Why do some people even bother to run?

The Philippines will hold its own mid-term elections next year not unlike the US which will have its own mid-term polls next month. The big difference is that while the majority of candidates who run for public office in the US have some qualifications, the same cannot be said of their Filipino counterparts.

Election season officially began in the Philippines this week when the Commission on Elections opened the floodgates allowing candidates of all stripe and color to file their Certificates of Candidacy (CoC).

Some bets are running despite having little to no chance of winning. Only they and their immediate families and perhaps some very close friends believe they have a ghost of a chance of garnering a sufficient number of votes to be declared winner. Those who do not win will always claim that 1) they were cheated, 2) the odds were stacked against them, and 3) the electorate made a grievous error in not giving him or her their precious vote.

Of course, it’s harder to win a one-on-one contest for a certain post than it is to emerge victorious for posts where there are many possible winners.

One-on-one, incidentally, is not always the case when several candidates believe they can win in a small field.

Take Manila, for example. Erap Estrada wants to win a third and final term before finally, mercifully retiring. He will again face Alfredo Lim, who lost to Estrada by the slimmest of margins the last time they had a mano-a-mano. But the two golden oldies will be going against Isko Moreno, a former actor who became vice mayor who then ran for senator but lost.

A former Manila mayor was originally planning on also running, but decided against it because he does not have the funds to burn to entice voters to give him a second look. That former mayor will instead run for congress.

Just how borderline insane Philippine politics is can be gleaned by the reported plan of former Makati mayor JunjunBinay to run against his sister Abigail, the incumbent mayor of the city. Junjun was already convicted by the Sandiganbayan of plunder, but the decision is on appeal. This allows the son of the former vice president to run.

As a resident of Makati, I can’t help but be disappointed that I have no other choice for mayor but a candidate named Binay. Does this mean that the richest city in the country has a shortage of leaders willing to serve?

The big race is actually for the Senate, where voters have to elect 12 lawmakers. Whether they did a good job in the past is irrelevant, but the sure winners are incumbent female senators running for reelection.

Some has-beens are bent on making a comeback, including the likes of LitoLapid and Jinggoy Estrada. One was notorious for being way out of his league when he was a senator, while the other is still incarcerated because there is strong evidence he committed plunder. Insane enough for you, folks?

Other wannabe lawmakers include Mocha Uson and Harry Roque, who originally wanted to run for senator but who opted to run as party list representatives instead. The former has no credentials to speak of, but she could pull of an unsurprising win, while the latter was all but booted out of the Duterte Cabinet but who shamelessly still seeks the president’s support for his candidacy.

Meanwhile, the special assistant to the president, Bong Go, dramatically filed his CoC this week, but not before coming out of the cathedral across the Comelec office with tears in his eyes. This, after he had said on multiple occasions that he was not running. Maybe God told him to run?

He should tell that to the Marines, be they US or Philippine. In fact, Go has been campaigning – illegally, to be sure – for the past many months.  The guy has posters and tarps all over the country. Anywhere there’s a public works project, you can count on a Bong Go poster being visible.

His number one campaigner is the president, no less, and this may mean that he has at least a fighting chance of making it.

The one person who even her enemies concede will win should she run for any post is Kris Aquino. It was rumored that the actress-TV host was interested in running either for senator or mayor of Quezon City. Sad to say, she is currently facing a serious health issue so she will not run. Maybe next time, huh?

This early, we can predict that the 2019 elections will be a mess.