PRESIDENT Duterte said on Monday he agrees that the midterm elections could be taken as a referendum on his performance in the last three years.
If people really did support the administration-backed senatorial bets this election, Duterte said he sees this as a vote of confidence in him.
“[This election] could be taken as one referendum so that if you agree with me, then you can vote for my candidates and the people I am supporting this election. Then if I am repudiated by the loss of all candidates coming from the Hugpong slate, then that would indicate [that] the majority of the people ayaw nila ako [don’t like me],” Duterte told reporters shortly after voting at Daniel R. Aguinaldo High School at around 4:30 p.m.
While those candidates endorsed by the President performed well in the preelection surveys compared to opposition candidates, the President still chose not to be overconfident even at the last hour before the closing of polling precincts.
“Ever since I [entered] politics, [and] it’s always at the start of the election campaign, I would always place [the odds] at 50-50, maski malakas ang survey, maski wala akong kalaban [no matter how strong I am in the survey, and even if I have no rival]. It’s always a 50-50 preposition because if I do not have opponents, I support a group of people who will run the city government, so kailangan tao mo rin [so it is important that they are also your people],” the President said.
Sara: Duterte reforms need backers
Meanwhile, presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio was also able to vote successfully in the same polling precinct where the President voted.
Shortly after voting, Duterte-Carpio, who chairs the party Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP), told reporters that this election is crucial for the Duterte administration, as she admitted that her father President Duterte had a hard time pushing for reforms in the last three years.
“In the last three years, we saw that the President [was] having a hard time [pushing] for reforms that he would like for the country, especially his campaign promises, to get the support of the Senate. That’s why we really worked hard during this campaign,” she said, to present to the electorate those potential senators who “understand the vision of our Presdent and, hopefully, they will vote for them.”
Although HNP carried 13 candidates for the midterm elections, Duterte-Carpio said she only chose 12.
However, she refused to disclose who among the 13 bets did not get her vote, citing ballot secrecy.
Kiko’ claims victory for opposition
Opposition Sen. Francis Pangilinan on Monday claimed victory for the opposition well in advance of the Comelec official tally of vote.
“Today is election day and regardless of the outcome, we have already won,” said Pangilinan, pointing out that eight opposition Liberal Party senatorial candidates “with sterling track records have offered themselves as our gladiators in this election battle.”
In a statement, Pangilinan, LP stalwart, noted that Catholic bishops and lay leaders “have openly supported us; and tens of thousands, including young people and artists (new YouTube sensations and mainstream marvels), have wholeheartedly volunteered their time, talent and money, going house to house, designing and printing their own campaign materials, writing and singing their own campaign jingles, shooting and uploading their own videos.”
The senator added: “We have flexed our democratic muscles and we know our strength.”
According to Pangilinan, the opposition party stalwarts, however, are not about to let their guard down. “All these are what we will take in the next battles, because there will be more. But then, there will be more of us amongst our ranks as well.”
“The fight for truth and for right has reached today, the midterm elections,” he said, noting that “this, our people’s fight, is just one of many since 2016.”
Among others, Pangilinan listed as “battles” they waged the following issues: the killings of suspected drug users and small-time pushers; the burial of the dictator in the Heroes’ Cemetery; the oppressive price increases of fuel and food; the arrest and detention of Sen. Leila de Lima; the onerous, unnecessary debts from China; and the attempts to arrest and detain Sen. Antonio Trillanes.
With Butch Fernandez