PNoy Factor in 2013 Elections

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    Philippines' oldest artworks in danger of disappearing

    AFP News
    Philippines' oldest artworks in danger of disappearing

    The 127 engravings of people, animals and geometric shapes are the Southeast Asian nation's oldest known artworks, but encroaching urbanisation, vandals and the ravages of nature are growing threats. The artworks have been declared a national treasure, regarded as the best proof that relatively sophisticated societies existed in the Philippines in the Stone Age. "They show that in ancient times, the Philippines did have a complex culture. Museum scientists believe the carvings date back to …

  • Hong Kong, Philippines end emotional hostage row

    Hong Kong, Philippines end emotional hostage row

    AFP News
    Hong Kong, Philippines end emotional hostage row

    Hong Kong and the Philippines announced Wednesday they had resolved an enduring and deeply emotional row over a deadly hostage crisis, allowing soured diplomatic relations to return to normal. The breakthrough came after a deal was struck on the most sensitive issues of compensation to the victims of the tragedy, which saw eight tourists from Hong Kong killed following a bus hijacking in Manila in 2010, as well as an apology. "The resolution of the incident enables the normalisation of the …

  • Philippines arrests extremist in Malaysia resort kidnapping

    Philippines arrests extremist in Malaysia resort kidnapping

    AFP News
    Philippines arrests extremist in Malaysia resort kidnapping

    Philippine forces on Wednesday arrested a Muslim extremist believed to have taken part in the kidnapping of 21 people from a Malaysian resort in 2000, a senior commander said. Such cross-border kidnappings have become more common recently with militants from the lawless southern Philippines travelling to nearby Malaysia, where there are many dive resorts popular with foreign tourists. Nabil Talahi Idjiran, a member of the Abu Sayyaf group who took part in one such raid on Malaysia's Sipadan …

  • Business Highlights

    Associated Press

    ___ Apple increases stock buyback, raises dividend Apple Inc. plans to buy back an additional $30 billion of its stock and raise its quarterly dividend by 8 percent amid a slowdown in revenue growth. The ... …

  • NC fines state fair ride operators over injuries

    Associated Press

    RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina regulators have fined thrill ride operators more than $114,000 after a mishap at the 2013 state fair that left five people injured, three of them critically. …

By Ramon Casiple for Yahoo! Southeast Asia

The midterm elections traditionally are a preserve of the incumbent president. Conventional political wisdom says that the sitting president—using government resources and the power of his or her powerful position—decides, in many cases, the outcome of senatorial and local elections. The 2013 national, local, and ARMM elections are no different.

Of course, the 2007 national and local elections deviated from this conventional wisdom. Then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was at the abyss of her popularity and the most of her endorsed senatorial candidates, including Miguel Zubiri, lost. Her endorsement then was seen as a kiss of death.

We have now an exactly opposite situation. President "Noynoy" Aquino enjoys stratospheric ratings in the surveys, with almost four out of five Filipinos satisfied with his performance in implementing his promised anti-corruption and anti-poverty reform agenda. He enters the 2013 election period with an unprecedented endorsement power.

His personal participation in the Liberal Party senatorial slate selection process has changed the process as well as the landscape of the senatorial contest itself. It has also led to certain changes in the local political contests.

The impact of the high presidential rating is nowhere more manifested than in the dearth of opposition candidates in almost all levels of electoral contests. The only open opposition to the Aquino ruling coalition are candidates aligned with former president Macapagal-Arroyo.

All others have declared or affirmed their support to President Aquino.

The 2013 elections will not be a referendum on the performance of the Aquino administration.  Does this mean that there is no more opposition? Of course not; there are plenty of them. Aside from the members and allies of the former GMA administration, there are the extremists of the Right and Left who are perennial critics and opponents of all post-Marcos democratic regimes. Within the ruling coalition itself, there are those who have their own grievances against Aquino but are too intimidated to come out in the open and possibly lose their privileges.

The high presidential rating and the ineffective opposition opens the window for an unprecedented presidential influence in the 2013 elections. In particular, those who are seen by the voters as adhering or supporting the Aquino administration's "matuwid na daan" (straight road) vision and program will enjoy the advantage. Those whom the president will personally endorse will also have the advantage.

For all candidates who matter, at least a part of the route to electoral victory goes through the Jose P. Laurel St. in San Miguel, Manila.

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

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