The next presidential election will officially start 8 months away from now, with the filing of candidacy scheduled this October. One has to conclude that election is so near. In fact, the COMELEC continues to urge the public to register since there are still 3-4 million unregistered voters to date. The Commission also gives the idea of no face-to-face campaigning in 2022 a thumbs down.
Meanwhile, all presumptive election contenders are now making their presence felt with their supporters making noises by launching various “movements” that urge their bets to run (as if their bets still need persuading). Unofficially, election has come.
So far, there are 3 presumptive candidates being pushed to throw their hats into the ring, namely, the presidential daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, Vice President Leni Robredo of the opposition, and Mindanaoan Senator Manny Pacquaio, a budding administration’s standard bearer.
Mayor Duterte’s supporters begin her unofficial campaign with the launching of Inday Sara Duterte Ako (ISDA) Movement coupled with inter-province motorcades in the North. Vice President Robredo’s supporters quickly flexed their muscles by launching the Leni 2022 Movement in Quezon province. The “I am Ready for Leni” signature campaign was also launched online which urges her to run in 2022. Recently, some retired PBA players joined the chorus for Mayor Duterte. Meanwhile, Senator Pacquiao found supporters in Cebu province with its Manny Pacquiao for President Movement (MPPM), believing “he could be the President that we need”.
The hecklers and trolls of Vice President Robredo noticed the online signature campaign for her to run in 2022 and subsequently spoof it with “We are ready for Leni to retire in politics” petition. They boasted that their petition got more signatures than the campaign which urged her to run. Some cast doubt on these overwhelming signatures against the leader of the opposition since the administration is known to employ troll farms since 2016.
As expected, all presumptive candidates decline to categorically state their decision on whether or not to run in 2022 election. The usual script is for them to excuse themselves from talking politics as the country is still in pandemic.
Debate in 2022
The exciting features to look forward in the coming election are the presidential and vice presidential debates. These debates will enable the people to evaluate the candidates.
The debates will also show the ability of the candidates to frame issues. It is a conventional wisdom that the candidate who frames best the debate, wins.
Some pundits and operators expect that the 2022 election will become a repeat of the 2016 elections with its emphasis on the DDS versus Dilawan narrative. This kind of framing feeds on the socio-political polarity between the perceived “DDS” and “Dilawan.”
However, this kind of political framing needs to be retired. We should not let the political debate be confined within the DDS vs Dilawan narrative, or even associated to names like Duterte, Aquino, or Marcos. For the incoming election should not be about them. The election is about our country and the voters!
It is imperative for everyone who understands the failures of the DDS vs Dilawan polarity to work towards shaping a better narrative for the next election which should revolve around the simple question: “Who can best govern in the times of crisis and can deliver results needed?