Time and the presidency in 2022

Sara Duterte-Carpio with President Duterte, during his trip to China and Hong Kong in April 2018.

By JoeAm

Nothing is permanent in Philippine politics. Power is not static, it moves, shifts, transfers, gathers, divides, and even evaporates. Time is the ticking clock hovering over everything. It drives allegiances locally and nationally, mainly through elections and as people of age give way to the youngsters.

It’s fascinating, the family ties here. We who favor civility thought the elderly Senator Pimentel had strong values and the son was a flake, aligning with President Duterte and staying there through thick, thin, and mass killings. He became an enabler of Duterte’s death and destruction. By destruction I mean the ruin of the two main pillars of civility, democracy and human rights. Then we were dismayed to see the elder Pimentel attach his name to Duterte’s draft Federalism Constitution. This Constitution was crafted to give the powerful even more power.

“Ah, say it isn’t so, Nene!”

Both Pimentels are well educated. Both are of Catholic faith. Both are of the Senate, the upper house.

The ‘young’ family members like Senator Pimentel . . . Angara, Ejercito, Lagarda . . . they have pedigree. And that Foreign Affairs guy, Chinese special agent Alan Cayetano. But it is clear that they have not developed a sense of national patriotism. Their loyalty is to themselves. They may care but, still, they watch as 20,000 innocent Filipinos get thrown under the bus. And precious seas are gifted to China. In their ambitious, self-centered way, they cannot cross the President. They see the nation being abused but just walk over to the other side of the street, duck their heads, and keep going. I’ll refrain from commenting on Senator Poe as I am working diligently to control “high blood”.

Philippine power politics . . . it will corrupt the strong and consume the weak.

The House has proved to be the most horrific gathering of self-dealers since Adam bit down on the apple. Truly, they are a scurrilous lot of no known principle, not even loyalty to the oath they recited, or to the People they serve. They can’t even define ‘minority’ in an honorable way. Despicables of the first order.

Well, on it goes, on and on, like muddy water finding its way down the valley, bound by gravity and mountain walls.

Looming above all this is Father Time, a god for the populists. He can gift them rain or ruin, sunshine or dark skies. They alternately bow and curse this god.

The senators bow to Father Time when they resist a “No Election” scenario, or when they fail to get enthused about Federalism. The Senate is the pathway to the presidency or vice presidency for Poe, for Lacson, for Escudero, for Aquino, and maybe for others. If elections are cancelled in 2019, the Senate is dead. Senators’ aspirations are dead. If there is federalism, their aspirations are dead. They’ll never get out of that chamber with its grey-green hospital hue decorator chairs.

If the Senate keeps the 2019 elections in place, a whole new set of truths and consequences arise.

Everyone knows President Duterte hates being constrained by laws, and by the existing Constitution. He also understands that human rights laws are likely to gift him with a big “guilty” rendition from some future court. He either needs to continue in office or get a pardon. Pardons could come from Bong Bong Marcos or Manny Pacquiao or his daughter, Sara Duterte-Carpio. Maybe even Grace Poe, she is that pliable.

Right now, the heavy betting money is on Duterte-Carpio.

Time forces the President’s hand.

Here is the status of the President’s various options to remain in power or secure a pardon:

  • Revolutionary Government: it was killed fast and is unlikely to re-emerge.
  • Nationwide Martial Law: no one wants it or believes it is needed, except the President. But it is still there, an act requiring just enough excuse or desperation to put it in place. It would generate chaos, both politically and economically, and possibly within the military.
  • Federalism: The initiative may be dying a slow death by a thousand cuts. It is a defective document. There is no need for it, except for the entitled. If it gets to plebiscite, expect the President to spend billions to sell it to the unaware.
  • 2022 Election: the last chance for the President, and I would estimate the best chance. Sara Duterte-Carpio is a force, more worldly but just as determined as the President. She is learning, growing, and power-networking. Expect her on the senatorial ballot in 2019 no matter what she is saying now. Marcos may be out . . . or Mama Marcos may demand that her boy run. Hard to figure out.

I contacted my bookie Sal who fled to Sicily when Duterte won. But he follows things in the Philippines. Here is his first-look casting at prospects for President in 2022 as to WHO WILL RUN. He has attached probabilities to the names to help sort them out.

  • Grace Poe 99%
  • Leni Robredo 99%
  • Sara Duterte-Carpio 95%
  • Bong Bong Marcos 65%
  • Manny Pacquiao 45%
  • Ping Lacson 35%
  • Antonio Carpio 15%
  • Chiz Escudero 10%

Sonny Trillanes will run for Vice President as the united opposition backs Leni Robredo. Bam Aquino will bide his time. Sal predicts that Pacquiao will be discouraged from running by President Duterte, and Carpio and Escudero will not follow through because of inadequate backing.

Here is how Sal sees the election ending up, based on what is known today. The percent share of votes is in parentheses:

  • Sara Duterte-Carpio 30%
  • Leni Robredo 25%
  • Grace Poe 20%
  • Bong Bong Marcos 15%
  • Ping Lacson 5%
  • Other 5%

Once again, Senator Grace Poe is likely to define the future of the Philippines with her outsized ambition.

Time will tell.


40 Responses to “Time and the presidency in 2022”
  1. edgar lores says:

    1. “Oh, it’s votin’ time again, you’re gonna love me
    I can see that rapacious look in your eyes
    I can tell by the way you hold me Inday Oooh
    That it won’t be long before it’s cryin’ time”

    2. I think the presidential 2022 election will be shaped by the current national conditions, the current Senate composition, and the senatorial 2019 election.

    2.1. Leni is a surefire starter.

    2.2. I believe Sara cannot run for the presidency unless she passes the Senate hurdle. Further, if her father’s administration ends in ignominy, she will be a write-off.

    2.3. Mar might reignite his chances.

    2.4. I agree Grace will be a spoiler.

    2.5. Recto, as a presidential candidate, and Legarda, as a vice-presidential one, are the dark horses.

    2.6. Sereno will be a bellwether. If she runs and wins, Leni’s chances increases and Sara’s decreases. If she loses, it’s vice-versa.

    3. Other observations:

    3.1. I like A. Carpio but he will be 73 in 2022. He’s the Chief Justice we deserved but never had, and the President we deserve but never will.

    3.2. Lacson will be 74. Too much baggage.

    3.3. There is little love lost for Escudero.

    3.4. Bongbong is a square peg.

    3.5. Pacquiao will test how much lower Filipinos can sink. We are already at rock-bottom but there’s always molten rock.

    • Nice analysis. Recto, eh? I never considered him. I think people like he, Legarda, and Angara will be vulnerable if Duterte crashes. Essentially, anyone around the table in that picture from a while back, dinner hosted by Duterte, everyone beaming, will be criticized for abetting the killings and gift of seas to China. (Was Recto there, I wonder; I don’t think Escudero was.) Poe is also vulnerable on that point, and on praising Thinking Pinoy in committee.

      The real independent these days seems to be Nancy Binay. Although I think she was at the table. Still, she has not been totally complacent about things.

      Here’s the photo; Recto is there, Escudero not, Binay is.

        • MLQ3 in a tweet referred to Lenin’s quote about “useful idiots”, in reference to the ComCon group. It actually applies to trolls, Uson, Roque, almost the entire House, and a dwindling number of senators.

        • Juana Pilipinas says:

          Yup. Now they are all mouthing off and trying to kill Federalism for their political survival.

      • edgar lores says:

        I quite do not understand the dynamics of majority/minority blocs in Congress. Everything is so fluid.

        The Liberals in the Senate formed part of the Majority. Drilon was Senate President Pro Tempore. Just before Arthur Lascañas gave his testimony, the Liberals were dumped from the Majority bloc. Recto is a liberal and was nominated to the post by Pacquiao.

        From Rappler:

        “Shortly after the session started on Monday afternoon, Pacquiao stood up and moved to declare Drilon’s position vacant.

        Drilon himself stood up to say he seconded the motion of Pacquiao, who in turn moved for Recto made new Senate President Pro Tempore.

        Pimentel divided the house for a vote.

        With a vote of 17-6, Recto was elected as the new Senate President Pro Tempore and he immediately took his oath before Pimentel.

        The 17 who voted for Recto were Pimentel, Escudero, Pacquiao, Pangilinan and Senators Nancy Binay, Alan Peter Cayetano, JV Ejercito, Win Gatchalian, Richard Gordon, Gregorio Honasan, Panfilo Lacson, Loren Legarda, Grace Poe, Vicente Sotto, Joel Villanueva, Cynthia Villar and Juan Miguel Zubiri.

        The senators who voted against Recto were Recto himself, Drilon, Aquino, Hontiveros and Sen. Sonny Angara. [Bolding mine.]

        • Juana Pilipinas says:

          I think Pacquiao nominated Recto, a Liberal in the position because he felt that Recto will be easier to persuade in backing the administrations’ will than Drillon in case Pimentel is absent or incapacitated (plus, he is a Vilmanian 🙂 ). Pangilinan probably voted in affirmative thinking of check and balance. The rest of the oppositionists including Recto himself voted against him possibly because of party principles. There seems to be no Senate rule on who should have the president pro tempore position.


        • I don’t get it, either. Why is Sotto the President? He is absolute mush.

    • “2.1. Leni is a surefire starter.”

      For sure. Especially now that she is starting to manage her image better by debunking the lies manufactured by the DD/BBM trolls.


      Her legal team is also studying Drew Olivar’s video and mulling on filing a case against him. Possibly, a libel case. I’d say, please do it, VP! It’s about time to give these trolls a lesson about freedom of speech. No one is taking it away from them but they should be schooled about its intricacies.

      “2.3. Mar might reignite his chances.”

      I am hoping he does. 10M Filipinos voted for him in 2016. He could have won if Grace had grace. I read comments on social media about people who are saying they should have voted for him kung advance lang silang mag-isip. In the least, PH need him in a cabinet capacity because he is an honest and hardworking technocrat. We need people with integrity in every government position especially those that will affect people’s day-to-day existence.

      Where does Bong Go figures in the “scheme” of things in 2022?

      • he will be at the Politburo

      • karlgarcia says:

        Speaking of Bong Go.
        Were there any discussios in socmed about the suicide of his staff?


        • No. That is an inscrutable event, I must say.

          Have you heard of the Partido Federalismo ng Pilipinas (PFP)?

          “PFP is set to field local and national candidates in 2019, according to Hinlo. Photos on social media show they are actively campaigning for Go, who, despite consistent public appearances and media interviews, has denied his plans to run for the Senate.

          “Yes, Sec. Bong Go knows about the PFP,” Hinlo told Rappler.

          An insider, who refused to be named, said the group is expecting clashes between local candidates of PDP-Laban and PFP. But for the national elections, they are supposedly open to the idea of an administration coalition.

          In an earlier interview, Go said there is nothing wrong with the creation of the party, as it advances federalism.”


      • I’ve read some discontent from ‘yellows’ about VP Robredo’s passivity. They want her to stop saying things like “we are looking at it”, and just file the case already. Otherwise she looks ineffectual. Maybe she has to step up to that. Or those itching for a fight will move to Trillanes.

        • NHerrera says:

          When does she change her spots [referring to the biblical leopard changing spots]. May be difficult. But who knows what circumstances change a person.

          • NHerrera says:

            She needs a modern-day Machiavelli to advise her how to be a “Princess.” Wrong; she is already. But how to be a “Queen.”

          • NHerrera says:

            A related thought. Learning from the strategy used by Duterte and his Camp in the 2016 Election, coming out even slightly strongly at this time is not wise. That is on the assumption that she indeed can “change spots” when the time comes.

            • Leo says:

              Nice. For VP Robredo to standout at this time will just attract more demolitions which will be believed by many rabid supporters of the current president, given the audacity of the trolls (Mr. Olivar i.e.). She should sue that guy though, as a person, not as a political opposition. This can set a precedence.

              The desperation to find issues against those who oppose the current president can be inferred from the substance, or the absence of it, of the posts they make in social media. The lack of head-on engagement from the camp of the elected VP has dried up even the most fertile imagination of the trolls to create opportunities to demolish her.

              I hope the coming election will show a little maturity on the part of the us, voters. If we elect the same personas to the posts, then the hope of the motherland will diminish even further. We should have hit the rock bottom, as mentioned in one of the comments, by this time and should start to come up for air.

              Miss Grace Poe, please do not be a pawn this time around. Throw your support to the one who can clear away this darkness in our history. When the light is restored, you can plan you political ambitions.

        • Mary Grace P. Gonzales says:

          Off topic:

          I came across this FB post from Vange Lara. I sent a private message to her requesting for an elaboration but haven’t received a response. Can someone clarify this one for me?


            • Mary Grace P. Gonzales says:

              to me, too that’s why the request.

              My wish is that Lorenzana has a change of heart, does an Enrile, gets Leni in Malacañang. The AFP manages to get support from the US by way of USA B52 rent @ $1/day, PH Navy and Airforce hit Chinese bases in PCA-won islands. The USA and the Philippines invoke the Mutual Defense Treaty.

              argh, just a nonsense wish… and a dream (while awake) which is I believe is still free.

              • Thanks for the explanation. Well, we can all hope and pray, but I merely work within the system and that means looking forward to elections.

              • Hello, Ma’an. Nice to hear from you again.

                Seems like we got “Rub-a-dub-dub” in PH. There are now 3 men in the tub: Dominguez, Pernia and Lorenzana. Lorenzana joined the Economics duo by publicly stating that Federalism is confusing. The rub is that if a US educated cabinet member gets confused, Juan dela Cruz is probably having nosebleeds.

          • NHerrera says:

            Can’t be; otherwise we have the case of READY. FIRE. AIM. 🙂

            • Mary Grace P. Gonzales says:


              intentionally missing the sequence, sir NH?

              … like in Tiananmen Square?

              …to suppress protests?

  2. NHerrera says:

    Politically delicious! More! More!

  3. karlgarcia says:

    Election run offs is only possible if you amnd the constitution, If the reason for amending the charter is for run offs then I am for it.

    The senators seem will choose the system where they are still relevant and powerful.
    In the proposed charter change, a portion of the lower house would be elected nationally, that makes the senators mandate only from a small percentage of the voters.
    I guess, the senators will think twice before supporting that.

    As for the unitary parliamentary, Lacson and Trillanes voiced their opposition, so I guess it will be really be presidential, but please if there would be many candidates, let the winner be voted by majority via election run off.

  4. Andres 2018. says:

    The elder Pimentel was an advocate of federalism ever since. When Duterte was still running for the president post, one of his program is the shift to federalism, this is why, PDP with the younger Pimentel as the head supported Duterte.

    Year 2022, Duterte at 77, i doubt he himself still wants to be a president given the demands of his health. The sound option is to pick someone as his heir, but no sure candidate as of now. However, if federalism will happen before 2022, Duterte can retire in peace i believe.

    Even during G.M. Arroyo presidency, federalism was already initiated. Given the current set of congressmen and senators, and the popularity of the President, it is probable that federalism will happen before 2022, assuming the 2019 elected candidates are good with it.

    There is a fear that federalism is an instrument for some to stay in power, but how?

  5. Fave angel says:

    Trying to avoid your high blood pressure, did you? I guess you passed it on to me. The only formidable tandem I would back would be a Robredo-Trillanes tandem. Everyone else is a God-have-mercy long shot. Hopefully, our poor and marginalised will now back real leaders in government, the ones they can feel safe with, where they can take their shirts off outsie their shanties and not get shot.

  6. Micha says:

    1. Yes to elections 2022.

    2. Absolutely NO to pepederalismo.

    3. U.S. Federalism : made up of self-governing states wanting to band together to form a nation.

    4. Philippine Federalism : already a constituted nation made up of regions wanting to self govern.

    5. The running trend and theme is more on fragmentation, instead of unity.

    6. Not. Gonna. Work.

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