Bitter lessons learned from the 2016 presidential polls

Published by rudy Date posted on July 14, 2021

by Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez (The Freeman), 14 Jul 2021

If the candidates for 2022 do not take a moment and look back at the hard and bitter lessons learned in 2016, then they are bound to suffer the same hardships and bitterness again. Lesson 1.) Too many candidates of the opposition makes the administration win. Lesson 2.) Too many registered voters refuse to cast their votes and too many voters cast invalid votes. Lesson 3.) The winner isn’t necessarily the best. Not all good men win, many times the bad guy knocks out the good. That’s how the cookie crumbles.

The figures don’t lie. As the lawyers would quip: “Contra factum non valet argumentum”. What is contrary to facts is not a valid argument. The official results, based on Comelec figures showed the following outcome of 2016 presidential elections: Rodrigo Duterte, 16,601,997 (39.01%); Mar Roxas, 9,978,175 (23.45%); Grace Poe, 9,100,991 (21.39%); Jejomar Binay, 5,416,140 (12.73%), and Miriam Defensor Santiago, 1,455,532 (3.42%). If we look at the demographics, Duterte dominated the C and D social and economic strata, which includes the working class in the industries and agriculture, farmers fisher folks, construction workers, and the daily wage-earners in factories and workshops. Roxas and Poe shared the social and economic elites like the executives, professionals, and the white-collar personnel. Miriam dominated the youth and the students sectors.

Also based on geographic voting patterns, Duterte controlled the entire Mindanao except for one-fourth of the Zamboanga Peninsula which, to our surprise, was won by Grace Poe. This is the sector that was loyal to Fernando Poe in Mindanao. But all the rest of Mindanao was solid for Duterte, and that includes, Region 9 from Dipolog in Zamboanga del Norte all the way down to Zamboanga City, as well as Region 10 comprising the two Misamis provinces and its capital, Cagayan de Oro, all the way to Bukidnon and the island of Camiguin were all for Duterte. The five Davaos gave Duterte a resounding support, including del Norte, del Sur, Oriental, Occidental, and de Oro, formerly known as Compostela Valley, the gold capital of the country. Cotabato, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, and Gensan were all out for Duterte. The Visayas including Cebu, Bohol, and Leyte were for Duterte.

Roxas only won in the whole of Panay, including Capiz, Aklan, Antique, Iloilo, Guimaras, and the two Negros provinces, plus Samar and Palawan. Grace Poe won in Pangasinan, Central Luzon, Oriental Mindoro, and a small part of Zamboanga. Had Grace Poe given way to Mar Roxas, Duterte would have lost by no less than three million votes to Mar, because the combined Roxas and Poe votes would have reached 19 million. But had Binay not joined the fray, most of his votes would have gone to Duterte because they have the same socio-economic profiles. So, without Binay, Duterte would have won with a slight margin, that is more than 20 million against Mar’s and Poe’s combined votes of 19 million. Had Miriam not been a candidate, her votes would most probably gone to Mar, and thus Roxas would have won over Duterte. Thus the entry of Poe and Miriam helped Duterte, and the entry of Binay helped Mar.

Incidentally, the year 2016 was also an eventful year in American political history. Hillary Clinton, the first female presidential candidate won the popular vote with 65,853,514 (48.28%) votes over Donald Trump’s 62,984,828 (46.1%). But Trump got more votes in the Electoral College, which was 304 against Clinton’s 232. How could this happen? Well, Trump won in 30 states out of a total of 50, while Clinton only won in 20 including the biggest which is California. Both Trump and Clinton are from the state of New York but their state voted for Clinton. Hillary won all the Pacific states of California, Oregon, Washington, and Nevada and all the eastern states from New York to Maine. But Trump won all the middle and southern states, including the giant Texas and the vote-rich Florida

Back to the Philippines, one lesson learned was that in 2016, there were 55,739,911 registered voters but only 44,739,151 voted, while more than 11 million did not vote. Among the more than 44 million who voted, only 42,552,835 cast valid votes. There were 2,426,316 invalid votes. All these could have made a huge difference. Candidates and their campaign group should analyze all these data and plan accordingly. Or suffer from the same failures again.

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