The Battle for the 12 Senate Seats - Blueboard by Benjamin Barretto

May 08, 2019

Come 13 May 2019, 61,843,750 or 57.4% of the total 107,795,964 Philippine people will select among other political positions twelve new senators – it is The Battle for The Twelve Philippine Senate Seats.
Two major forces – the Otso Diresto representing the Opposition and the Hugpong Ng Pagbabago or HNP representing the choice of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte face each other. The former has the usual Liberal Party (or Dilawan) candidates plus new faces focuses on issues.  The latter has traditional politicians, some who have been charged in the Pork Barrel Scam, one a daughter of the former dictator, actors and the usual political family names plus two new ones entertaining voters.
Of total voters, 1,822,173 or roughly 2.9 % are overseas Filipino workers or OFWs many of whom supported the President in 2016. The 30,026,953 or 48.6% are male while 31,816,797 or 51.4% are female.
Voters in the age bracket 18 to 29 comprise 18,847,230 or 30.5% - the so called Gen Z; 30 to 44 with 19,911,867 or 32.2% known as the Gen X; 45 to 64 with 17,216,364 or 27.8%; 65 and above with 5,868,289 or 9.8%.  Those belonging to the 18 to 35 age bracket (the youth age) is almost 45%
Catholics in the Philippines comprise 81% of the total population belongs to the Roman Catholic Church; 11% to Protestant Christians; and 6% to Muslim.
In 2016, the percentage share of number of families  in the AB bracket (with an average annual income of P1.86 million) is only 1% but their % share in total income is 9%; the C bracket (P 603K) is 9% with 26% share in total income; D bracket (P 191,000) is 60% with 56% of total income; and E bracket (P62K) is 30% .
The 51.4% women voters weigh in on the continuous anti-feminist proclamations of the President - rape jokes, touching a maid’s private part, and ‘shoot in the vagina’ tirades.  Would this be enough to sway them to support 8Diretso or stick with the President’s HNP bets?  Anyway they were not the ones raped, touched, nor shot in the vagina?
The 32.2% Gen X and 30.5% Gen Z active in social media is a very powerful bloc.  Will they deliver the votes for Otso Diretso for a change or vote without thinking critically for old traditional politicians, (some charged with plunder for stealing the peoples’ money) or because they still believe in the President. What does it tell of the majority of the youth when mock polls in top Universities delivered votes for the opposition?  Will the youth in other schools follow suit?  Or maybe the first question is, “will the youth vote at all?”
Then there is the 80% Roman Catholic faithful and the call for One Catholic Vote (though not explicitly stating in some cases for 8Diretso? The call is a direct reaction to the constant maligning of the Roman Catholic’s God – Jesus and the Saints and the veiled threat to kill bishops and priests who criticize the President anti-drug campaign.  A number of bishops and priests including Bishop Socrates Villegas and Bishop Pablo David and Fr. Albert Alejo and Robert Reyes have pleaded for support in the call the One Catholic Vote at the ire of the President.  But where are the rest?  Will they use the pulpit to defend their God? Or do they really believe in their God more than in the President?
 The last One Catholic vote said to succeed was during the 7 February 1986 snap election when the late Jaime Cardinal Sin issued a pastoral letter read all throughout the Sunday and early morning Monday masses just before election day with the simple message, “Tanggapin ang pera, iboto ang konsensiya (take the money, vote your conscience.”)  Here lies the main difference – in 1986 it was a Catholic Church united and led by a fierce Cardinal.
And what about the 90% (60% in D and 30% in E) votes – the vote of the poor?  Who will they vote for?  Certainly the fisherfolk in Zambales who cannot fish anymore in Panatag Shoal and others in West Philippine Sea areas, the farmers whose rice harvest are now sold at low prices, the families who lost loved ones (specially children like Kian Santos) in TOKHANG, the Filipino workers whose jobs here in their own motherland were given to foreign Chinese workers paid at high salary than them, those who see the Chinese are taking over the country, and those who feel their lives are worse off because of high prices due to inflation would vote for the opposition and not the HNP supported by the President?  Or would they?
This 13 May 2019 election is a day of reckoning for Filipinos – the women, the youth, the Catholics and the poor.  The suspense is comparable to the Game of Thrones – The Long Night episode.  Who will win or lose?  Live or die? 
Elections are Coming!  
The Chinese are already here!
Come 13 May 2019 the battle begins
Who Wins? Who Loses! Who Lives? Who Dies?
And the fate of the entire Philippine Kingdom
shall be revealed!
Love the Motherland passionately!
Think critically!
Para sa iyo ang boto ko!
Benjamin Roberto G. Barretto is currently a part time professor with the Political Science Department of Ateneo de Manila University. He is also Vice President for Planning and Community Services of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Marikina (PLMar) as well as its Dean for the College of Management and Technology. He was the former Executive Director of the Jesuit Volunteers Philippines Foundation Inc. (JVPFI) and was a former Administrator of the Ateneo School of Government.