It is still two months before the filing of certificates of candidacy in October for candidates running in the May, 2019, elections, but prospective candidates are beginning to move, gathering support and forming alliances.
The coming elections will elect governors and other provincial officials, mayors and other city and town officials. Voters are generally more involved in local elections then in national ones as the candidates are more personally known to them and many local community issues are involved.
Next year’s midterm elections will also choose 12 senators, half of the 24-member Senate, and one group came forward last Monday, composed of members of various national parties and several local ones. Leading the alliance were Davao Mayor Sara Duterte Carpio of the regional Hugpong ng Pagbabago, Sen. Cynthia Villar of the Nacionalista Paty, and Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos of Ilocano Timpuyog and the NP Ilocos Norte chapter.
There were several other women officials in the alliance – Gov. Lilia Pineda of Pampanga of Kambilan, Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte of Serbisyo para sa Bayan, and Taguig Rep. Pia Cayetano. They were joined by several male officials – senators, congressmen, governors, mayors, cabinet members, etc. – but it is the women in the group who stand out and are likely to lead It.
The launching of the new national alliance led by a regional party raises questions once again about the county’s national parties which have not played any significant role since the return of our democratic institutions after martial law and authoritarian rule in 1986.
Party loyalty has been minuscule or nonexistent all these years, with officials readily jumping from one party to another, depending on who won the last presidential election. The Liberal Party was prominent during the previous Aquino administration from 2010 to 2016, only to break up with most of its members migrating to the PDP-Laban which helped President Duterte win in 2016.
Now the PDP-Laban itself has been split into two. Its top officials – Chairman Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III and Secretary-General Pantaleon Alvarez – have been voted out of their leadership in the Senate and House, respectively. And a big group of party members has now separated and elected its own party officials.
With the approach of the 2019 midterm elections, political leaders are now mobilizing their resources but the established parties may not be playing a big role in the process. Instead, we have alliances llike the one led by Hugpong ng Pagbabago which has drawn a great deal of public attention because of its leader, Mayor Sara Duterte Carpio, and the many women officials who have flocked to it. It may well play a big role in the coming elections.