Binay precarious lead

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By Jun Ledesma


Monday, August 11, 2014

FOLLOWING the State of the Nation Address of President Aquino political analysts sprouted in all TV networks giving their take on who will be his successor. This stemmed from the President’s swansong-like Sona where he wished that whoever comes after him continue with what he believes were projects and development plans worth pursuing.

The political pundits were looking at Vice Pres. Jojo Binay and the presidential buddy Mar Roxas. Picking clues from the 90-minute SONA the crystal balls of the analysts hardly show any definitive face…not dark shadow or some character with streaks of white hair. But weighing some bits of hints the political forecasters took cognizance of Noynoy’s recollection of the siege of Malacañang Palace in an attempted coup. Without naming names, Binay, who stood by President Cory during those trying days, singularly stood as the most prominent ally; one whom President Noynoy can trust through thick and thin.

But that was then. Time has changed and the people’s avuncular regard for Ninoy and Cory had been diminished by the bumbling and bungling of the son. So, will Binay adopt the government programs of Aquino as his party platform? Will Noynoy drop his friend Mar who made the supreme sacrifice by handing him the presidency that many politicians salivate for?


Easily it could be Roxas before, but the political arena and sentiments have drastically changed. Roxas lost much of his advantage because of his undoing. Binay sustained his lead in the surveys while the former could only manage 7 percent and declining still.

At this stage, I would rather leave the doyens among the political analysts and indulge in our own “mais-mais” scrutiny of how and who will emerge in the next Presidential derby.

Contrary to what analysts perceived, I look at Binay’s 41 percent score in the survey as actually precarious and unconvincing or far from assuring. Given the fact that he had made overtures and has been campaigning for the presidency for almost a decade now, VP Binay’s foray into the highest position of the land is far from winnable. The surveys had consistently indicated that he has no command of the majority. The other perceived candidates – Roxas, Lacson, Escudero and Marcos - on the other hand can hardly overcome the threshold of 10 percent. Which means that the electorates are still in search for the best candidate for the presidency.

Not only did the surveys show Binay hardly improving his rating in the surveys, the respondents obviously are looking for a new leader outside the names, which survey firms had on their lists. Which shows that survey firms are really commercially-oriented than are interested to give us wider perspective.

I do not want to rub this in, but allow me to put it this way. For the past two months I was in and out of Manila for some personal matters. I do not keep a score sheet but of the number of taxis I rode in, 99 percent of the drivers I interviewed picked Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte as their man for President if I hinted his name as among the probable bets.

Just to make sure I will not be influencing them I would never introduce myself as a Dabawenyo but would pose either as from Cebu or Iloilo since I can handle conversation in the dialect should the driver respond in either Cebuano or Ilonggo. Indeed many of them (which jibes with the survey of 41 percent) would go for Binay only because Binay, they would describe, is more tolerable than the rest. I would not delve on what they say of Mar because they can be cruel. They would refer to Binay as a “Robin Hood”, which is not actually a flattering attribute if you get my drift.

But the most incredible revelation is that nine out of ten taxi drivers I talked to become excited when the name Duterte is factored in. In not a few instances, however, they would mention that Mayor Duterte is not interested in running for President.

What do they like in Mayor Digong Duterte? His iron-fist policy against criminality. His style of governance in that people observe laws and local ordinances. “May disciplina sa Dabaw at ang mga tao ay sumusunod at wala kang maririnig na nagrereklamo.” His frugal and simple lifestyle.

When I say that among those I heard is that Duterte will dissolve congress if he is president invariably drivers would have a fit of laughter. “Dapat lang sir kasi wala namang nagagawa ang mga congressman at senador natin kung hindi maglustay ng salapi. Tingnan mo sir, pag kami nahuli ng traffic violation, ticket ka agad at malaki and multa. Sila, milyon-milyon na ang ninakaw mayroon ngang ikinulong pero yong mga kasangga ni P-noy hanggang ngayon nagpakasasa”.

“Kaya kung ayaw talaga ni Duterte na tumakbo, kay Binay na lang kami. Alam naming may mga pananagutan din siya pero may ibinabahagi naman”.

This fatalistic attitude is understandable but sad. It is warp and will not lead us to any modicum of reform. But the people are prepared to face a more drastic reform and if I will to discern deeply into their hidden desire our Digong is the man of their ultimate choice…not Binay if they can help it.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 12, 2014.


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