Testing the waters

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Saturday, February 15, 2014

AS 2016 draws nearer, politicians have started to test the waters on the feasibility of pursuing positions in government. On May 9, 2016, the Philippines will elect a new president, vice president, half of the Senate, congressmen and local government officials.

Two of the leading presidential contenders are Vice President Jejomar Binay and DILG Secretary Mar Roxas. As leader of the opposition, Binay has made known his presidential ambition from day one. He was confident that, if he beat Mar Roxas for vice presidenct, he could repeat that in the presidential contest.

Survey results have been positive for the vice president, but with certainty, a lot of skeletons in his closet will be exposed to reveal the stuff he is really made of.


Already, we are seeing the establishment of a political dynasty with his children all over the political scenery. Surely, the abusive conduct of his son, Makati Mayor Junjun Binay in Dasmariñas Village will hound him without fail.

If not for the untimely death of his popular brother, Dinggoy, Mar would not have entered politics early on. He has effectively managed his political career though he had served both the Estrada and the Arroyo governments, having resigned before the downfall of both.

Unlike his ascendants, grandfather President Manuel Roxas and father Senate president Gerry Roxas, Mar is soft-spoken. While others perceive it as lack of courage, supporters profess that it was humility that made him decide to give way to Noynoy Aquino in the presidential election in 2010.

He seems to be the logical choice to continue what may be the unfinished work of President Aquino. But critics have not been kind to him, viciously attacking him for his alleged ineffectiveness in managing the relief operations in the aftermath of typhoon Yolanda. Wife Korina was not spared and more hurting comments will be thrown her way.

Both Binay and Roxas are not free of critics from their own turfs. In Makati, Binay is alleged to be giving favors to supportive backers. In Capiz, Roxas is said to oppose the entry of businessmen that compete with familial interests.

If the attacks on either side go out of control, Binay and Roxas will cancel themselves out of the presidential contest that pave the way for others, including Francis Escudero, Bong Revilla and Panfilo Lacson.

Escudero has done the hard yards in politics, and has both professional and leadership qualifications to make it to Malacañang. He has also taken advantage of media to reach out to the masses, on radio, television and print. A debater of high caliber, Chiz has become his own man and may just be the man for the job.

Revilla and Lacson are two ambitious men and despite the dirt that has besmirched their brands, they continue to sell themselves as the most viable alternatives in the race. But I believe they will be our worst nightmares, if elected.

Then there is Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte who has written himself off the list.

But you never know until the last day of the filing of the certificates of candidacy.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 15, 2014.


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