Forget about electioneering. Already mired in its own negligence, the Commission on Elections has remained passive in pre-electoral abuses that have ailed our political system.
Electioneering is associated with political campaigns happening before the official campaign period starts. Presumptive candidates can post tarps and billboards with messages and images that point to the first signs of a pre-election campaign. If an individual starts campaigning via ad or poster but without the trick-word ‘vote’ on them, Comelec does not care at all.
Beyond elections, partisan blocs, both opposition and administration, have already
commenced instituting changes in their ranks and are now floating the names in social media of the probable presidential bets. Davao City mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, who topped last year’s survey, has already gone on massive provincial sorties, planting the caravan trail with hundreds of tarps carrying the tagline ‘Run, Sara, Run.’
The ‘Biyaheng DU30’ television plug, which was launched years ago, has slowly turned into a subliminal campaign the electoral body is helpless in stopping.
There are, however, recent titillating developments coming out of the opposition bloc.
Former defense secretary Gilbert Teodoro, loser in the 2010 presidential bid, has cryptically posted in social media the word ‘2022.’ Pundits suspect this is a teaser for his political comeback.
But the most exciting episode is the prospect of Sen. Panfilo Lacson running for President
instead of seeking a fourth Senate term. Recently, he rebuffed the Food and Drug Authority (FDA) for hurriedly issuing an emergency authorization use (EAU)) for the use of Sinovac. vaccines by the military, in direct affront to the approved priority list on who gets first the jabs.
He called the overnight EAU consent as reeking of ‘special treatment’ and made a swipe at the President by saying ‘Filipinos are not extortionists’ after the chief executive wanted money from the United States in exchange for the extension of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA). Outside these twin incidents, Sen. Lacson also criticized and took jabs at the way the Palace has been handling crucial diplomatic matters. As the recent developments show, the president and the senator look like they are on a collision course.
Strengthening the opposition involves coalition, which means bringing to the roundtable vice-president Leni Robredo, Teodoro, Lacson, and former vice-president Jejomar Binay to a roundtable dialogue. Minus the ego, things can work correctly for the fragmented bloc.
However, if the President supports Teodoro (Duterte’s first choice as defense secretary) instead of daughter Sara (whose popularly in her hometown is plummeting) that will be a modified ballgame. But then, it all depends on if Teodoro accepts the challenge.