IF Pnoy and his Liberal Party adopt and openly support Vice President Binay in the coming 2016 Presidential elections, then the Veep’s chances of winning could go from the 90% (our guess) that it is today, to “101%” in 2016. That would have to mean Secretary Mar Roxas will not be running. This is of course barring any unforeseen events occurring from now until election day such as, say, serious health issues visiting the VP or something nobody has an inkling as of yet and so will surprise us all if and when it happens. His health and age are factors because he is, after all, a septuagenarian plus the persistent rumor of his suffering from some kidney ailment does not help. Still, most concede that Mar is in for a bigger defeat should he challenge Binay to a rematch, this time for the highest position of the land — the presidency. Mar doesn’t see defeat in the horizon and still maintains he defeated Binay for Vice President but was cheated, hence, the electoral protest still pending.
President Aquino has been criticized for being “over loyal” to his “K’s” — kaibigan, kabarkada, kaklase, and kabarilan — and there is truth to that to a great extent. Having said that, who between the two presidential aspirants would PNoy end up supporting? The sisters of PNoy have publicly stated that they have no problem in supporting Binay. That’s still short of actually supporting him. But that’s clearer than anything they have said about Mar’s candidacy in 2016. Also, the Cojuangco side of PNoys family have already made known their support for Binay with Cory’s brother, Peping, leading the way.
The President himself has given Mar everything he has asked for, it would seem, and this probably stems from his gratitude to Mar for stepping aside to give him a better shot at the Presidency and it succeeded; but as we all know, there was a hitch — Mar, in the process, lost the “spare tire” position to Binay, an experience as painful as it was unexpected. That may have caused PNoy to feel doubly indebted to Mar; their relationship goes a long way back when you include their families, respectively. Both come from the same elite class of landowners with representation in politics; they attended the same or similar private schools here and abroad; they have mutual Tita’s and Tito’s and family friends; they relate to similar experiences; and they have near identical social and economic backgrounds. Mar also acted as PNoy’s mentor of sorts in both House(s) of Congress.
Binay, on the other hand, was born and raised on the poor side of the tracks. His relationship with PNoy and family began as a political ally of Ninoy, perhaps, not on an equal footing initially, but grew in closeness to them as his political stock increased as Mayor and “chief politician” of the premiere city of the Philippines, Makati, all 28 years since Cory appointed him OIC in 1986. His experience with PNoy’s family has been one of proven loyalty, both one to the other, specially in times of crises such as the numerous coup attempts against the Cory presidency in the late 80’s and whenever either of them was in trouble. The experiences PNoy and Binay share are of a more intense nature and on one occasion during a coup, the rebellion in which Binay took up arms to defend the Palace almost cost PNoy his life. So, there’s more drama and sentimentality that accompanies their friendship while that of PNoy and Mar has to do more with uneventful times in Congress, nothing as sensational except for the time he willingly slid down to the Vice Presidential race to give way to PNoy. Of course, one could argue that Mar was practically left with no choice but to acquiesce to the “clamor.” So, there….
But party politics dictates that the decision PNoy makes should be in accordance with party (Drillon, Abad, and Mar) preference and in that regard, Mar will have to be the anointed. Considering all that’s been said and done, our take on the coming elections goes like this: the President and the Liberal Party will be supporting Mar while the Aquino sisters and their relatives, in the Cojuangco side at least, will be going all out for Binay — makes one wonder about the sincerity of these folks in their “crusade” against corruption but that’s another story. The so called “yellow brigade” will be split as one can imagine, encouraging the ambition of a 3rd candidate to take advantage of the schism. But regardless of the division among the “yellow”, we don’t see how Binay, so far ahead in the race, can be defeated. Well, maybe in one scenario…which is in the realm of the “possible” but will take a lot of imagination on the part of a 3rd candidate. That scenario is simple and goes like this: a 3rd candidate surfaces who captures the hearts and minds of the youth in a big way as never before seen in this country and whose large number carries him or her on to victory and to the Palace. Imagine a candidate looking almost half the age of Binay at 73 yrs. old and who speaks the lingo of the young in a unforced and natural manner, sings their songs, and appeals to the young girls like a matinee idol. Add to that someone that can articulate clearly the needs and the problems the youth face in their daily lives.
Roughly half of the 50 million registered voters in the country are between 18 to 33 years old. Half of that 25M “youth vote” is 12.5M. Let’s just round it off to 10M votes…still, a most formidable solid bloc which, of course, are not the only votes “Mr. 3rd candidate” will be getting in a “solid” way. In addition, he would be the major recipient of the votes of his region, and if he plays it cleverly, the Iglesia ni Cristo solid vote to boot. The numbers speak for themselves: just under half of the youth vote, a solid regional vote, a half-decent showing in the rest of the country plus some help from Mr. Manalo can do the trick. That imaginary candidate will not come from any of those that have been mentioned in media as “presidentiables” — we think none of them can beat Binay, particularly, the ones now tainted with the Pork Barrel scandal. But there have been many surprises in politics, including the last minute unexpected presidential candidate who won in the 2010 elections, and 2016 will have its fair share of it. Until then, this is mere speculation but the numbers remain real.