By Ricky Rivera
In the summer of 2013, three public personalities came out and announced the possible victory in the political arena of their new alliance. Senate president Juan Ponce Enrile, former president Joseph “Erap” Estrada and Makati mayor Jejomar Binay went out and declared themselves the “Three Kings”.
A year later, this new group of so-called political royalties was practically wiped out in the political scene. Enrile is now in jail, Binay is facing numerous accusations of graft and corruption while Erap now faces possible ouster from his post as Manila mayor. Binay has since declared himself independent of his former political party, the PDP-Laban while Enrile has since left the United Nationalist Alliance which he joined alongside his good friend, Erap Estrada.
Rumors are swirling that Erap may be ousted from his post this January the minute a Supreme Court decision comes out which disqualifies him from the post. Sources say, the decision came from the case filed by defeated mayoral candidate Alfredo Lim, a former Erap political ally. Lim argued that Erap’s “pardon” attaches a caveat of not participating in any electoral exercise.
If this happens, then its 2001 again for Erap, who was ousted in a January mutiny, 13 years ago. 13, according to close friends of Erap, is really a bad number for the former president who is also reputed to be a strong believer of numerology.
What happens to the “opposition” if Erap loses his post and the only “king” left is Vice president Jejomar Binay?
Speculations are rife that the “Powers-that-be” are likewise planning, nay already salivating, of seeing Binay behind bars prior to 2016. The anti-Binay camp is silent, probably creating and calculating their next moves. What is most certain is that this group will try and get Binay come February, shortly after the Papal visit and maneuver to cause the filing of a criminal case against the vice president come April. A criminal case will surely prevent Binay from running in 2016. Failure to do this means Binay running for the presidential post and possibly snatching the top post if he runs against Poe.
Poe, according to several sources, is being courted actively by the President himself. There is a possibility that Pnoy will repeat what his mother did in 1992---announce his support for Mar Roxas and then shifting it to Poe, if the senator throws her hat unto the political ring.
The problem with a Poe candidacy is her lack of grassroots machinery. Remember that in 2010, Poe ran using Chiz Escudero’s network. If Poe runs, surely Escudero will definitely be not far behind. Is the administration pushing for a Poe-Escudero tandem? The possibility is not impossible. With Escudero’s vaulted grassroots machinery paired with the administration’s and financed by fat bonuses from the 2015 national budget, the win is as sure as day.
What then happens to Mar, whom sources say, considers the 2016 as his key ticket towards his supposed “destiny”—that of the presidency?
Hard core Liberals will surely push Mar to declare his candidacy. He will run with a candidate from the Nacionalista Party, possibly either Alan Peter Cayetano or Antonio Trillianes IV. Or if Mar’s ratings continue its slide, the NP may even consider fielding their own candidate, which, most likely, would be their president, former senator Manny Villar. More on this later.
What is most certain is that a Poe candidacy is like a monkey wrench thrown at the administration party. Many Liberals are thinking of pairing Mar with Poe (Roxas-Poe tandem or RP Team), which some of Poe’s close advisers would probably agree. Running for the vice-presidential post is Poe’s safest bet. For one, Poe is a sure winner, a vice presidential run is not as costly as a presidential and this is a possible “win-win” solution.
Why is it that the administration is betting for a Poe? One, many members of the Aquino administration are banking on her support post-Aquino. Surely the president does not want to suffer the same fate as that of Gloria’s.
Aquino and his cabinet members feel safe with Poe which they feel will not fight their interests post-Noynoy. They don’t feel the same way with Binay. The on-going power struggle between the Binay faction which is composed of several groups closely allied with the Aquino family and those of the Hyatt 10 or Balai group has already turned personal and surely, the Balai group will definitely not allow themselves to be tagged or persecuted after Noynoy.
Poe is a logical choice because she appears to be not a real political threat, much the same way, political bigwigs perceived Noli de Castro, who won the vice presidential post inspite of being connected with former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Yes, Poe is popular but she does not have real power or real weight as a political player. Anytime, Poe can be demolished by her enemies through accusations of corruption. Poe knows that the formula that worked to demolish Loren Legarda applies even to her. She cannot forever hide behind the contrived belief that she is a Poe—a daughter of former presidentiable Fernando Poe Jr. There will be a time when her name will be disassociated with the good name of her surrogate father and eventually cause her downfall in the political arena.
With Poe as a potential administration candidate paired with Roxas, there is a strong chance of winning the presidency once more for the true beneficiaries of the Tuwid na daan—the political families which back this administration and have consolidated their political and economic bases to perpetuate their hold unto the economy and the political state.