For Pinoy netizens, political party doesn't really matter

Kim Arveen Patria
Kim Arveen Patria
Yahoo! Southeast Asia Newsroom

Candidates' parties will not matter much to Filipino netizens who will cast their votes during the national and local elections May 13, a Yahoo! poll showed.

About 62 percent (16,553) of the 26,697 respondents in the poll posted online April 29 to May 6 said they don't consider parties a factor in deciding whom to for.

On the other hand, only 25 percent (6,631) of respondents said a candidate's party matters to them, while 13 percent said they don't care.

Pinoys' tendency to vote on a personality basis reflects "the weak political party system in the Philippines," political analyst Ramon Casiple said in an analysis.

Filipinos, he said, are more inclined to look into candidates' popularity, endorsers, personal relationship with them and positions on issues they deem important.

"Nowhere in this list is a voter's recognition of the candidate’s political party platform and program," Casiple said further.

This weak political party system is particularly evident in the Senate race, which is currently dominated by bets under the two so-called major coalitions.

A Liberal Party-led coalition, which includes candidates from the Nacionalista Party and the Nationalist People's Coalition, enjoys Malacanang support.

The administration coalition early this year dubbed itself "Team PNoy," after its leader and "endorser", President Benigno Aquino III.

Its senatorial bets include former Las Pinas Rep. Cynthia Villar, whose husband, Sen. Manny Villar, ran against Aquino in the 2010 presidential race.

Another Aquino rival, former Sen. Jamby Madrigal, is also on in the Team PNoy slate.

Team PNoy candidates clash with bets from the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), formed between Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) and Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).

UNA is headed by former President Joseph Estrada, Vice President Jejomar Binay and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.

Proof of blurring party lines is how Team PNoy and UNA at the onset of the election season shared three so-called "common candidates."

These were re-electionist senators Loren Legarda and Chiz Escudero, as well as former Movie and Television Review and Classification Board chief Grace Poe-Llamanzares.

UNA has however decided to drop their support for the three early in the campaign period, over their apparent inclination to join Team PNoy sorties.

Another overlap between Team PNoy and UNA is Senator Koko Pimentel, who used to head PDP-Laban but who is now running under Team PNoy.

Pimentel refused to run under the UNA slate with his rival, former Senator Migz Zubiri, whom he accused of benefiting from electoral fraud in 2007.