Monday, May 21, 2007

2007 Election Post Mortem

First off, let me apologize to my readers for not being able to write in this blog as I have been quite busy campaigning for some local candidates. I know that my topic might already be a bit late in the day but since I have been previously writing about politics, I feel that I ought to share my "take" on the recently-concluded elections.

The 2007 elections was generally a "dull" affair in Western Visayas because there were only a few hotly-contested posts. There were no dramatic or surprising upsets (like the one by Fr. Panlilio in Pampanga) and in most places, the results were already foregone conclusion. In Iloilo City for example, Congressman Raul Gonzalez, Jr. and Mayor Jerry Treñas were reelected as many expected. In Iloilo Province, Governor Niel Tupas easily toppled his opponent Vice Governor Armada and all Tupas family members who ran for office have won: Board Member Niel "Jun Jun" Tupas, Jr. is now 5th District Congressman, his brother Raul was reelected Mayor of Barotac Viejo and the Governor's youngest son, Nielex won as Councilor of Iloilo City (despite the fact that Iloilo City has never been a Tupas bailiwick). For more details, see election results in Iloilo City and Iloilo province here

The same can be said about the elections in Capiz, Negros Occidental, Antique, Aklan and Guimaras. Majority of the incumbent LGU officials faced only "token" candidates and almost all reelectionist Governors and Mayors in the region won. The same is also true for the congressional races, as a quick scan of the winners will bear out:

Aklan -
Lone District - Florencio Miraflores, LP (reelectionist)
1st District - Antonio del Rosario, LP (3rd term Roxas City mayor)
2nd District - Fredenil H. Castro, LP (reelectionist)
Iloilo City - Lone District - Raul Gonzalez Jr., Lakas CMD (reelectionist)
1st District - Janette Garin, Lakas - CMD (reelectionist)
2nd District - Judy Syjuco, LP (reelectionist)
3rd District - Art Defensor, Lakas - CMD (reelectionist)
4th District - Ferj Biron, Lakas - CMD (reelectionist)
5th District - Niel Tupas, Jr., LP (defeated the brother of Rep. Rolex Suplico)
Negros Occidental
1st District - Julio Ledesma IV, Lakas-CMD (reelectionist)
2nd District - Alfredo Marañon III, Kampi (reelectionist)
3rd District - Carlos Lacson, Lakas-CMD-UNA (reelectionist)
4th District - Jeffrey Ferrer, NPC (anointed by Cojuangco Family)
5th District - Ignacio Arroyo Jr., Kampi-UNA (reelectionist)
6th District - Genaro Alvarez, NPC-UNA (reelectionist)
Bacolod City - Monico Puentevella, Lakas-CMD (reelectionist)

Of course, there were intermittent sparks. The race for the 5th district of Iloilo between Jun Jun Tupas and Col. Boy Suplico was hotly contested while the fight for the Lone District of Bacolod City between incumbent Puentevella and Vice Mayor Novero was also tight. Also, 3rd term Dumangas Mayor Rolly Distura surprisingly made a spirited campaign against billionaire Congressman Ferj Biron (4th District, Iloilo) but in the end, he lost by a large margin. These were the only "exciting" races in Region 6 this past elections.

While many Manila opinion-makers wanted the 2007 elections to be a referendum on President Arroyo's leadership, I observed that majority of the voters chose candidates (at least on the local level) based on their "personal traits" and not based on their affiliation with or opposition to GMA. In my opinion, the recently-concluded elections basically brings us back to where we were three years ago: a highly pro-administration House of Representatives which doesn't want to impeach GMA and an anti-GMA Senate which hopes to impeach GMA. And with less than 40 opposition congressmen elected, the prospect of impeaching the President has become practically nil. But with the addition of at least 8 opposition senators, we can expect a more "fiscalizing" Senate. So I guess the message of the people to their leaders is this: "We don't want GMA removed, but we want her every action closely guarded and scrutinized."