) are reelectionists and they have the money and resources. Marcos has a regional base, not only in Ilocos but also in Leyte,” Rivera explained.

Rivera noted that Grace Poe, Nancy Binay, Lito Lapid and Ramon Revilla Jr. were not endorsed by Duterte but made it to the top 12.

The political analyst also noted that in the local elections, there were candidates who won over the administration bets. This includes former House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez who defeated Anthony del Rosario. 2nd District Rep. Antonio R. Floirendo also lost his reelection bid to outgoing Vice Gov. Alan R. Dujali.

Rivera said the defeat of del Rosario and Floreindo clan in Davao region is a big loss to Hugpong ng Pagbabago.

Rivera also noted that some of the local candidates tagged in Duterte’s narco list won the elections. According to the Philippine National Police (PNP), 27 politicians named in the list were declared winners.

Weaknesses of Otso Diretso

Rivera also factored in what he described as the weakness in the structure and organization of Otso Diretso.

“Realistically, it’s difficult to counter the financial resources of administration candidates. There’s also massive vote buying and cheating. You should counter these with organization,” Rivera said.

The political analyst observed that Otso Diretso only became active during the election period and did not engage in organizing, especially at the local level.

Rivera said opposition candidates should have been more open in forging alliances against a “big enemy.” ()

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