Manolo Quezon is #TheExplainer Newsletter: The undemocratic ten percent

With nine days to go before elections, a look at the Ten Percent for whom election day will merely be a formality.

Vote-rich. See link to my blog entry with full chart.

This week’s The Long View

‘Areglado na ang kilay!’ | Inquirer Opinionopinion.inquirer.net

By: Manuel L. Quezon III@inquirerdotnet

Philippine Daily Inquirer / 04:35 AM April 27, 2022

Sixty years ago, Nick Joaquin featured the newest in political slang, saying the term for the done deal, the sure thing, politically speaking, would date you. Back then, in the early 1960s the new thing was “Ayos na ang butó-butó.” Previous decades had “tapos na ang boksing,” not to mention, “Yari na!” from the ’50s, and “Cuarta na!” from the ’40s. But the granddaddy of political “street argot” as Quijano de Manila called it, was “Areglado na ang kilay!” the heckling boast of the Commonwealth years. Which brings us to today’s topic, which is, the real news about our elections in recent years, already happened way before election day: because the candidates, in our inimitable Taglish, already “made areglo.”

Even before the pandemic led to the great migration back to the provinces, the past decades have seen a great internal migration. The Philippine Statistics Authority (as of its 2018 National Migration Survey) reported 55 percent of Filipinos over the age of 15 have moved for three months or more since birth (48 percent internal migrants, 2.5 percent abroad, 4 percent both internally and abroad). The political effect of this? Established political networks are increasingly deprived of the web of patron-client ties that takes years and many elections to establish. Anecdotally, politicians complain that the electorate has become very mercenary, which makes election only possible through wholesale vote-buying: to the extent that even milking public office can’t recoup the costs. Then again, there are academic studies that reckon only two-thirds of those who accept money or goods for their votes, actually vote as promised. So risk remains high even as campaigns escalate in costs.

Consider, then, what more than one seasoned politician has told me: The days when every party had two or more hopefuls seeking to contest every possible electoral opening are over. Whether national, regional, or local, parties are having a tough time finding candidates. And even if a slate can be scraped together, it’s become increasingly a losing proposition to even contest the elections because it’s that much harder to eke out a victory. The solution is incredibly like the approach of business in our country, to the challenges of competition in the open market: the creation of cartels. Competing factions sit down, divide the positions between them, ensuring a quota for each with unopposed candidacies for all. Risks and costs are reduced, everyone stays in the game.

I started paying attention to this after the late President Noynoy Aquino told me after the 2013 midterms that, across the board, political families faced the toughest contests they’d faced since 1986. It must have put the fear of the electorate in the hearts of many clans. In 2016, those who ran unopposed were as follows: 39 out 235 members of the House (16 percent); 14 out of 81 governors, 14 out of 81 vice governors (17 percent respectively), 220 mayors and 255 vice mayors of the 1,634 vacant positions for each (13 percent and 15 percent respectively).

In 2019, the midterms, 36 members of the House, eight governors, 12 vice governors, 44 provincial board members, 19 city mayors, 198 municipal mayors, 33 city vice mayors and 241 municipal vice mayors, 32 city councilors and 248 municipal councilors all ran unopposed.

The Inquirer reports that this year, 39 congressional candidates are running unopposed or 15 percent of the 253 available district seats, nine governors in 81 provinces or 11 percent are unopposed (for vice governor, it’s 11 out of 81 or 13 percent unopposed), while out of the 782 provincial board seats up for grabs, 45 board members (5 percent) are sure bets because they’re unopposed. In 1,634 cities and municipalities, 203 mayors (12 percent) and 254 vice mayors (15 percent) are unopposed; as for city or municipal councilors, 284 (or 7 percent) of those seeking to fill the 13,558 seats are unopposed.

Rappler noted that the number of unopposed congressmen, governors, vice governors, mayors, and vice mayors has remained fairly steady; but it said that there’s been a “huge increase” in the number of unchallenged (thus “sure-win”) provincial board members and city and municipal councilors: with “a number of entire slates without challengers.” By any measure, these are remarkable national numbers, a minimum of one out of every 10 officials up for re-election are doing so unopposed. But it’s worth underscoring that this is a reaction to the political players being increasingly unelectable. Or, conversely, the price of competition getting too steep for the politicians’ comfort. But if this is so, can the provincial barons still deliver votes? Perhaps what matters less is whether they can or do, and more the perception of electoral inevitability their endorsements enhance.

Additional Readings/Listens

Please click the link below, which takes you to my blog, and additional sources and readings on the above.

The #PhilippineDiaryProject from 2021–25 is commemorating the 80th anniversary of #WW2PH with a monthly timeline with daily diary entries to recapture the wartime experience. Here’s May 1942: the execution of Jose Abad Santos and the Fall of Corregidor.

The Long View Context: Unopposed Candidates — Manuel L. Quezon IIIwww.quezon.ph
My Wednesday column was, ‘Areglado na ang kilay!’ which is, in turn, something I’d earlier brought up last year in An epidemic of clans (on a related note, see an earlier column that references India, a very interesting parallel: The 500-year interval). The phrase itself comes from an article on political slang Nick Joaquin wrote in 1963.

May 1942: WW2PH 80 Years After — The Philippine Diary Projectphilippinediaryproject.com

Each date contains the relevant entries as well as materials culled from different sources of information:

  1. Battling Bastards. A Diary-Type Account of the First Days of World War II in the Philippines, by J.G. Doll (The Merriam Press, 1989), which provides the American military perspective on events. These entries are in italics. These provide a fair summary of the American point of view.
  2. The World War II Timeline prepared by the Official Gazette; these entries are in bold. these give an indication of the Filipino point of view.
  3. Various documents and photographs from the Quezon Family Collection.
  4. War and resistance in the Philippines, 1942–1944, by James Kelly Morningstar (Naval Institute Press, 2021). This is in underlined bold.

See what came before in the 80 Years Later Series: December 1941, January, 1942, February, 1942, March, 1942, April, 1942.

#ProyektoPilipino our program on civics, is about to wrap up its first season, focused on the 2022 elections. The show on YouTube and cable, is a brisk exploration of each topic geared towards young people; our accompanying podcast tries to go a little more in-depth.

#ProyektoPilipino our program on civics, is about to wrap up its first season. Our first season’s focused on the 2022 elections. The show on YouTube and cable, is a brisk exploration of each topic geared towards young people; our accompanying podcast tries to go a little more in-depth. Check both out!

The voice of the people is the voice of God: Faith and politics | Episode 12 | Proyekto Pilipinowww.youtube.com

Ano ba ang konsepto ng separation of Church and State? At dapat bang hindi nakikisawsaw ang simbahan sa usapang pulitika, at vice versa?

The separation of the Church and State is in the constitution, and the Canon Law of the Catholic Church outlines the separation between these two entities. But while many people would like to draw a line between what is religious and what is political, the reality is that religion deals with morals, and the whole concept of nationhood is moral, as well. Join Fr. Tito Caluag and his friendly trio of distinguished thinkers — Dr. Leloy Claudio, Manolo Quezon, and Carlo Santiago — as they talk about the role of our faith and discernment in helping us decide who to vote for in the coming elections.

Religion is part of our history and our lives, and at the end of the day, we bring our history and morals to the political choices that we make as Filipinos and as voters.

Watch the 12th episode of Proyekto Pilipino on the following channels and timeslots:

The Conscience Collective Youtube channel: Thursdays, 7 p.m.

Sky Cable Channel Ch 955 HD, Ch 155 SD: Fridays, 7 p.m. | Saturdays and Sundays, 3 p.m.

Jeepney TV: Sundays, 6 p.m. | Mondays, 6:30 a.m.

The voice of the people is the voice of God: Faith and politics | Episode 12 | Proyekto Pilipinowww.youtube.com

Ano ba ang konsepto ng separation of Church and State? At dapat bang hindi nakikisawsaw ang simbahan sa usapang pulitika, at vice versa?

The separation of the Church and State is in the constitution, and the Canon Law of the Catholic Church outlines the separation between these two entities. But while many people would like to draw a line between what is religious and what is political, the reality is that religion deals with morals, and the whole concept of nationhood is moral, as well. Join Fr. Tito Caluag and his friendly trio of distinguished thinkers — Dr. Leloy Claudio, Manolo Quezon, and Carlo Santiago — as they talk about the role of our faith and discernment in helping us decide who to vote for in the coming elections.

Religion is part of our history and our lives, and at the end of the day, we bring our history and morals to the political choices that we make as Filipinos and as voters.

Watch the 12th episode of Proyekto Pilipino on the following channels and timeslots:

The Conscience Collective Youtube channel: Thursdays, 7 p.m.

Sky Cable Channel Ch 955 HD, Ch 155 SD: Fridays, 7 p.m. | Saturdays and Sundays, 3 p.m.

Jeepney TV: Sundays, 6 p.m. | Mondays, 6:30 a.m.

We Bulong: Fake News — Proyekto Pilipino: Conversations on Civics and Politics | Podcast on Spotifyopen.spotify.com

Listen to this episode from Proyekto Pilipino: Conversations on Civics and Politics on Spotify.

“Maraming kumikita sa fake news at maraming nabubudol sa kasinungalingan ng mga pulitiko.”Technology has undoubtedly made it easy — and profitable — to spread fake news, rumors, and outright disinformation. And more than just earn millions, purveyors of fake news are now able to sow distrust in mainstream media and even rig an election to their advantage. In these times where it’s so easy to fall into the trap of black propaganda, where should we turn to and what should we do so we are better armed to discern and judge the legitimacy of the information we receive?

Join Fr. Tito Caluag and his friendly trio of distinguished thinkers — Dr. Leloy Claudio, Manolo Quezon, and Carlo Santiago — as they talk about how to promote a “kultura ng resibo” where we ask for evidence and we ourselves are ready to present the proof.To watch the full version of this conversation with Prof. Danilo Arao and Prof. Ipe Salvosa, from election watchdogs Kontra Daya and Tsek.ph, head to the Conscience Collective Youtube Channel here: https://youtu.be/i0mrIe2_rRE

Star ng Halalan — Proyekto Pilipino: Conversations on Civics and Politics | Podcast on Spotifyopen.spotify.com

Listen to this episode from Proyekto Pilipino: Conversations on Civics and Politics on Spotify.

“Mula talampakan hanggang buhok, pati na kili-kili, napakalakas ng hatak ng mga celebrity. Eh paano naman sa pulitika?”The power of the celebrity encompasses many aspects of our lives, and influences many of our choices from the food that we eat to the clothes that we wear. The question now is how much can they really influence our vote — and is this a good or bad thing?

Join Fr. Tito Caluag and his friendly trio of distinguished thinkers — Dr. Leloy Claudio, Manolo Quezon, and Carlo Santiago — as they tackle the need to be critical about celebrity endorsements, and ponder on the question: “What if more than just endorsements, they decide to run for office?”To watch the full version of this conversation with Robert Labayen, an advertising expert and current Head of Creative Communication Management at ABS-CBN, head to the Conscience Collective Youtube Channel here: https://youtu.be/P-XBKy5xnUc

This month in the Philippine Diary Project

Thank you

Your subscribing to this newsletter helps keep up my productivity and for those of you giving of yourselves to help through Patreon, it also makes a big difference to writing morale. As it’s been evolving this newsletter helps me flesh out my ideas, which then get distilled into my column, which then provides at launching pad for expanding those ideas, and so on.

Thank you to those who are contributing to Patreon and thus helping provide the resources required to keep producing this newsletter and podcast.

Consul: Abigail Salta

Praetors: Carlos v. Jugo, Ramon Rufino, Arbet Bernardo

Aediles: Steven Rood, Willi, Cleve Arguelles

Quaestors: Joseph Planta, Giancarlo Angulo, Annie Inojo,

Sam Chittick, Patrice P

Their support enables me to devote the time and effort for this newsletter and my podcast. Thank you!

Check out:

Manolo Quezon is #TheExplainer is creating Historical and political thinking, writing, and broadcasting. | Patreon

Become a patron of Manolo Quezon is #TheExplainer today: Get access to exclusive content and experiences on the world’s largest membership platform for artists and creators.

www.patreon.com

The #PhilippineDiaryProject from 2021–25 is commemorating the 80th anniversary of #WW2PH with a monthly timeline with daily diary entries by soldiers and civilians alike to recapture the wartime experience. Here’s May 1942, which includes the execution of Jose Abad Santos and the Fall of Corregidor.

May 1942: WW2PH 80 Years After — The Philippine Diary Projectphilippinediaryproject.com
In commemoration of the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II in the Philippines, we have compiled the diary entries for May, 1942, the fifth month of the war, along with other interesting material, in the hope that this will help interested readers to get a sense of the of that conflict. Each… Read More »May 1942: WW2PH 80 Years After

Thank you!

Your subscribing to this newsletter helps keep up my productivity and for those of you giving of yourselves to help through Patreon, it also makes a big difference to writing morale. As it’s been evolving this newsletter helps me flesh out my ideas, which then get distilled into my column, which then provides at launching pad for expanding those ideas, and so on.

Thank you to those who are contributing to Patreon and thus helping provide the resources required to keep producing this newsletter and podcast.

Consul: Abigail Salta

Praetors: Carlos v. Jugo, Ramon Rufino, Arbet Bernardo

Aediles: Steven Rood, Willi, Cleve Arguelles

Quaestors: Joseph Planta, Giancarlo Angulo, Annie Inojo,

Sam Chittick, Patrice P

Their support enables me to devote the time and effort for this newsletter and my podcast. Thank you!

Check out:

Manolo Quezon is #TheExplainer is creating Historical and political thinking, writing, and broadcasting. | Patreon

Become a patron of Manolo Quezon is #TheExplainer today: Get access to exclusive content and experiences on the world’s largest membership platform for artists and creators.

www.patreon.com

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Manuel L. Quezon III

Columnist, Philippine Daily Inquirer. Editor-at-large Spot.ph. Views strictly mine. I have a newsletter, blog, podcast, and Patreon.