Get real
Philippine Daily Inquirer, 14 May 2016


The people have spoken. They have emphatically chosen Rodrigo Duterte to be their President. So be it. What does that say to us?  That Duterte’s promise of a crime-drug-corruption-free country within six months (the promise has been modified—it is not eradication he promises, but suppression) has caught the attention of the masses who, on a day-to-day basis, are exposed to the acts he has promised to eradicate/suppress. They are so desperate they will overlook any flaw (including breaking the law) in their chosen one, so long as these threats are removed.

What does their choice of Leni Robredo say to us? Their choice of Leni to be Duterte’s Vice President makes sense. Where Duterte is there to protect people from harm, they look to Leni to see to their economic needs, including the need to rein in Duterte. Her track record shows that she can do it. She is gentle, but unafraid. So be it. I think she personifies the politician we all need and deserve—honest, hardworking, efficient and genuinely propoor.

But isn’t there some doubt as to who is the winner in the vice presidential race? Why am I so sure Leni has won? Well, Bongbong Marcos’ hysterical cries of cheating I completely disregard. The basis for his claim is something like: “We went to bed well ahead of Leni, and by the time we woke up the next morning, she was ahead. Ergo, she must have cheated.” There was also something like: “The LP is making sure Leni will win, because they intend to impeach Duterte, and they can be in control once again.”

Bongbong’s claims were not helped by his subsequent request to stop the unofficial count and just wait for the formal canvassing. For heaven’s sake, why? I can think of only a couple of reasons, neither of which shows him in a good light: one, so that people cannot see the evolving patterns and so will be more open to accept a different, magicked result; and/or two, he will have more time, and space, to do whatever politicians do to influence election results their way.

Again, why am I so sure Leni has won? Let me count the ways (no pun intended):

  1. Let’s go back to before the elections: Leni’s trajectory in the surveys never had a downward trend. The more people she talked to, or the more people heard what she had to say, the more supporters she had. Bongbong, too, showed an upward trend, but in the end (close to Election Day), he lost steam. Her trajectory became steeper than his.

Contributory to this state of affairs, if one may speculate, are their respective performances during the vice presidential debates. The official one, held at the University of Santo Tomas, was a debacle for Bongbong, and a triumph for Leni. For my part, every time Bongbong called Alan Cayetano his “friend,” when Cayetano was pulverizing him, I thought that showed him up as a “trapo,” whose word was not to be believed.  Bongbong also did not attend the second debate, which, in itself, was a message to the voters, and was another opportunity for Leni to shine.

  1. After the elections: Bongbong was certainly correct in saying that he was leading Leni during the first hours of the vote. By around a million votes, as I recall. What he did not say was that those returns came from areas where he was strong and she was weak—Regions I and II, Metro Manila. The tide turned when the votes from her points of strength came in.

But, more important, the pattern was set on the morning after Election Day. Her lead slowly increased, and, more importantly, was never lost. As of this writing, May 13, 10:34 a.m., her lead is 223,234 votes, in a count which covers 95.91 percent of total precincts.

What about the other 4.09 percent? Can she lose that lead, the way Bongbong lost his lead on the first night of the vote-counting? In a word, NO. Why?

  1. I have the list of 2,823 clustered precincts, by province, which have not submitted returns as of Thursday, May 12. So presumably, as of May 13, some of these clusters have already been accounted for. Yet, her lead increased. So the pattern is holding.
  1. I also have a list of the actual voting results by province, to give me an idea how the vote would go in the clustered precincts cited earlier. What I saw was that if the unreported precincts in the provinces voted the way the provinces actually voted, Leni would still be the winner.

Take the ARMM (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao), for example.  Lanao del Sur has 451 clustered precincts not yet reported;  Maguindanao, 183; and Basilan, 55. That makes for a total of 689, or about 24.4 percent of the unreported. How did these provinces actually vote, from the reported results?  They voted almost 3 to 1 in favor of Leni. On the other hand, there is Sulu, which has 191 precinct clusters still unreported. Sulu actually voted 50.2 percent for Bongbong, and 12.2 percent for Leni.

How many unreported precinct clusters does the “Solid North” have? Well there’s Ilocos Norte with 15 precinct clusters; Ilocos Sur, 8; and La Union, 13. By the way “solid” means about 93 percent in Ilocos Norte, 89 percent in Ilocos Sur, and 86 percent in La Union, but when you get to Cagayan, Isabela and Nueva Vizcaya, the solid sort of liquefies to the low 70s  and the high 60s.  By the time you get to Pangasinan and Quirino, that goes down to the low 60s and the high 50s.

So, the vote is going to be tight, no question about it. But Leni will win.

IF she is not cheated. Can she be? Of course. The official tally may not be the same as the unofficial ones we have been using. Be vigilant!