A recent survey conducted by a leading radio station in the country indicated that former Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go placed eighth in a winning circle of 12 senatorial candidates.
Three senatorial aspirants surprisingly did not make it to the magic circle. They are Manuel “Mar” Roxas II and Paolo Benigno Aquino of the moribund Liberal Party (LP) and Francis Tolentino, defeated senatorial candidate in 2016 and current political adviser of President Duterte.
Let’s focus on the other senatorial candidates regardless of their ranking in the radio survey.
Incumbent Sen. Grace Poe-Llamanzares landed in third place, although her performance in the Senate has been lackluster, to say the least. She is also a shameless political opportunist.
Many believe that in the 2010 presidential elections, it was Grace Poe’s father, the late Philippine box office king Fernando Poe Jr. (FPJ) and not Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who won.
It is also widely believed that FPJ would not have died of a stroke soon after the polls if he were not cheated.
Sensing an avalanche of sympathy votes coming her way, Poe ran for the Senate in 2013 and, as she expected, landed in first place. That made Poe insatiable for higher public office, and so she spent her first three years in the Senate promoting herself as the ideal presidential candidate.
In 2016, Poe rejected an invitation to run for vice president under the Liberal Party, and decided instead to run for president on her own. Devoid of any track record to back her presidential bid, Poe exploited the image of her late father in her campaign advertisements.
An adopted child of FPJ and film actress Susan Roces, and one who acquired American citizenship earlier, Poe did not satisfy the constitutional definition of a natural-born citizen of the Philippines. That was a problem for Poe because only natural-born citizens may be senator or president.
Poe’s citizenship was eventually questioned in the Senate Electoral Tribunal, the Commission on Elections and, ultimately, in the Supreme Court (SC). In a controversial decision, the SC allowed Poe to run for president on the questionable grounds that there is a 98 percent statistical probability that she is a natural-born citizen and that she has the physical features of a Filipino citizen.
That decision is assailable because citizenship must be a matter of certainty and not probability. Besides, the last time one’s physical features determined one’s political rights was when the Nazis ruled Europe during World War II.
At the height of the 2016 presidential campaign, Poe’s American husband promised to apply for naturalization as a Filipino citizen. After Poe lost in the presidential race, nothing was heard from the husband.
This early, Poe is resorting once again to necro-politics, as seen in her ongoing early campaign advertisements which highlight her being the daughter of FPJ. Many are turned off by Poe’s redisplay of shameless political opportunism.
Then we have folk singer Freddie Aguilar who placed 19th in the radio survey. He has not yet successfully identified any correlation between his musical skills and his campaign for the Senate. In all likelihood, he never will.
In 24th place is Rafael Alunan III, a Cabinet secretary of a forgettable political figure in an equally forgettable political administration. He has been repeatedly running for the Senate, losing in every attempt. Repeatedly rejected by the electorate, he should be declared a nuisance candidate.
LP candidates Jose Manuel Diokno and Lorenzo Tañada landed at numbers 26 and 32, respectively. That is a tell-tale indication that the opposition to President Duterte has no substantial support from the electorate.
Despite numerous occasions in the past when he hogged the print and broadcast news, military mutineer Gary Alejano placed a miserable 27th place. His rating is an indication of how much the electorate dislikes soldiers who violate their oath to support and defend the Constitution. Like his incumbent counterpart, outgoing Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, Alejano clearly does not belong to the Senate.
Finally, there is Romulo Macalintal, the lawyer of Leni Robredo, whose hold on the vice presidency is hounded by an election protest filed by ex-Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. He is number 33 in the survey.
Election law is the specialization of both Macalintal and detained Sen. Leila de Lima. From all indications, Macalintal probably believes that like De Lima before him, he just may be lucky enough to make it to the winning circle of 12. His rating in the survey, however, should wake him up to reality.