Saturday, January 16, 2016

Marcos Presidency looms big in May 2016

We may not know it but we may probably wake up on May 10, with Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. as president of this country. And if this happens, this may yet be the biggest indictment of what the people did in EDSA thirty years ago.

Fact 1---we are so engrossed with the presidential campaign runs of at least four big ones that we forget the close fights happening at the vice presidential race. Based on the latest Social Weather Stations, Bongbong is now inching closer to the top spot now being occupied by Chiz Escudero, the son of the agrarian minister of Bongbong's father. The sons and daughters of EDSA pioneers like Leni Robredo, Alan Peter Cayetano and Gringo Honasan are at near bottom levels.

Cayetano's numbers are not improving precisely because of the perception of him as hatchet man and the main antagonist of Vice president Jejomar Binay. Binay, among the presidential contenders, has the widest and the most stable grassroots network in the country today. Imagine the effects of such a network in the reputation of Cayetano.

Cayetano's propaganda work against Binay, together with another hatchet man, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, is supposed to benefit Mar Roxas. Now, they are realising that what they did with the vice president has actually harmed Roxas more than Binay. As I wrote in this blog a year ago, Binay has a solid mass base of 20-25% of the electorate, and when this number goes up, it just shows that a significant portion of the middle class has just been converted to him. His 31% rating in SWS shows that some portion of the middle class who belonged to Grace Poe-Llamanzares has now "migrated" to his side.

Leni Robredo's numbers are slowly going South. The more Leni opens her mouth and the more she associates herself with this administration, the more her ratings go down. The initial euphoria and the promise of her being a progressive candidate for the vice presidency has dissipated. Without anything good being ascribed to her, Leni is now just a candidate for the vice presidency, period. Her numbers will not move anymore if she continues to do nothing to separate herself from the pack.

Honasan's ratings are expected to plateau since he does not have anything in his sleeves anymore to show to the public. Honasan needs to present a fresher platform.

Now, going back to the original topic of this blog, why do I say that the possibility of a Marcos presidency looms big in May?

Fact 2---indications are rife that this elections would be hotly contested by these presidentiables. For one, their financial backers expect them to fight it out and slug it out considering the billions they are spending just to prop their numbers up.

Just look at what Nielsen research has shown several weeks ago---ad spending alone of these contenders is reaching the billion peso mark--and it is not yet campaign period. That's only advertising. Imagine, how many millions of pesos they are now spending for their grassroots and political machinery buildup.

The sheer inanity of this is a sign of how people behind these candidates consider this presidential contest--this has become not just a political fight but more of a personal fight amongs oligarchs.

This presidential contest is like how gamblers bet in horse races or how the Filipino oligarchs bet in boxing or cockfighting--they bet big and they expect their ROI immediately.

These people behind these presidentiables are expected to do everything in their power for their candidate to eventually win come May. The ones who are ready to kill and be killed will win. This presidential elections is definitely not for the faint hearted.

Fact 3---elections this May will be very messy and chaotic. Why? Because the ones who really want nothing more than win this elections for their own personal survivals are also conditioning the minds of the people and are strategizing to cheat. Likewise, they are maneuvering so much that they don't even mind that what they are doing would actually mess things up for this country.

Consider what they are doing against Vice president Jejomar Binay, the strongest bet for the presidency. Senator Trillanes IV hinted that even if Binay wins, he will be ordered arrested by the Office of the Ombudsman because of the graft charges some nincoompoop filed against the VP.

That's just one of the things they did, but what the public does not realize is this---these people are planning to muck up this elections and they are creating the scenario for massive disfranchisement of voters.

And they would do it, courtesy of Senator Grace Poe-Llamanzares.

I have a strong feeling that Poe-Llamanzares' name would still be included in the official ballot come January 20. This eventuality will favor not Poe-Llamanzares, but Mar Roxas. Why?

Let's admit it---Poe-Llamanzares' campaign is terribly problematic. Her winning prospects are getting slimmer by the minute because the initial euphoria of her candidacy is now, slowly waning. The more she exposes herself, the more people realize how amateurish she is, and how unprepared she is for the big job of the presidency.

Poe-Llamanzares' camp knows that she is unqualified for the presidency, not because of issues about her citizenship but of her. There is no cause for her to run. There is simply nothing so big a reason for voters to even consider such a candidate as Poe-Llamanzares.

Kumbaga, Poe-Llamanzares is really a pambarag candidate--just to weaken votes intended for Binay.If her name continues to be in the ballot, that would weaken Binay's and create a statistical tie with Roxas.

Now, massive disfranchisement will occur if the Supreme Court suddenly release a decision disqualifying Poe-Llamanzares a few days or even a week before the May 9 elections. Imagine that scenario.

Of course, violence will break out if Roxas suddenly becomes the winner of this contest. As I told some of my friends, even if Roxas wins with a very clear mandate, and there is simply no cheating involved, most people will not believe it and will eventually go out to the streets to protest. There is already this lingering perception that Roxas is a losing candidate, and it will be very hard for the Liberals to erase that perception, even with a ton full of advertisements and commercials.

Admit it---there is not enough time to erase that perception. The fact is--the SWS survey shows how the people really perceive Roxas. Inspite of wasting millions for TV ads, Roxas' survey ratings even went further south. Robredo's brand equity is supposed to rub off Roxas' but as I said, the initial euphoria or even promise of being a progressive candidate has dissipated and there is no more transference of equity now.

Duterte might pull out a surprise in the end, yet, some sectors, especially those among several progressives will contest his win and will also use the streets to frustrate his win. However, if you really look at his campaign, Duterte is initially perceived to be a strong candidate yet without a strong grassroots machinery, his win will still be questionable. Why? Who would protect his votes in the precinct levels? Even if he has a million volunteers, the logistical costs of such an operation runs in the millions. Hence, Duterte is vulnerable to disfranchisement.

The best that people expect Duterte to do is endorse another candidate--that way, the perception that we will elect a minority president will not happen. Really now, a minority president will not be good for us because, unlike in the State where groups unite behind the Office of the Presidency shortly after the elections, in our country, opposing groups continue hitting the winner even after he has already taken his oath of office.

A Duterte endorsement, say, of Binay will ease the political tension and will be good for the country. However, without it, expect a mess of an election.

Now, with a mess of a presidential contest, who benefits in the end but the winner of the vice presidency? With Bongbong closing in, his date with destiny is just within arm's reach.