Monday, June 7, 2010

New Philippine president to be proclaimed by Wednesday: Roxas loses vote for counting null votes

The joint Congressional Canvassing Committee chaired by Senate president Juan Ponce-Enrile and Speaker Prospero Nograles Jr. have just rendered a decision, denying the motion of the camp of Vice Presidential candidate Mar Roxas for the committee to re-examine the null votes in the last polls. The lawyer of Roxas cited the unusual number of null or "stray" votes, which stands at 3 million, as basis for his motion. Joey Tenafrancia, counsel of Roxas, maintains the position that these stray votes should be examined since allegations of electoral fraud cropped up. There is a possibility that these votes were actually cast in favor of Roxas. 

On the part of the Binay camp, Sandra Coronel correctly pointed out that the motions filed by the Roxas camp are clearly misplaced, since the proper venue for such "allegations" should not be filed before the committee; rather, the proper venue should be the Presidential Electoral Tribunal. Likewise, it is an elementary principle in election law, that straw or null votes are not to be counted. Questions should definitely be addressed before the proper venue, not before the canvassing committee. 

With that, ends, I think, the attempts of the Roxas camp to use the canvassing committee as venue to ventilate their "observations" on the last polls. With their motions denied, the only recourse left is for the party to file their corresponding protest actions before the presidential tribunal. If they plan to do so, then, this will allow the canvassing committee to finally proclaim the winning presidential and vice presidential candidates by Wednesday. 

Now, will we see the last of Mar Roxas? I clearly doubt it. With Noynoy and the Liberals in power, Roxas has the chance to be the country's kingmaker, acting and moving silently above the political waters. 

Roxas has a bright future ahead of him. His loss will not deter him from seeking a higher position six years from now, unlike Senator Loren Legarda, who, I think, should throw in the towel and accept the people's mandate that she will definitely not be president nor vice president even by 2016. 

If we assess the current political situation, Roxas still has three more years to go before the mid-term elections of 2013. 2013 is most crucial for Roxas and Escudero for that matter, and even Binay, who remains as a political darkhorse come 2016.

Fact is, it may even be beneficial for Roxas to lose this elections and win by 2016. Let me state my analysis.

If Roxas concedes the fight tomorrow, he will have at least a year to map out his political future for the next three to six years. One of the things he needs to do is review what went wrong and correct it as soon as possible. 

I think he needs to revamp his campaign team and try to form a team that will truly propel him to electoral victory come 2016. 

This 2010 elections just shows you that there's nothing more important than grassroots organization if winning the polls is concerned. Roxas should concentrate on that.

Fact is, if Roxas intends to win by 2016, he must probably get the DILG portfolio. Roxas should not be given the DTI post again. 

Binay won this elections because of the enormous grassroots organization he successfully established through the years. I do not believe that he cheated. I do not believe that there was electronic Garci that happened in the national level, simply on account that it would entail a humongous logistical operation that will definitely exceed his expenses without a clear result. 

Roxas should also ensure that Escudero loses the 2013 re-election bid, to neutralize him for the presidential polls come 2016. There are only three contenders for the presidency strong enough to clinch a win: Roxas, Binay and Escudero. Villar, it seems, is simply not cut out for the presidency.

He must be very careful in his next steps because that will determine his winnability come 2016. 

Now, on Binay's win...

Clearly, this establishes Binay as the successor of former president Joseph Estrada. His win just shows that he already controls and commands respect over the large organization that Estrada had established throughout his career. With Estrada's eventual retirement from politics, it is now clear that Binay is the "big boss" so to speak. He now stands to replicate the path which Estrada took in 1998.

The only question is---how strong his relations with the Escudero camp is and how significant will his role be in the Aquino administration. 

Estrada was given a pro-active role in the Ramos administration, paving the way for him to build his campaign organization. Even as Vice president, Estrada was given the title "anti-crime czar", which gave him enormous powers and a huge budget.

Now, it is not clear what role Binay will serve under the Aquino administration. Surely, Noynoy will not give him the DILG portfolio, because if he does, then, it shows that he favors Binay over his bosom buddy, Mar Roxas. The DILG portfolio is crucial.

That remains a very serious problem for Binay. He could be put in a freezer and given crumbs. Or he can use his Cojuangco connections and lobby for an important role in the Aquino administration. His enemies will try to marginalize him.