Stigma of corruption

PerryScope
By Perry Diaz

Jojo-Binay-worried-faceWith less than a year to the 2016 presidential elections, the presidential musical chairs game has started in earnest. And there are several games going all at once by groups called political parties or “coalitions.”

To start with, these political parties are not ideological parties like what you’d see in the United States and other countries. The Philippines’ political parties are just vehicles — like the country’s unique colorful jeepneys — where politicians can take a ride hoping that it would bring them to their destinations. However, if the jeepney they’re riding in is too slow or is caught in a traffic jam, they can always transfer to another jeepney.

Having said that, let’s take a look at what’s going on with the various presidential musical chairs games. Of course the biggest game is in President Benigno “P-Noy” Aquino III’s Liberal Party (LP). There are many ambitious participants but only one will be anointed. What would happen to those who would be eliminated? In Philippine politics, there are no gracious losers, only sore losers.

Right now, the LP has only Mar Roxas vying for the party’s presidential nomination, the process of which is for P-Noy to “anoint” who the nominee will be. But Roxas, whom P-Noy had appointed as Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to give him more “public exposure,” lacks the popular support for a presidential run. Recent surveys show him running behind three or four other potential contenders. With an anemic showing that doesn’t seem to improve his chances of winning, P-Noy was hesitant to throw his support behind Roxas, who had given way to P-Noy in the 2010 presidential election and settled to be P-Noy’s running mate.

P-Noy’s dilemma

Grace-Poe-and-Roxas-EscuderoHowever, Roxas lost the vice presidency to Jejomar “Jojo” Binay, who, in the final weeks of the 2010 elections, overtook Roxas in the vice presidential derby. As it turned out, a hitherto secret organization known as “Noy-Bi” was credited for Binay’s surge in the campaign. It’s interesting to note that “Noy-Bi” was not a LP-sanctioned campaign organization. However, it was organized by relatives, friends, and allies who believed that Binay was a true Aquino supporter whose link to the Aquino family goes back to the People Power days of the late president Cory Aquino.

What the LP sanctioned was the “Noy-Mar” campaign committee, which consisted mainly of LP old hands and stalwarts. And this was supposedly the organization that pushed hard to get Roxas elected. But the resources the Noy-Bi had were far too much than what the Noy-Mar organization had. With a campaign chest brimming with contributions from the Aquino and Cojuangco families and their rich allies, Roxas lost to Binay.

In the upcoming 2016 elections, we’d probably see Binay pitted against Roxas again, but this time their contest would move up to the presidential level. However, that would only happen if P-Noy would stick to his promise to support Roxas’ presidential run in 2016. But the problem is Roxas has a ghost of a chance of beating Binay.

Game changer

SWS-survey-June -2015The sudden rise of neophyte Sen. Grace Poe in recent SWS and Pulse of Asia surveys was a game changer. No longer is Binay seen as the unbeatable presidential candidate, the surge in Poe’s poll numbers has toppled Binay from his lofty pedestal, which he had distinctly occupied ever since he won the vice-presidency in 2010.

Seeing Poe’s presidential potential, P-Noy invited her and Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero to Malacanang to talk about a “united ticket” that would include Roxas since Grace and Chiz aren’t LP members but Independents. But their bond was so tight that Grace has made it known that if she decided to run for president next year, she’d want Chiz to be her running mate. Chiz said that he’d support Grace in any decision she makes.

What P-Noy has in mind is to have Roxas team up with either Grace or Chiz as his running mate, which means that one of them would be sacrificed for the good of the LP coalition. The problem with this arrangement is what would be the role of the person who is sacrificed? But before we answer that question, we should first ask if Grace or Chiz were willing to run for vice president under an LP “united ticket”?

Although Grace hadn’t decided yet whether she’s going to run for president or not, she had taken herself out of the vice-presidential race next year, saying that if she’s going to run for a higher office, it might as well be the presidency.

In the case of Chiz, who has been high on the surveys for vice president, it’s not known if he was willing to be somebody’s running mate other than Grace. Needless to say, he has to make his decision whether to run for president, which is unlikely, or vice president. He could run as Binay’s running mate since the two have good relationship in the past. In 2010, Chiz was one of the leaders of the “Noy-Bi” group, a fact that could dampen any attempt to pair him up as Roxas’ running mate.

Binay-nooseIf Chiz accepts an offer to team up with Binay, they might have the right chemistry to run a good campaign. With Binay having all money to spend in the campaign and Chiz tapping the Filipino taipans’ bottomless money pits, they could be a formidable team. However, with Binay’s corruption and plunder cases hanging over his head and the strong resentment against China right now, a Binay-Chiz tandem might not be the way to go. But Chiz has the flexibility to team up with anybody because he, like Grace, is an Independent. In the case of Binay, nobody is willing to run as his running mate. Has the stigma of corruption finally found its mark on Binay?

(PerryDiaz@gmail.com)


5 Responses. Have your say.

  1. Fernando Habito says:

    That’s the loopholes and disadvantage of having NO Party Primaries within a party in PHL politics. Even P-Noy strategy and criteria of winnability based on the result of polls or survey does not guarantee that LP will pick up a strong candidate based on good leadership traits that will continue his DAANG MATUWID agenda.

  2. Rodolfo Liporada says:

    You have not touched on the question of Poe’s citizenship issue.

  3. ALLAN SIMBULAN says:

    I will nominate Grace Poe as Presidential candidate with Chiz Escudero as her Vice.

    Experience is not an issue. Look at those politician who have experiences, they know how to rob better than anyone else because of their experience.

  4. Mac Flores, Jr. says:

    Si Chiz tumanggap din ng PDAF at DAP (P99Million (?) sa Corona hearing.

    Hinahanap ko sa internet, subali’t wala ako’ng makitang nag-account siya sa nasabing mga pondong nasa pangalan niya.

    Kung ang DAP at PDAF ay ILLEGAL batay sa saligang batas bukod sa hindi pa siya nag-sulit, hindi po ba malaking pagkakamli na payagan siyang kumandidato sa susunod na halalan?

    Maraming tumanggap ng illegal na DAP at PDAF subali’t hindi nag-susulit, bakit ito pinapayagang tumakbo sa election?

    Hindi ba ito alam ni Grace na makakasama niya si Chiz na may pananagutan sa mga pondong illegal at hindi pa nag-sulit?

    Umpisa pa lang duda na ako kay Grace. Iginigiit niyang maka-team si Chiz, bukod sa dynast pa ito.

    Itong si Mar Roxas ganuon din. Meron din siyang milyong-milyon na pondong hindi pa niya sinusulit, subali’t pinapayagan pa rin tumakbo sa election.

    Si Binay ganuon din. Under investigation ng plunder at corruption, OK pa rin tumakbo sa election.

    WOW! GRABE TALAGA!

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