[OPINION] What you need to know this election day

This is a #PHVote newsletter sent to subscribers early morning of May 13, 2019.

I’m Glenda Gloria, managing editor of Rappler. I usually send you my newsletters, titled “Beyond the Spin,” on Tuesdays, but I’m writing to you now about the midterm elections today, May 13.

Are you ready for it and for what it will bring? 

The Rappler newsroom has been up since 4 am to give you live updates from in and out of the precincts. Check our live blog here.

Last Sunday, at least 3 friends and relatives told me they did not yet have a complete senatorial lineup and if I could recommend a few candidates. I found myself blasting some names to them. 

Their situation is not unique. As late as last week, when Pulse Asia held its last senatorial survey, only 3 in 10 registered voters had a complete slate of 12 candidates. It didn’t help that the two main opposing camps in one of the most polarized midterm races in the Philippines don’t have the exact 12 candidates.

The Sara Duterte-run Hugpong ng Pagbabago is endorsing 13 senatorial bets, while the ruling PDP-Laban only has 5. (READ: Boon or bane? When Sara’s politics departs from her father’s)

From those two Duterte-allied slates, President Rodrigo Duterte is only vigorously actively campaigning for 3.

The opposition, meanwhile, has 8 candidates, Otso Diretso. Their diehards are bent on leaving the 4 bottom slots vacant.

It is those blank spaces at the bottom of a ballot where “miracles” can happen and which no survey could capture – and I mean that both in a benign and naughty way.

The battle for the last 6 senatorial slots will be a see-saw that will keep everyone on edge tonight. (Check our survey tracker here.) 

But you won’t miss a bit – just stay with our results page for the senatorial race here.

Real-time results

Partial, unofficial results should be available as early as within the next hour after voting precincts close at 6 pm on Monday.

Rappler will bring the results to you real-time via this page, which you shouldbookmark here.

Our team at the Pope Pius Catholic Center in Manila, where the Comelec’s transparency server is based, will make sure to provide you the vote count from the senatorial, congressional, party list, and all local races down to the councilor level.

Check this page where we map the results from local contests.

To recall, the first surge of votes of about 5 million for the vice presidential race in 2016 came between 6:30 pm and 6:40 pm on Election Day. Unlike today, precincts closed earlier in the May 2016 polls – at 5 pm. 

Will Duterte base deliver?

We reviewed the provinces that gave Duterte overwhelming victory in 2016. Can these places deliver again for the President’s chosen candidates? 

Review the list now and compare it later with what you see in our results pages. 

Will trapos dominate the party list system?

We also have a separate page for the party-list race.

Initially representing marginalized sectors, the party list system in these elections may yet completely go to traditional politicians and parties. 

Rappler found that at least 46 party-list groups participating in today’s polls have at least one nominee who is linked to a political clan or a powerful figurein the country. In total, there are at least 65 nominees who are either members of powerful political families, have links to either a government official (incumbent and former), or have a relative also running for office.

Broken system

This should no longer surprise us. The Philippine party system, after all, is a farce.

We reported that out of the 197 members of the House who are running for reelection or for another position, for example, at least 127 have already switched parties. Of the 73 governors running for a new term or seeking a new post, 50 of them changed parties too. 

A bigger House

Yet, the goods keep on coming.

The House of Representatives, in fact, will be a bit bigger after today, with the entry of 5 additional lawmakers representing new congressional districts. Their election will increase the total number of district representatives to 243.

It will be a breeze though for at least 36 congressional candidates, because they’re running unopposed. In fact, over 500 candidates who are running unopposed, including 8 for governor and 14 for vice governor. 

Perhaps the most famous unopposed candidate would have to be the third-generation Marcos: Matthew Marcos Manotoc, son of senatorial candidate Imee Marcos who is running unopposed for governor of Ilocos Norte following the withdrawal from the race of Rudy Fariñas

Buying votes

Beyond the issue of clannish politics, this year’s polls have put vote-buying to an entirely new level. 

Reports we’ve received from various provinces show incidents of cash being handed out to voters in the last few days – whether in the guarded homes of candidates or in open areas such as basketball courts.

We all know what happened Sunday night in Quezon City: no less than mayoral bet Bingbong Crisologo was arrested for allegedly obstructing the arrest of supporters who were accused of giving out money to voters.

Various police arrests have been made in other areas – from Makati to Cavite to Iloilo to Quezon. Check our running update here.

So will there still be surprises today? (Recommended read: Philippines holds midterm polls seen as final step in Duterte consolidation)

Definitely. The optimists among us want to wake up tomorrow morning pleasantly surprised with the results. The forlorn are bracing for a surprise they’d rather not wake up up to.

How about you? – Rappler.com 

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