Sunday, August 21, 2016

“All Politics is Local” and Regional

“All Politics is local”, said former U.S. House Speaker Tip O’Neill.
Let me add “regional” the way it is currently played.

As a very interested observant and student of politics in the United
States and the Philippines I was lucky to have actively participated
in presidential and local elections in both countries.

In the United States, the presidential winner seems to be determined
by the results of certain “Swing or Battleground” States like Florida,
Ohio, Virginia, Colorado, Pennsylvania, and a couple of others.

In the U.S. 2012 presidential elections, I correctly predicted the
results with the help of well known statistician Nate Silver’s formula. In
the Philippine presidential elections where my own Law classmate Rod
Duterte was a candidate, I also correctly predicted the victory of
both Duterte as President, and Leni Robredo as Vice President.

Noticeable in the 2016 Philippine presidential elections are the
sources of the votes. Mindanao gave Duterte landslide votes. His
closest opponent Roxas, not surprisingly, was the winner in most of the
major Visayan provinces.

The battle for the Vice Presidency between Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.
(Bongbong) and Leni Robredo is more interesting to note.  While Leni
Robredo won, the results were close. Bongbong obtained about 80% or
more of the votes in the Ilocos Region. The latter is known in local
politics as Solid North. In fact, the region produced several Ilocano
presidents since the Philippines became a Republic: Elpidio Quirino,
Ramon Magsaysay, Marcos, Sr., and Fidel Ramos. Although Carlos P.
Garcia is known to have hailed from Bohol, he is considered a
Full-Blooded Ilocano (FBI) because both of his parents are from Abra.

The Ilocano votes of Bongbong Marcos were matched by the Bicolano
votes plus more that Leni Robredo obtained from the Bicol provinces. She
also obtained about 80% or more of the votes in the area. VP
candidates Senators Escudero and Honasan also hail from the
region.There has never been a winning presidential or vice
presidential candidate from Bicol.

While all politics is local and therefore territorial, it is also
ideological in the United States. One must either be a conservative or a

This is not so in the Philippines. Major parties are not distinguished
along ideological lines.

I am an Ilocano. That is why a friend was surprised when he found out
during Martial Law that I was an avid critic of Marcos. I explained to
him that being an Ilocano does not necessarily mean pro-any Ilocano
or pro-Marcos. I went on to explain how the battle was drawn using the
political spectrum analysis during Martial Law.

On the extreme left, I said, was Jose Ma. Sison, an Ilocano UP
professor who founded the Kabataang Makabayan (KM), led the Communist
Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army.

The Christian Left was led by Ilocano rebel priest Fr. Conrad Balweg ,
a Catholic priest who began his revolutionary career defending the
ancestral land rights of the Tinggians, of Abra Province in the
Cordillera Mountains of Northern Luzon, against government-backed
mining operations. Abandoned by the Church and hunted by the
government, he went underground and joined the Communist Party of the
Philippines/New People's Army. He is the Philippines’ Fr. Camilo
Torres who espoused the Theology of Liberation and a comrade of Latin
America’s Che Guevara.

Left of Center were Raul S. Manglapus and Sonny Alvarez of the
Movement for a Free Philippines (MFP), President and Secretary
General, respectively. The former was an Ex-Senator and Foreign
Affairs Secretary who hailed from Tagudin, Ilocos Sur while the latter
was a Delegate to the Constitutional Convention who came from
Santiago, Isabela.

Of course, on the extreme right was dictator/fascist Ferdinand Marcos
and his Ilocano generals led by his Chief of Staff Ilocano Fabian Ver.

Based on this analysis, I have shown that not all Ilocanos were so bad
that they blindly and solidly supported a dictator who actually robbed

them blind – of their civil rights and their bright future. 

No comments:

Post a Comment