Snap Presidential Election?

Miguel Castro (Mang Miguel), a 73-year-old shoemaker from Tarlac City, was jubilant. The self-professed die-hard follower of Digong Duterte bragged to his customers about the armed forces' hard-earned victory in Marawi City, and even cited the grateful message from the head of the US Pentagon that likewise lauded them.

"The President's triumph in Marawi is the triumph of all of the world's freedom-loving peoples over the evil scourge of  Jihadism", Mang Miguel boasted in Tagalog to the delight of his listeners. 

"But I worry about the President's health and advancing age, as well as the yellow opposition's non-stop street noise and irritating charges", he added.

 

Digong's On A Roll

A Commerce graduate from a Manila university, Mang Miguel then exclaimed in excellent English, "Digong is on a roll! 

China and America offered us assistance for the war-torn city's multi-billion dollar rehabilitation, the Russians donated to us 5,000 of their latest automatic rifles, and Japan pledged US$ 8 B worth of investments! Digong's independent foreign policy is working! 

It augers well for our desire to be friends with all the peoples of the world!"

But when Mang Miguel asked in a hushed tone how long this good fortune could be sustained, Mang Tonying (Dacuycuy), the neighborhood barber, replied in the vernacular: "Kung may snap presidential election, pwedeng tuloy-tuloy na hanggang sa katapusan ng termino ng presidente, di ba, Mr. Roy? (A snap presidential election would surely help sustain this good fortune...don't you think so, Mr. Roy?)

I found myself challenged by a not-too-easy question, but since I had to hurry back to Quezon City, I agreed with Mang Tonying without much thought on the matter, then bade the group goodbye.

 

SPE? No Problem!

 Calling for a snap presidential election (SPE) may not be as easy as one thinks, but for an administration "on a roll" 17 months into the President's term of office, yes, Mr. Duterte should find little trouble calling for one.

Please note the historical fact that, by a year and a half into the term of any president, his popularity will have started to wane...but not in Digong's case, whose good standing with the people has in fact soared!!

Most constitutionalists, very especially of the yellow variety, would assail as a constitutional anomaly an SPE at this time of Digong's enviably high popularity ratings, although the Yellows led by Cory over 30 years ago were sportingly granted one by President Ferdinand E. Marcos.

In this regard, President Duterte will surely not be daunted because, precisely, he's on a roll. It was the Marawi victory that chalked up incredibly high marks for him --- and he knows this --- and he's aware as well of the tendency of a people to hanker for a strong leadership when the country is at war....and he is a strong leader!

 

No Hitches

The Constitution and the law are explicit on such electoral matters as the dates of elections and the tenures of the different offices aspired for, but they can be relaxed or set aside by the sovereign Filipino people who, after all, are their authors. Thus, an SPE would not be expected to encounter any hitches.

Why then might Rody want to call for a snap election? 

Answer: To give the electorate a chance to retain or eject him from office, in the face of the opposition's destabilizing rallies and demonization tactics. 

The envisioned SPE is a clever ploy, actually, because he's certain to win it, and when he does, his new strength will further weaken the opposition.

The noisy Yellows --- already in a virtually decimated condition, with the Ombudsman facing impeachment prospects, and P-Noy, Frank, Mar and other Liberal Party bigwigs facing plunder and graft charges --- should start mulling their bleak future in humble silence.

Filipinos by nature go bananas over elections, so they'll agree to a call for an SPE and, without a doubt, will retain in office the exceedingly popular President. 

The Yellows are lost. In full support of Digong are the groups of former Presidents Ramos, Arroyo and Estrada, along with those of former VP Jejomar Binay and former Sen. Bongbong Marcos.

 

Needed Impetus

Thus, a fresh mandate for him would naturally give him the added strength needed to deter the Central Intelligence Agency and other hostile forces from carrying out whatever plan they may have for harming him. 

The CIA would certainly think more than twice before putting away an extremely popular leader, especially one who has just repulsed the Islamic State of Syria and Iran from establishing a Southeast Asian base of operations here in Mindanao.

A fresh mandate would likewise give him the needed impetus to make good his campaign promises, like giving the Filipino people a chance to consider such issues as the Bangsamoro Basic Law and federalism.

Hmmm, I would have gladly discussed with Mang Tonying the foregoing comment on a possible call by Digong for a snap presidential election.

 

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