Jojo-Mar in 2016?
The 2016 election is still 21 months away but the political bug has already pricked spin masters to action and the campaign fever is on.
If elections were held today, Vice President Jejomar C. Binay will easily become the next Philippine President, according to Sen. Sergio R. Osmeña III, the political strategist of the Aquino administration (senatorial) in the midterm elections.
Osmeña said he does not know what Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Manuel “Mar” A. Roxas II can do to raise his chances of becoming President if he were the official candidate of the ruling Liberal Party (LP). “He has to make things work at the DILG but they are not working,” he pointed out.
LP FOR MAR
But Senate President Franklin Drilon said Roxas is still the Liberal Party’s choice as standard-bearer in the May 2016 polls.
In a televised interview, Drilon, who is vice chairman of the Liberal Party debunked reports that LP is considering “adopting” Binay as its presidential candidate.
“If (former) Senator Mar (Roxas) finally makes his decision, yes. The party will support him,” Drilon said over ANC Headstart.
Drilon said there are also no discussions about adopting Binay for the 2016 polls.
“All I can say is that the spin masters are having their day. There is no such thing. I am a member of the Executive Committee of the Liberal Party and there has been no discussion on that,” he said.
“At the end of the day, the party will be influenced in its decision, by the decision of President (Benigno) Noynoy (Aquino). The President being the chairman of our party, would have a great say as to who the standard-bearer would be, as to where the party is going, and at this point there is no such talk,” he stressed.
He also denied reports that LP is contemplating on having a front-runner who is not a member of the LP even if they ran under the LP ticket in 2010.
“They are not members. They ran under the LP-led ticket. I was the campaign manager and I worked hard for that. But they are not members. Is the LP open? You know that that is not being discussed at the moment, but it is still difficult to say yes or no,” the Senate leader said.
Drilon, however assured that the LP is preparing a standard-bearer for 2016.
“We are. Please wait. We are preparing,” he said.
JOJO-MAR IN 2016?
There is, however one emerging scenario that could happen in 2016, according to Binay’s spokesperson Joey Salgado.
As early as June, Binay has been telling newsmen that the ruling LP and the opposition could coalesce and back him when he seeks the presidency in 2016.
So is Binay considering his bitter rival, Roxas, as his vice presidential running mate in 2016?
“A scenario but it’s pure speculation at this point,” Salgado said.
Binay pulled off an upset against then early favorite Roxas in the 2010 vice presidential race.
“The VP mentioned that he has heard about talks that LP will adopt him. These are among the possible scenarios,” Salgado said.
Roxas, who is rumored to be the administration’s standard bearer in 2016, said last Monday that he was not aware of talks that LP is considering adopting Binay.
Salgado, however, stressed that Binay’s candidacy is not dependent on such scenario.
Binay, he said will run under the banner of the opposition.
“The VP says in politics everything is possible but his candidacy is not dependent on such scenario. VP will run in 2016 as the candidate of UNA (United Nationalist Alliance),” Salgado said. UNA secretary general and Navotas Rep. Tobias Tiangco agrees with Salgado’s statement.
Nonetheless, Salgado said that “regardless of looming political alignments, the Vice President will continue with his work assisting overseas Filipino workers in distress and helping needy Filipinos.”
When asked if the supposed plan to have Binay as LP guest candidate is a wise move, Osmeña said this depends on whether LP wants a stronger candidate in Binay or a weak candidate.
Binay has been leading poll surveys on presidential hopefuls. Sen. Grace Poe who ran under the administration’s tri-party coalition in 2014 is a distant second.
On the chances of Poe improving her low rating, Osmeña said this “depends on what they do, and how they plan it (because) you cannot sit still.”
“We haven’t seen her moving. You see, running for senator is different from running for president. It’s a hell of a hard job running for the presidency. Madali iyong senador. (Running for senator is easy). You are choosing one among 12. But running for president, that’s really hard to do,” he pointed out.
Asked whether it is politically healthy to have the UNA and LP merge, Osmeña said “it is all the same thing.”
“When the past (Arroyo) administration was in power, everybody was member of Lakas. Now, they all transferred to the LP,” he said.
Osmeña said an UNA and LP coalition is possible but not probable.
ALL THE SAME
“In this country, we don’t have a real political party. Puro barkada lang iyan, eh. I cannot differentiate between political party A, political party B, and political party C….it’s all the same thing,” he explained.
Osmeña said that an endorsement by the President of an administration standard bearer might only yield a two to three percent increase in the poll survey.
He said that an endorsement by the President of an official administration candidate has it advantages is not true at all.
He cited the endorsement by then President Corazon “Cory” Aquino of Fidel Ramos in 1992 where he was ranked number one at 24 percent but he was still 24 percent after the election where he won.
“In 1998, Fidel Ramos endorsed Joe de Venecia (JDV). JDV was at 17 percent. When elections came, JDV was still at 17 percent,” he noted.
“In 2010, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo endorsed Gibo Teodoro. And of course, she was such an unpopular person Gibo Teodoro only got 11 percent. So, the endorsement of the President does not count in this country,’’ he added.
CAMPAIGN AGAINST POVERTY
Malacañang, however, chooses to focus on a different campaign — a campaign against poverty.
Presidential Communications Operations Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. recognized that much more needs to be done to sustain reforms and uplift the lives of Filipinos, adding the 2016 elections are still far away.
“At present and in the coming months, the focus of the President and the cabinet is the implementation of reform programs, reducing poverty which is still far from the target, and improving the plight of millions of Filipinos. These are matters are more important than politics which is still far away,” Coloma said in a Palace press briefing. (With a report from Ben R. Rosario)