SINCE I was five years old in 1953 (born on October 12, 1948), I have been a student and participant in Philippine politics.
My mother’s family, children of Atty./Solicitor General/Secretary of Justice and Finance/defeated 1916 Federalista or Democrata Regional (Greater Manila) senatorial candidate Gregorio Araneta y Soriano of Iloilo and Carmen Zaragoza y Roxas, supported the Nacionalista Party candidates, Ramon Magsaysay, Carlos P. Garcia and a victorious 8 – 0 senatorial slate.
Three of my uncles were appointed: future 1971 Constitutional Convention delegate for the 1st District of Rizal, Atty. Salvador ‘Badong’, as Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources; defeated Nacionalista Democratic Alliance 1946 senatorial candidate and future Nacionalista Party Treasurer Atty. J. Antonio ‘Tony’, as BIR Commissioner and Vicente, as Administrator of the Agricultural Credit and Cooperative Finance Administration (kidnapped in Maragondon, Cavite and ransomed for P 50,000.00).
My mother brought me to Magsaysay’s residence at the Menzi/Legarda house on Mangga Road in Santa Mesa during the campaign.
My perception was that Magsaysay was very popular and loved while re - electionist Liberal Party Presidential Candidate Elpidio Quirino was unpopular and hated.
Lesson one – popularity wins!
After Magsaysay died, his Vice President, former Senator from Bohol Carlos P. Garcia, became President.
For the November 1957 elections, the reformist supporters of Magsaysay split and put up the PPP (either Party for Philippine Progress or Progressive Party of the Philippines).
Their national candidates were Manuel ‘Manny’ Manahan for President and Vicente Araneta for Vice President.
They only fielded four senatorial candidates including Raul S. Manglapus, out of eight vacancies.
They all lost, coming in third behind re - electionist Garcia (more than two million votes) and Liberal candidate Jose Yulo (about one million two hundred thousand votes) of the Canlubang Sugar Central, Laguna, and Negros Occidental.
There was a fourth slate (Nationalist Citizen’s Party) composed of Claro Mayo Recto and Lorenzo Tanada. They garnered a mere four hundred thousand votes.
Lesson two – Divided we fall!
If you can combine the votes of the PPP, one million, and the NCP, they would have defeated the Liberal Party for second place and the new alliance would have become the dominant opposition party and would have earned the right to name party inspectors to the precinct boards.
If you can combine the votes of the three defeated presidential candidates, their total would be more than the votes of the incumbent, NP’s Garcia.
However, the Vice - Presidential race was an upset.
Opposition Liberal Diosdado ‘Dadong’ Macapagal defeated the incumbent Nacionalista Senator Jose P. Laurel. This was the first time in Philippine presidential elections that a President won by a plurality and not a majority.
In November 1961, the LP and the PPP came together as the United Opposition Party.
Macapagal and Emmanuel ‘Manny’ Pelaez defeated Garcia and Gil J. Puyat.
Lesson three – a united opposition can defeat the incumbent but unpopular administration party.
Marcos’s Martial Law ended the two - party system under the 1935 Constitution.
When Ninoy’s assassination, the ‘snap’ elections and the People Power Revolution threw out Marcos and ushered in the Cory Revolutionary Government and the 1987 Cory Constitution.
The latter changed our system from a two party to a multi - party system.
Henceforth, victorious presidents would be elected by mere pluralities and not by majorities.
In the national elections in 1992 and 1998, popularity was the biggest factor.
Such was also the case in 2010 and 2016.
In 1992, the PRP claimed that the Lakas’ Fidel Valdez Ramos cheated MDS. In the 2004 elections the popularity of FPJ was defeated by the cheating of GMA.
The rise to national power by Duterte and his continuing popularity over the past five years is unprecedented.
The only way that Duterte can lose for vice president and his tandem can lose for president is for the opposition to be united and the administration to be divided.
This is how the Marcos dictatorship was defeated.
First, the Enrile – Ramos faction split from their ally and master of twenty years (1965 - 1986). Second, they allied with the opposition. Third is History.
Since about half a year ago, the Isambayan Coalition and selection process has been making slow and quiet progress towards having a single opposition slate next year.
Meanwhile, on the administration block, the usual jockeying for position has been escalating.
From the beginning of PDU30’s term, his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sarah Duterte has been a big question mark.
She did not join her father’s party, the PDP Laban, instead she put up her own Regional Party.
Then, she meddled in the House of Representatives, and supported Pampanga Congresswoman GMA in replacing Davao del Norte Congressman Alvarez as Speaker.
On the ground, her supporters have been moving since almost a year ago. Because of this, she rates highly in the public opinion polls/surveys.
Then, two surprises happen: PNoy dies and Senator Manny Pacquiao openly criticizes PDU30. (To be continued)