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Feb 04th
Home Sections Politics Examining the "Masa" Voters of the Philippines
Examining the "Masa" Voters of the Philippines PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - Politics
Wednesday, 11 April 2007 01:37
There seems to be a (mis)conception that elections in the Philippines are determined by the so-called "Masa" voters. Do the ordinary folks, "the Masa," decide elections? Can the "Masa" voters be influenced by the traditional politicians, the landlords, the employers and even by their kin who are working abroad?

In the presidential election of 1998, then Vice President Joseph Estrada was elected as President with only 35% of the votes cast. If the voters belonging to the "Masa," as some pundits say compose about 70% of the total number of voters, then VP Erap got only 50% of the "Masa" votes -- on the assumption that no intelligent voter cast a ballot for him.

The 1998 election proved my contention that perhaps more than half of the "Masa" votes are influenced by their employers, their landlord and/or their kin abroad who are sending them balikbayan boxes full of goodies or money.

It is also not logical to compare Fernando Poe, Jr., with Joseph Estrada because Erap had a track record in politics before he ran for President. Mr. Estrada was a vice mayor and mayor (for several terms) in San Juan, Rizal; then he was elected in 1986 for a six-year term as senator; then he was elected as vice president in 1992.

Even in 1992, if only there was one single Cebuano candidate for vice president, Mr. Estrada would have lost. The second and third placers were both Cebuanos (Messrs. Fernan and Lito Osmena) and their combined votes totaled more than one-million two-hundred-thousand votes over those cast for Mr. Estrada.

And here is another comparison between Messrs. Estrada and Poe. When the so-called "Movie Workers Welfare Fund" (MOWELFUND) was established in the 1970s, the principal mover was Joseph Estrada. Fernando Poe, Jr., was a passive member of MOWELFUND. He (Poe) was not even one of the incorporators or organizers of the fund. Mr. Estrada, therefore, has a track record in organization skills and influencing popular movements. It was apparent that the "Masa" supported more Mr. Estrada in the 1998 election than Mr. Poe in the 2004 election.

There are pundits who say that the actual "deciding votes" are the more than 8.0-million Overseas Filipinos. While only some 300,000 Overseas Filipinos managed to register, if one-million of them can influence 10 voters in their respective barangays or hometowns, then theoretically they can "control" 10.0-million votes. And remember that pundits say that 30% of the registered voters are the intelligent electors in the country.

Being a movie star, and a super star at that, does not mean an automatic win in an election. Nora Aunor lost in 2001 when she ran for governor of Camarines Sur and she was supported by President Arroyo, then Education Sec. Raul Roco of Naga City and several other political clans such as the Fuentebellas and the Alfelors in the province.

Bert "Tawa" Marcelo lost when he was a candidate for governor of Bulacan. As in Camarines Sur, the people of Bulacan preferred a candidate more qualified than a movie star. In short, the Filipino voters -- at least in Camarines Sur and in Bulacan -- proved that they are becoming more intelligent and responsible people.

What say you, readers? # # #

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Last Updated on Monday, 23 April 2007 07:44

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If a man will begin with certainties,he shall end with doubts;but if he will be content to begin with doubts,he shall end in certainties.-- Sir Francis Bacon, 1561-1626