The importance of presidential endorsements
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B Jimenez (The Freeman) - February 13, 2019 - 12:00am

Whether you are pro- or anti-Duterte, you should open your eyes to the realpolitik, the plain and unadorned realities on the ground. Substantial evidence abounds in the form of historical election patterns, empirical data and anecdotal evidence. They point to the inevitable conclusion that presidential endorsements carry a lot of weight because the president has a solid group of partisan supporters who usually follow party lines and align their voting patterns with his wishes. The real intellectuals, the so-called conscience voters, and the ones who really vote according to qualifications and based on issues, represent less than 10% of the voting populace.


Have you noticed that all the senatorial candidates aligned with the president are in the Magic Twelve? Have you noticed that Harry Roque, a very qualified, competent candidate, who knows the law, who is familiar with parliamentary procedures, who has the full grasp of the national situation, did not even reach top 15 slots in the surveys? He ultimately withdrew. Don't ever believe the old hackneyed alibi of health problems. That was a face-saving alibi. All Cabinet members who are sacked use that alibi. Only the naïve and the fools believe that. The true reason is that Roque was not within the winnable circle. The president told him so, but he was stubborn and went his way.

Look at Bong Go, from the fifteenth slot to fifth place is a giant leap. Nobody knew him except the Davao supporters of the president. Go was a shadow, a perennial photobomber who always stood behind then mayor Duterte. Go never utters any word. He whispers and gesticulates, and carries some bunch of documents and hands over pens and papers to his boss. Who would ever think that he is senator material? But whatever the president wants, the president gets. Go will join Manny Pacquiao, Lito Lapid, Bong Revilla, and Jinggoy Estrada. These guys are all loyal to Duterte but only Go will take a bullet to cover the president. A vote for Go is really a vote for Duterte.

Those who are strongly for the president and those who do not appear very antagonistic against Malacañan are leading both in the SWS and the Pulse Asia surveys. I am not really a fan of these surveys but their poll trending results are really mind-conditioning. Go jumped from fifteenth to fifth place. There is no other driving force for such a leap than the series of TV ads where the president himself testifies on the merits of Go; his selfless services, his hard work, and dedication to public service. Also, the numbers of Bato de la Rosa and Francis Tolentino improved due to the persistent endorsement by the president in his speeches and talks with the governors and mayors.

If we examine the pages of history, President Cory Aquino endorsed Boy Herrera, Joey Lina, and Rene Saguisag, virtual unknowns and they won. Marcos endorsed Rene Espina and he became senator. A presidential endorsement is like a voice from heaven saying: “This is my man, hear him. And vote for him if you want manna from Malacañan.” That is how politics is in the Philippines, and perhaps anywhere else.

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