In the Â latest presidential-vice presidential derbies in the years 1998, 2004 and 2010, it was the candidates of the two dominant political parties that garnered the first two places for both positions. The minority, even the so-called reformist Third Parties did not figure prominently. Lets digress.
In 1998, Joseph Estrada Â (LDP-PMP) smashed to victory with a 42% vote preference followed by Lakas stalwart Speaker Joe de Venecia (15.8%). The Third Forces like: (Aksyon) Raul Roco, and Â (Promdi) Â Lito Osmena did not have a chance.
Their vice presidential tandems switched places with GMA (Lakas) winning over Erap’s running mate senator Edgardo Angara.
The same is true in the year 2004. (Lakas) GMA Â got 29.9% over (KNP) FPJ with 26.5% (margin of 1.1 million votes) with their running mates also hitting 1-2 places in the VP derby: (Lakas) Noli de Castro wining over (KNP-NPC) Loren Legarda. Third party forces like presidentiables Â senator Ping Lacson and Roco (that year) didn’t quite make it (despite patriotic romanticism attached in their campaigns).
Ditto for the year 2010. Dominant party – Liberal Party- pushed senator Noynoy Aquino to the presidency (41.36%) beating (UNA bet) Erap (26.8%) Â with their running mates switching places with (UNA) Makati mayor Jojo Binay beating Â senator (LP) Mar Roxas by 600,000 votes. Also-rans Manny Villar and Gibo Teodoro lost miserably.
Question: Who then Â are the dominant parties in the coming 2016 polls?
Definitely, Â they would be the administration Liberal Party and de facto opposition (UNA)_ led by VP and Â presumptive presidential bet Jojo Binay. Will their presidential and vice presidential bets face 1-2 finishes in the Battle Royale in 2016?
Despite his survey lead (current) in the presidential arena, we can sense a certain reluctance for candidates to become Binay’s running mate. Why? Is it because Binay’s survey rating has been -generally – going down dangerously from the high 50% at his peak to the 20%+ level in March 2015?
Or will the cascading fortunes of the embattled VP Binay Â (accused of plunder from pillar to post) transform UNA-down the stretch- to become less than one of the two -dominant parties? Who will be that Third Force party that will emerge and dominate in its lieu? The UNA lieutenants ,of course, will dispute that possibility.
One thing certain is that Â -with a sitting president (Noynoy) Â and nationwide base support of LGUs, senators and congressmen- it is the LP -which will be one of the two dominant forces.
If the trends in the last 18 years (three presidential polls) (1993-2010) were to be a basis- the LP ,then, will have a 50% chance of landing their presidential and vice presidenialt candidates as 2016 winners to lead the country after the term of President Pnoy Aquino.
There lies the problem, truly.
Because- presumptive LP presidential bet DILG chief Mar Roxas continues to reflect Â a lack of voter appeal at only (4%) in the latest March 2015 Â Pulse Asia survey-even eclipsed by minor candidates like senators Miriam Santiago (9%) and Bongbong Marcos (6%). Is it political suicide for the LP to insist that Roxas be its candidate?
Some argue that what matters is the last survey before the elections- which is ,in real terms, quite correct. The question begged is : does Roxas Â indeed have the traction to lead the LP as a strong contender leading to that” last survey before elections?” If not, then what?
Who then should the LP put up to deny Binay the presidency in 2016 -among its present coalition allies?
One can do a process of elimination. Erap (by sheer contrary political affiliation) (14% in Pulse survey) Â and Santiago (9%) (by health and advocacy differences) cannot be the LP standard bearer.
Also-rans senators Chiz Escudero (4%), Allan Peter Cayetano (3%), Antonio Trillanes (2%) and Ping Lacson (1%) and Dick Gordon (1%) are too way down the totem pole as to perhaps just relegate them Â into material for vice presidency rather Â than the presidency?
The Dark Horse now is strongman, Federalism advocate Davao City mayor Rodrigo Duterte Â who shot from nowhere to (12%) in March 2015- tied for 3rd and 4th places with Erap. Duterte cannot possibly with UNA as he just hit (during a tri-media conference in Bohol last Friday) Binay and alluding “corruption” tendencies of the VP.
Duterte was once an LP but not a hard-core one and the PDP Laban of the Pimentels want to adopt him. Given the history of Third Forces in presidential politics-can Duterte mounting a separate party to fight LP and UNA- have a Chinaman’s chance of winning? Truly now?
That leaves us with senator Grace Poe, the Reluctant Candidate. In the latest SWS and Pulse Asia surveys in the last three quarters. the Amazing Grace has been Â consistently second to Binay all throughout the survey race-without declaring her interest in any other candidacy for higher office.Â In March Pulse Survey , Grace Poe was second at (14%) to Binay’s (29%).
Early this year, even Manila mayor Erap Estrada Â was asked -if faced the choice of siding with either VP Binay and Senator Poe-Erap declared he Â would choose Grace Poe-citing “brotherly ties” with the late FPJ, Poe’s father. That’s a big (12%) Erap votes added to Poe’s (14%) or a total of a high (28%) based on Â the Pulse Asia survey.
Interesting to note is that an LP stalwart-OIC for political affairs of the LP- Caloocan Edgar Erice last week revealed a “commissioned survey” also made in March that “showed Grace Poe and Binay dead tie at center with 22% each Â with Roxas standing remaining the same”.Â No elaboration made.
When we last spoke to the senator in Manila : she was still weighing her general fears in hacking the higher office” against Â the possibility of Â that “one chance to be able to do something materially to our people which only Â a presidency will offer the highest opportunity to do so”.
Party-less and independent (almost to a fault)- Grace Poe had always supported the president’s “Daang Matuwid”Â philosophy of governance and partly owes her top-notching senate performance in the 2013 polls due to her inclusion in the President’s senate slate.
The deadline for everyone to start facing the political music bearing on the 2016 is dwindling in time by Â the day towards May next year.
“Strike while the Â iron is hot” and “the early bird catches the worms” are two epistles worth contemplating on by all political animals hungry for answers to the riddle that is 2016.
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