INVESTORS were reported to have expressed concern over a real possibility–that the new president will just get enough votes to win, in an election squeaker. Or, put simply, they are worried over the emergence of a “minority president” after the May votes shall have been counted.
Yes, we will most likely get that kind of president. The pool of candidates is broad, seven candidates, and only one of the seven is doomed to irrelevance. The margin of victory, with that broad pool, may swing between a high single digit to a low double digit. The polling work has validated the “minority president” thesis.
But to be worried over the margin of victory, not on the substance of the campaign, is simply the shallowest, inanest, stupidest idea put forward by the investing class in relation to the 2016 presidential campaign. Why? It lacks basis in fact and in history. Let us go to concrete examples.
Who, in recent history, was the so-called “RFM president” who got 24 percent of the votes, which was then the equivalent of RFM-Swift’s 24 percent share of the broiler market? Fidel Valdez Ramos. Mr. Ramos assumed the presidency with the slimmest of margins.
Who rocked Philippine politics with a landslide win in 1998 over more worthy candidates? Erap Estrada. On the day Erap filed his certificate of candidacy for president, the race was over. As they say, it was all over but the counting.
The next questions are these. Who served the country better? Who was better at the exercise of presidential powers?
We don’t have to answer that question. On a personal realm, I was frustrated by Mr. Ramos’s cold technocracy. We revolted against his end-game, which was his attempt to rewrite the Constitution so he could stay in power. But compared with Mr. Estrada, Mr. Ramos’s leadership was from a higher planet. Mr. Ramos got puff pieces on his “tiger economy” while Mr. Estrada went to jail on corruption charges, the landslide winner and popular president who went to jail.
On the substance, the investing class was reported to be worried over the difficulty that a “minority president” would face in pushing and passing “priority bills” through Congress. Again, this is inane, baseless and stupid. Just look at how power is structured in this country. We have an all-powerful president and a lame duck. subservient, docile Congress.
Even if the opposition were in power in Congress, the opposition leaders would almost always cooperate with the president in passing urgent and priority legislation. Again, let us go back to the presidency of Mr. Ramos.
If you look back at recent congressional history, one of the most productive years in legislation took place during the early years of the Ramos presidency, with the Senate under the control of the political opposition and with the elder Angara as Senate president. At the prodding of Mr. Ramos, but with Congress doing most of the bill drafting, Congress passed with speed several major pieces of legislation: energy laws, banking laws, build-operate transfer laws. About ten reform laws were passed with speed and urgency, Mr. Ramos’s 24 percent share of the votes entirely forgotten.
The legislative infrastructure for the reforms sought by Mr. Ramos got full support, not stonewalling, from an opposition Congress.
The truth about the structure of power in our country is this. Nothing can enfeeble the president and dent his vast and awesome powers. The Development Budget Coordinating Committee (DBCC), for starters, writes the whole budget and Congress, even with its constitutionally-defined “ power of the purse,” just does a minor tweaking of what the DBCC has written.
Congress cannot even reclaim from the president its power over the budget. The legal and constitutional thing is for Congress to write a budget from zero and deliberate on it line by line, item after item. But this is not done in the real world. Everything is left to the executive branch and members of Congress – with the pork barrel gone – now have to beg for crumbs from the executive branch.
Even after a very popular draft law is vetoed by the President, such as the recent veto of the SSS pension hike, members of Congress cannot even find their balls to override the veto. The Senate lacks three votes to override the veto. The House won’t even discuss an override.
Now, we have to find out why the investors have been spreading the canard about an enfeebled “minority president.” Which is patently untrue.
There is an easy answer to that question. Investors are allergic to the two polling leaders, Mr. Binay and Mr. Duterte. The “Crook” and the “Killer.” They are rooting for the anemic candidacy of Mr. Roxas, the Aquino clone, who has never led in polling through months of survey work.
They want to damn Mr. Binay and Mr. Duterte and elevate Mr. Roxas. But because they are too cowardly to attack Mr. Binay and Mr. Duterte frontally, the investing class has been resorting to code phrases, like raising the bogeyman of a “minority president” to criticize the polling leaders.
Mr. Binay and Mr. Duterte, however, just have to look back at presidential elections and realize this unvarnished and unbroken truth. The investing class sways the Top 1 percent and alienates the 99 percent.
The more the investing class move against them, the more they get the support from the 99 percent.