Philippines: Popular Duterte, resource-rich PDP-Laban mean tough times for opposition in 2019

  • A recent survey on preferred senatorial candidates underscores the challenge the political opposition faces in 2019 as it squares off with a very popular leader and an administration party awash with campaign resources.
  • This is according to a political analyst interviewed after Pulse Asia released its senatorial preference survey results on 20 Apr 18 showing potential administration candidates dominating the poll.
  • The lone opposition figure to enter the so-called Magic 12 was Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino IV of the formerly dominant Liberal Party.
  • While Benigno Aquino III was president, many politicians switched to the LP, and even during after the 2016 elections, it was en route to being the biggest political party in the House. However, due to the country’s weak party system, many local officials quickly abandoned LP and jumped to the new ruling group, PDP-Laban.
  • Of the 15 who were given a statistical chance of making it to the top 12 in the Pulse Asia survey, seven names were in the list that PDP-Laban leader and Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III announced. Aquino was the only opposition figure to break into the group with a statistical chance of winning.
  • The others in the 15, such as Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, former PNP chief Ronald Dela Rosa and Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos, have close political ties to another factor that makes 2019’s elections all the more difficult for the opposition: President Rodrigo Duterte.
  • As shown by the recent polling results, Duterte remains massively popular among Filipinos and continues to enjoy historically high ratings.
  • Coronacion cautioned that elections are still more than a year away, and the results of surveys, which are based on perceptions, could vary from time to time.
  • These results, according to the political analyst, are useful in assessing a potential candidates’ chances of winning. In the case of Uson and Roque, Coronacion noted that their lack of electoral appeal, at least so far, could be attributed to their image.
  • Aquino said that talks were still ongoing about their line-up in 2019 and stressed that more effort was needed for their candidates to have a chance.

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