THE excellent showing of administration-backed senatorial candidates in the last polls was a vote of confidence and affirmation of the people’s continued strong support for President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte’s good governance.
This was asserted by Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa) President Martin Romualdez, returning Leyte first district congressman, after nine senatorial bets endorsed by President Duterte and re-elected Davao City Mayor and Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) chairperson Sara Duterte gave clear indication of winning the 2019 midterm elections based on partial and unofficial results.
“The outstanding showing of President Duterte’s and Mayor Sara’s senatorial candidates only affirmed the solid support of majority of Filipino people to President Duterte,” said Romualdez, President of Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD) who was endorsed by Mayor Sara as Speaker of the incoming 18th Congress, as he reiterated his commitment to push the legislative agenda of the President in the next three years.
The leading administration senatorial candidates in the Magic 12 include re-electionist Sens. Cynthia Villar, Sonny Angara, Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, Deputy Speaker and Taguig City Rep. Pia Cayetano, former Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jr., Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos, former presidential aide Bong Go, former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Bato dela Rosa, and former presidential adviser for political affairs Francis Tolentino.
Romualdez, a veteran three-term Leyte congressman who was the House Independent Bloc Leader of the previous 16th Congress, credited the strong public support of President Duterte to the implementation of his campaign promises such as pursuing his anti-corruption mantra, addressing poverty, improving law and order by waging war against criminals and terrorists, implementing his Build, Build, Build infrastructure projects, and among others.
“The people have witnessed President’ Duterte’s clean, accountable, and transparent government. The President is a no-nonsense action man and very much determined to address graft and corruption. He issued orders without alibis,” said Romualdez, a former House Independent Bloc Leader and ex-Leyte congressman, adding President Duterte has been effecting the necessary social reforms in the country.
He also pointed out that Filipinos are more satisfied with President Duterte than any other government official because he knows how to deal with various concerns and talk to ordinary people.
“Marunong bumaba sa tao si President Duterte. He is not an elite type. He is always in touch with the ordinary people and there is a stable electoral democracy under his administration,” said Romualdez.
Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte and Deputy Speaker and Batangas Rep. Raneo Abu, both stalwarts of the Nacionalista Party (NP), echoed Romualdez’s observation.
Villafuerte said the election results will give President Duterte a fresh mandate to push further reforms and initiatives in keeping with his agenda to sustain the growth momentum and reduce poverty incidence to just 14 percent by 2022.
“The still unofficial Senate race tally, in which nine administration-backed bets are on the Top 12 list, is a crystal clear message that President Duterte remains the most dominant force in Philippine politics till he leaves office three years from now,” said Villafuerte. “President Duterte has bucked the conventional wisdom of an incumbent Chief Executive turning less popular and into a political lameduck after the midterm polls on his or her watch.”
“The results are actually not surprising if we are to take into consideration the fact that President Duterte’s approval and trust ratings remain at record high levels at this time when his predecessors see their ratings rapidly decline during this same midterm period,” Villafuerte said. “The election results show that the people want the Senate to remain supportive of, instead of being an obstructionist chamber to, the reforms and initiatives that President Duterte wants to push in the incoming 18th Congress in support of his inclusive growth agenda.”
Abu said President Duterte pursued “better changes and making things done right and faster under his more people-centered government.”
“His zero tolerance on corruption and illegal drugs are among the laudable achievements of his administration,” said Abu.