Friday, May 2, 2014

Jejomar Binay leads prexy bets--the question is--is he the one, really?

Photo politics in the works?
The fifth choice shaking the hands of the first choice. The photo taken by Senator Loren Legarda of Mar Roxas shaking the hand of Vice president Jejomar Binay is going the rounds. Of course, pro-Binay supporters would say, that's an early concession made by Mar. Is Mar Roxas giving up the ghost this early? Others who know their politics say that photo, though it was of no malice on the part of the "photographer" Loren, tries to picture Mar as the "dominant" of the two. Take a look at how Mar shook the hand of Binay. Mar's big hands covered those of Binay's. Likewise, notice how tall Mar is in relation to Binay. What that picture tries to convey is that Mar looks more presidential than the 5'5 tall Binay.

And notice how Mar patted the vice president in the back as if to say that he will be safe in the event that he, Mar, takes the top plum. This photo expresses too many glaring differences.

If you ask me, this photo shows how 2016 will eventually turn out. Observers should take 2010 as a lesson in electoral politics---big political machines are no match to the underdog.

Binay won on the strength of his own grassroots machinery plus those of Erap's. Villar tried to pull the rug under Erap and transpose it in his own Nacionalista party. He failed.

Binay meanwhile, is a safe bet, safer than Loren and of Mar's who are perceived publicly as bets of the ilustrados. Being the underdog, it is expected that voters will go with Binay.

However, take note that Binay won via the slimmest of margins. Yes, he appears and is considered strong now. Yet, lessons in History should be taken into consideration by people who want Binay to win--that Binay's positive gains in the polls should not be allowed to slid down the drain. This happened to many people already---De Venecia and Villar. They were very strong in pre-election surveys yet lost in a very bad way come election time. Philippine Agenda has a very good take on this see link.

Good if Binay sustains his lead. Good if Binay maintains his advance against his present political rivals. Binay as president is the best choice, since he is expected to maintain the present policies of the Aquino administration with some modifications.

The bad thing now, politically, is no one among those who are being bruited about as Binay's rivals deserve the people's trust.

Grace Poe who is a far second, is not keen on taking this role this early. Her feat in 2010 is no fluke. Yet, let's admit it that those votes were meant to really be impressive since voters felt that they should give her their support to vindicate their idol, former actor and presidentiable, Fernando Poe Jr. Poe as president is something which will take a different outcome since Pinoy voters are traditionalists. It is easy to defeat Poe in propaganda.

Escudero's chances at the presidency is slim since his rivals already discovered a clink in his political armor. Yes, his relationship with Heart is something being talked about yet it will not be enough to propel him to victory. Fact is, it might even be a factor in his defeat.

That 13 million votes of Bongbong Marcos inspite of the existence of the Yellow Army and the strength and power of the anti-Marcos forces did not stop him from getting into the winning circle. Yes, those votes were far less than Poe's but it shows how strong the Marcos political brand still is. This also reflects a yearning need among members of the underbelly of Philippine society of the concept of "order" which represented the Marcos brand name.

There are talks about a "dark horse" emerging from the sidelines. Among the present crop of political personalities in our midst, who will be that "dark horse"? Some say, its Panfilo "Ping" Lacson. There are talks that Lacson will gun for the Liberal party presidential nomination, something which I believe is more of a suicide for the party rather than an assurance of victory.

It would take a gargantuan leap for anyone to erase those unsavory things which stuck to Lacson's political brand name. Yes, like Pnoy, Lacson was a senator. Yes, there is still a tight loyal base to support him should he jump into the bandwagon. However, Lacson has a klink in his armor, something which is very easy to expose and for the public to believe in.

Another dark horse is Miriam Defensor-Santiago who continues to do the campus rounds to entertain the young college students with her witticisms. But, for serious voters, that is about it. They are entertained by Santiago's speeches and antics, but will it be enough to consider her as a serious presidential bet? Some people say yes. Most would probably disagree. Santiago suffers from a Pichay disease---highly popular yet greatly detested, even, untrusted. As what veteran political analysts know, popularity is just secondary, even a tertiary consideration. Voters might remember your name but it does not necessarily follow that they will vote for you. I don't know how high or low Santiago's voter conversion is, but if Santiago is thinking of reprising her 1998 bid, that is far off. Would you vote for someone whom people think as some sort of a moon lover?

I agree with UP professor Clarita Carlos---the possibility of a dark horse getting the top plum is there. The obvious question is---who, then, is this dark horse?

A dark horse is someone who is popular yes, and is now involved in the political game. A dark horse who will just appear out of nowhere and declare himself as a strong bet for the presidency will surely learn a bitter lesson from the very start.

These people are the only ones left to be considered "dark horses"---Robredo widow, a young Congressman like Miro Quimbo, or religious leaders, sans Eddie Villanueva who already suffered humiliating defeats already only a thick skinned schizo would ever think of telling him to again jump into the fires of politics, or a Manny Pacquiao. Pacquiao for president? Possible but highly unlikely. The Filipino People are still not as desperate as others think they are.