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Opinion

The evil of the multi-party system

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez - The Freeman

Today, we shall elect another minority president. Too many parties and too many candidates naturally result in fragmentation of the electorate, and the winner becomes a mere plurality president, the most obvious of whom were Fidel V. Ramos and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo who got too thin margins and too small percentages of votes obtained. The facts and the numbers contained in Commission on Election records are palpable evidence.

In 2016, the winner, President Rodrigo Duterte got only 39.02% of the 44,979,151 votes cast. The percentages of the losers were: Roxas, 23.45%; Poe, 21.39%; Binay, 12.73% and Santiago, 3.42%. Duterte is not a majority president. In 2010, PNoy got only 42.08% of the 38,139,371 votes cast. Erap got 26.25%; Villar, 15.42%; Teodoro, 11.33%; Villanueva, 3.12%; Gordon, 1.39%. PNoy was not a majority president. In 2004, GMA got only 39.99% of the total votes cast, 33,510,092. FPJ got 36.51%; Lacson, 10.58%; Roco, 6.45%; and Villanueva, 6.16%. GMA was not a majority president.

In 1998, Erap got only 39.86% of the 29,285,775. The losers, De Venecia, 15.87%; Roco, 13.83%; Lito Osmeña, 12.44%; Alfredo Lim, 8.71%; De Villa, 4.86%; Santiago, 2.96%; Enrile, 1.28%. Even Erap was not a majority president. In 1992; FVR won but with only 23.58% (the lowest in history) of the total votes cast, 24,254,954. The losers: Santiago, 19.72%; Cojuangco, 18.17%; Mitra, 14.64%; Imelda Marcos, 10.32%; Salonga, 10.16%; Doy Laurel, 3.4%; FVR holds the record of having been elected by the smallest fraction ever in history. There were simply too many parties, too many candidates. The people were fragmented widely. We skip the Marcos martial law elections and go back prior to martial law.

When there were only two major parties, the Nacionalista Party and the Liberal Party, elected presidents got more than 50% of the votes, except in close contests. In 1969, NP's Marcos got 62.24% over LP's Serging Osmeña’s 37.75% of the 8,061,804 total votes cast. In 1965, NP's Marcos got 51.94% over LP's Diosdado Macapagal, 42.88% of the 7,610,051ballots. In 1961, LP's Macapagal, with 55.05% won over Carlos Garcia, NP, 44.95% of the 6,738,805 total votes cast. In 1957, there were three major bets, hence, none got a majority. The winner was NP's Garcia, 41.28%, LP's Jose Yulo, 27.62% and Progressive Party's Manuel Manahan, 20.90% of the total votes cast was 5,108,112.

A clear majority president, in 1953, Ramon Magsaysay of the NP got 68.90% while LP's Elpidio Quirino got only 31.08% of the 4,326,706 votes cast. In 1949, LP's Quirino got 50.93%, NP's Laurel, 37.22% and Avelino, also LP, 11.85% of the total 3,579,917 total votes. In 1946, Manuel Roxas, LP won with 53.93% over Don Sergio Osmeña of the NP with 45.72% of the 2,596,880 total votes. In 1941, Manuel Quezon of NP got 81.78% over Popular Front Party's Juan Sumulong with only 18.22% of the total 1,638,928 votes. In 1935, Manuel Quezon of NP got 67.98% over Emilio Aguinaldo of the National Socialist Party, 17.53%; and Gregorio Aglipay of the Republican Party, 14.47%. There were only 1,022,849 votes cast.

And so, the only majority presidents are Quezon in 1935 and 1941, Roxas in 1946, Quirino in 1949, Magsaysay in 1953, Macapagal in 1961, Marcos in 1965 and 1969. All the rest were mere plurality presidents: FVR, 23.58% in 1992; Erap, 39.86% in 1998; GMA, 39.99% in 2004; PNoy, 42.08% in 2010 and Duterte, 39,02% in 2016.

This is palpable evidence of the evil of too many parties and too many candidates. We need to go back to the two-party system.

ELECTION

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