by Javi Vilchez, Managing Editor
Last Sunday, May 5th, UPSE Sidhi released the results of a survey conducted regarding the candidate preferences of the UP School of Economics’ student body in preparation for the upcoming May 2019 senatorial elections. The survey accepted 151 responses in the span of 2 weeks, reaching 40% of the total undergraduate population.
The top 14 candidates were ranked as follows:
1. Chel Diokno: 96.7% (146 votes)
2. Samira Gutoc: 89.6% (135 votes)
3. Neri Colmenares: 83.4% (126 votes)
4. Pilo Hilbay: 79.5% (120 votes)
5. Bam Aquino: 74.2% (112 votes)
6. Mar Roxas: 70.9% (100 votes)
7. Ka Leody de Guzman: 64.2% (97 votes)
8. Erin Tañada: 55% (83 votes)
9. Gary Alejano: 45% (68 votes)
10. Romy Macalintal: 35.1% (53 votes)
11. Grace Poe: 34.4% (52 votes)
12. Nancy Binay: 19.2% (29 votes)
13. Serge Osmeña: 17.9% (27 votes)
14. Doc Willie Ong: 11.3% (17 votes)
The survey also asked three accompanying questions:
1. Are you a first time voter?
2. Are you a registered voter?
3. Which slate/political party appeals to you the most?
The survey revealed that out of the sample of 151 UPSE students, 74% were registered voters and 65% are going to be first-time voters in the upcoming senatorial elections. In regards to the poll concerning political parties, the most popular slate among UPSE students was Otso Diretso-- a coalition of the Liberal Party, Aksyon Demokratiko, the Magdalo Partylist, and other opposition groups. Otso Diretso garnered 115 votes, dominating with 78.8% of the vote.
Otso Diretso was followed by 20 votes for the Labor Win coalition, spearheaded by poll 3rd-placer human rights lawyer Neri Colmenares and 7th-seeded union activist Ka Leody de Guzman. The third highest vote getter from Labor Win amongst UPSE students was National Confederation of Labor president Ernesto Arellano-- who was tied with former senator Pia Cayetano at 15th place with 16 votes apiece.
“Feminist” activist and Nacionalista Party bet Pia Cayetano was the highest-ranking candidate from the pro-administration coalition Hugpong Ng Pagbabago-- followed by current senators Sonny Angara with 12 votes, Cynthia Villar with 7 votes, and JV Ejercito with 5 votes. Angara, Cayetano, and Villar remain consistently in the top 5 slots in nationwide surveys conducted by SWS and Pulse Asia while Ejercito continues to remain just outside the top 15.
While the pro-administration HNP slate garnered only one vote of confidence from those polled, 19 students said they preferred voting for independent senatorial bets such as Grace Poe, Serge Osmeña, Doc Willie Ong, and Lito Lapid. The results of the slate poll can be found here:
Among individual candidates, it was Otso Diretso’s human rights lawyer Chel Diokno who finished with a strong 146/151 votes-- earning 97% of the vote. Diokno’s meteoric rise in popularity from 37th (January, 2019) to 21-25th in the latest nationwide polls-- especially among the youth-- can be attributed to his strong and vocal anti-administration online presence, his fearless disposition in debates (especially his renown one-on-one debate with Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos, daughter of the president who unlawfully imprisoned his father), his endearing wit, and his lifelong legacy of pro-poor service including his leadership of the Free Legal Assistance Group and the De La Salle University College of Law.
The runner up was Otso Diretso’s Marawi rehabilitation activist Samira Gutoc. Known for her iconic manner of speech and track record of defending human rights, Gutoc garnered 89% of the vote in UPSE. Gutoc herself was once a student of the UP School of Economics before transferring to the UP College of Mass Communication. Following Gutoc were two accomplished human rights lawyers, Labor Win’s Neri Colmenares and Otso Diretso’s Pilo Hilbay. Colmenares has gained cult status as a staunch human rights defender, spearheading prosecutions against former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and former Chief Justice Renato Corona. Hilbay, on the other hand, gained acclaim for his contributions as Solicitor General of the Philippines under the Aquino administration, playing a key role in the internationally-lauded Philippines vs. China which resulted in a massive victory for the Philippines at the Permanent Court of Arbitration-- nullifying all China’s claims in the West Philippine Sea. Both Colmenares and Hilbay have had stints lecturing in the UP College of Law-- with Hilbay even being the topnotcher of the 1999 Philippine Bar Examination.
The top four candidates preferred by UPSE students are all involved in significant human rights activism and public service and none of them come from currently-entrenched political dynasties. All four of them have received law degrees-- Diokno from Northern Illinois University, Gutoc from Arellano University, and Colmenares and Hilbay both from the UP College of Law. Of the four, only Colmenares did not take up his undergraduate studies in UP Diliman-- hailing from San Beda College Manila.
The next two spots in UPSE’s Magic 12 were taken by Liberal Party stalwarts Bam Aquino and Mar Roxas. With exemplary legislative track records and the popular surnames to boot, Aquino and Roxas however did not perform as well as their Otso Diretso teammates in UPSE surveys. They also have not been as vocally opposed to the Duterte administration as the likes of Diokno, Gutoc, and Hilbay. They garnered 74% and 70% of the vote, respectively.
The seventh spot went to an unlikely source, especially in UPSE-- Labor Win’s Ka Leody De Guzman. Ka Leody’s viral and witty online presence, his progressive views on controversial issues, and his staunch opposition to the current administration have made him a surprising fixture in university polls across the country-- securing solid youth support. During the campaign, he has visited the UP School of Economics twice-- once at the invitation of the UP School of Economics Student Council-- to discuss labor issues such as contractualization.
The eighth through tenth spots continued to be held by Otso Diretso candidates including LP’s former Deputy House Speaker Erin Tañada, Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano, and Vice President Leni Robredo’s election lawyer Romy Macalintal. While vocal members of the opposition, Alejano and Macalintal have been known to take more conservative stances on key issues such as LGBTQ+ rights, marijuana legalization, and divorce-- the probable source for their less popular standing among progressive youths.
The 11th slot was held by consistent nationwide topnotcher Grace Poe. The unaffiliated Poe is someone both members of the pro-admin coalition and opposition openly support, and her centrist opinions on key issues that do not indicate her allegiance to any clear-cut party or ideology have been both her bailiwick and her downfall. She finished with 52 votes.
The 12th slot went to current senator Nancy Binay, who gained popularity among the opposition for her comments slamming known Duterte associates such as senatorial candidate Bong Go and congressional candidate Mocha Uson. Binay also notably chose to abstain during the votation for the second extension of Martial Law in Mindanao. She finished with 29 votes.
The 13th and 14th slots went to independent bets Serge Osmeña and Doc Willie Ong. A former three-term senator, Osmeña was imprisoned during Martial Law and served as Director for Movement for a Free Philippines. Doc Willie Ong, a social media sensation with over 10 million Facebook followers, has turned his virtual success into a visibly strong campaign centered on reforms in public health. Both Osmeña and Ong have registered in the 15th to 20th spots in nationwide surveys. Their unpopularity in UPSE can be attributed to their selective support for the Duterte administration-- including controversial policies such as the death penalty, the lowering of the minimum age of criminal responsibility, and the government’s inaction in asserting claim over the West Philippine Sea.
While the top ten slots are dominated by Otso Diretso and Labor Win, the 10th to 14th slots are dominated by “independents”. This is in line with results of the slate survey which ranked Otso Diretso first, Labor Win second, and independent bets third.
Hugpong Ng Pagbabago candidates fared poorly in the UP School of Economics, going against what SWS and Pulse Asia surveys project as the nationwide pulse. Despite all placing in the nationwide Magic 12 at one point or another in various surveys throughout the campaign, candidates including former PNP chief Bato dela Rosa, veteran politician Juan Ponce Enrile, former senator Jinggoy Estrada, presidential aide Bong Go, and former MMDA Chairperson Francis Tolentino each secured one vote in UPSE. Other Duterte-endorsed candidates including folk singer Freddie Aguilar, Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos, and former actor Bong Revilla each failed to secure a single vote in UPSE.
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UPSE SIDHI, existing both as an independent student organization and as the official student publication of the UP School of Economics, stands as an advocate for critical analysis and a catalyst for freedom of expression in the name of pursuing truth, service, honor, and excellence.