MR. BINAY IS A RUNNING MAN: THE PROS AND CON

The close advisers of Vice President Jejomar Binay, the putative front runner in the 2016 presidential race, have been mostly drawn from the camps of three former presidents: Marcos, Estrada and Mrs. Arroyo. If you say that is a good thing and a positive one , and it would add to the intellectual and moral heft of Mr. Binay, I would not even know how to answer back. Sure, Joey Salgado, who trained under the late journalism great Joe Burgos, is with Mr. Binay. But Joey’s role is crafting words and media strategy, not on nation-changing policy directions. Mr. Binay would not turn to Joey, say, to get an adequate briefing on how Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Crimea would impact on the defense preparations in the Pacific Rim. Or, at what “peak oil prices” would a Binay presidency consider a review of the Oil Deregulation policy.
Speaking of media, the choice of Toby Tiangco as spokesman of the UNA, the political coalition that would carry the presidential dreams of Mr. Binay in 2016, is not a positive thing either. You get distracted by the hairstyle of Mr. Tiangco. When he talks of UNA and Mr. Binay, the people do not listen with intensity. The listeners say something like this: the guy needs a decent haircut. In the current political context, optics – sadly – are just as important. And the optics of Toby Tiangco’s rockista hairstyle would matter in a presidential campaign.

ALSO: Speculation and chismis

The presidential elections are two years away, yet it is beginning to seem like we already are in an early campaign mode. It must be that the great powers given to the Office of the President and the Executive Branch can actually make the head spin, or the mouth salivate – even from onlookers.
I remember how it was in 2008, two years before the 2010 presidential elections. It was not much different. Already at that time were lots of speculation and chismis. The more interesting and sane deductions came from those whose lives were almost totally dedicated to politics, not as candidates themselves, but as secondary players in campaigns and elections. Depending on the level of politics they were used to being part of, so would be the strength of their prognosis.
The more extreme opinions, though, are those who come from chismis, or from telenovelas. They have to conjure pieces of speculation that cannot be boring. It is funny how many Filipinos are engaged in chismis but not realizing they are, or will not admit to it. From now until the deadline of filing of candidacies will be one rumor mill after another, one story or drama after another. It will also not be just the naïve who will be jumping up and down with every crazy opinion but, strangely, many interested candidates as well. Vice-President Jejomar Binay is the dominant frontrunner by any kind of measure, speculative or scientific. I am sure many private surveys already point to this. I say dominant because not only the numbers say so (and numbers are people who vote), but would-be candidates know so as well. This is reflected by their attacks, frontal and from the shadows. That only VP Jojo Binay is a prime target today is testament to his dominant lead position.

ALSO: Battle for 2016 begins: Why Revilla attacked Roxas

Last Tuesday, beleaguered Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jr., one of the three Senators currently embroiled in the 10 Billion Peso Pork Barrel Scam called for a press conference at the Senate to ask for the resignation of DILG Sec. Mar Roxas. During the press briefing, Revilla said that Roxas was responsible for bringing out the witnesses against them such as Ruby Tuason and now, Dennis Cunanan. Moreover, Revilla also stated that Roxas was no longer effective in his duties and responsibilities given his allegedly poor performance in handling the Zamboanga hostage crisis and the natural calamities that followed such as the major earthquake that hit Cebu and Bohol and Typhoon Yolanda which devastated Leyte and Eastern Samar. Why punish Roxas? After hearing these tirades from Revilla, my initial reactions were isn’t it the job of Roxas and every government leader to make sure that the truth comes out especially when it involved the corruption of billions of pesos of tax-payers’ money? If indeed he was responsible for making Tuason and Cunanan come out and testify, then shouldn’t we praise him instead of asking him to resign? In addition to this, isn’t it Revilla who should consider resigning or at least take a leave of absence from his position in the Senate while there is an on-going investigation on the Pork Barrel Scam so as not to unduly influence the result of the investigation? I have said it time and again that if there is any tinge of delicadeza left in those who are involved in this Pork Barrel Scam, they should either resign from their position or at least take a leave of absence. They should take the lead from former Muntinlupa Congressman Ruffy Biazon, who immediately resigned from his post as Customs Commissioner as soon as the Department of Justice filed a case against him in the office of the Ombudsman for his alleged involvement in this Pork Barrel Scam.


READ FULL REPORTS HERE:

Mr. Binay is a Running Man: The pros and cons


Marlen V. Ronquillo

MANILA, MARCH 10, 2014
(MANILA TIMES) by Marlen V. Ronquillo, SUNDAY STORIES - The close advisers of Vice President Jejomar Binay, the putative front runner in the 2016 presidential race, have been mostly drawn from the camps of three former presidents: Marcos, Estrada and Mrs. Arroyo. If you say that is a good thing and a positive one , and it would add to the intellectual and moral heft of Mr. Binay, I would not even know how to answer back.

Sure, Joey Salgado, who trained under the late journalism great Joe Burgos, is with Mr. Binay. But Joey’s role is crafting words and media strategy, not on nation-changing policy directions. Mr. Binay would not turn to Joey, say, to get an adequate briefing on how Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Crimea would impact on the defense preparations in the Pacific Rim.

Or, at what “peak oil prices” would a Binay presidency consider a review of the Oil Deregulation policy.

Speaking of media, the choice of Toby Tiangco as spokesman of the UNA, the political coalition that would carry the presidential dreams of Mr. Binay in 2016, is not a positive thing either. You get distracted by the hairstyle of Mr. Tiangco.

When he talks of UNA and Mr. Binay, the people do not listen with intensity. The listeners say something like this: the guy needs a decent haircut.

In the current political context, optics – sadly – are just as important. And the optics of Toby Tiangco’s rockista hairstyle would matter in a presidential campaign.

Mr. Binay, in 2016, needs a fresh and defining theme. The one he used in 2010, showing off the greatness of Makati, would no longer wash. A few new developments, The Fort, for example have been stealing the thunder from Makati’s CBD in terms of luring in the named locators. Quezon City is building its own CBD and other select sprawls (in other towns and cities) may finally diminish, if not totally erode, Makati’s claim as the hub of everything.

Just more than two years before the 2016 campaign, Mr. Binay still lacks a solid platform and plank upon which he would campaign on. Of course, he has no problem tapping the best and the brightest for that task as Filipino thinkers, mostly kulang sa pansin, would eagerly jump at the task of helping a major presidential candidate (or any presidential candidate for that matter), write a campaign platform.

He should write a coherent, credible platform now.

The political organization of Mr. Binay is a humungous one, and as such, it is unwieldy.

The perception that he is a frontrunner has attracted all sorts of campaign types to his camp, from the idealistic ones who have been with Mr. Binay since his street protesting days, to the opportunistic ones that expects the gravy after their principal’s election to the presidency.

In my home province of Pampanga for one, the ones claiming to do grassroots work for Mr. Binay belong to the class of political slime and sleaze.

We don’t know the deeper reasons why the PDP-Laban was dropped by Mr. Binay, given that party’s pivotal role in the democratic restoration. By dropping the PDP-Laban, the opportunity for great symbolism and getting all the still-surviving members of the opposition Batasan members for one last political fight, was lost.

Despite all these, there is one good attribute of the Running Man Binay that ordinary voters would appreciate in 2016 – he is a politician. I will explain.

After six years of Mr. Aquino’s unwavering technocracy, Mr. Binay, the politician, would be a burst of fresh air by the time the campaign season commences. By 2016, there would be a fatigue for technocratic policies that have placed a premium on growth rates, on the ratings of the credit agencies, on the alleluias from the multilateral institutions. And a regime that lacked even the most elementary concern for unfortunate, desperate lives.

The lives of me and my neighbors and the lives of most of the people I know.

The toll on the general public of a mirthless, jobless and joyless growth – and the bless the Top 1 percent meme – would be deeply felt by 2016 and the entry of Mr. Binay and his populist policies would be, generally, most welcome.

The words “politician”and “populism” which had been duly skewered and made synonymous with political corruption and slime, will have a change of definition – very positive ones – by the time Mr. Binay starts stumping for votes.

Why, people, would probably say, we need a candidate who we can talk with, one who can feel our pain, our alienation from the mainstream, and can feel our deepest frustrations. Mr. Binay, who claimed to have been from humble origins, would probably listen to their (our, rather) heartaches and plaints.

The do-gooders and the so-called civil society would lose their knickers in anguish over the possibility that a politician with a populist bent would assume power after Mr. Aquino.

But that would be the payback for the great omission of a technocratic government – where the summum bonum has been the pursuit of growth and where rising GDP charts – not overall human well-being - are paramount. Unfortunate human lives are an afterthought.

In short, Mr. Binay will thrive in 2016 precisely because of the past six years. The ordinary people like me and my neighbors would want a president who would care to listen.

A little sleaze and pliability, we would not mind. Governing, as we have learned in the past few years, cannot be really done from an unflinching, but high-handed, moral ground that is obsessed, not with empowering human lives but with nice GDP charts. Marlen Ronquillo

FROM THE INQUIRER


By Jose Ma. Montelibano

Glimpses
Speculation and chismis By Jose Ma. Montelibano -

The presidential elections are two years away, yet it is beginning to seem like we already are in an early campaign mode. It must be that the great powers given to the Office of the President and the Executive Branch can actually make the head spin, or the mouth salivate – even from onlookers.

I remember how it was in 2008, two years before the 2010 presidential elections. It was not much different. Already at that time were lots of speculation and chismis.

The more interesting and sane deductions came from those whose lives were almost totally dedicated to politics, not as candidates themselves, but as secondary players in campaigns and elections. Depending on the level of politics they were used to being part of, so would be the strength of their prognosis.

The more extreme opinions, though, are those who come from chismis, or from telenovelas. They have to conjure pieces of speculation that cannot be boring. It is funny how many Filipinos are engaged in chismis but not realizing they are, or will not admit to it.

From now until the deadline of filing of candidacies will be one rumor mill after another, one story or drama after another. It will also not be just the naïve who will be jumping up and down with every crazy opinion but, strangely, many interested candidates as well.

Vice-President Jejomar Binay is the dominant frontrunner by any kind of measure, speculative or scientific. I am sure many private surveys already point to this. I say dominant because not only the numbers say so (and numbers are people who vote), but would-be candidates know so as well. This is reflected by their attacks, frontal and from the shadows. That only VP Jojo Binay is a prime target today is testament to his dominant lead position.

Everyone else is speculative. This reflects their present inability to become a strong one-on-one rival to VP Binay. It doesn’t mean that not one of them can win against Binay, but not now, not by any survey and evidence on the ground, and not by any intelligent plan on how to win the people’s affection and vote.

At the moment, it seems that the only active plan is to attack Binay. That may lose Binay some votes, but that does not win the attacker more votes. People should recall how Vice-Presidential candidate Mar Roxas attacked and attacked rival Loren Legarda, succeeded in eroding her support base, only to see the affected votes go to Jejomar Binay.

Attacking the frontrunner is a valid but not necessarily the best strategy. That kind of move is double-edged, like a sword. It can hurt the attacker more than the attacked. The attacks themselves seldom work against someone who has established a consistently favorable relationship with the people despite these allegations.

Attacks have worked against a sitting president, actually two of them, despite their own political bases, but only because they abused their power, and could not hide their plunder. It did not help that they got involved in many personal scandals and maintained high-profile cronies.

Where there were other instances of re-electionist presidents losing their bids, especially Quirino to Magsaysay, Garcia to Macapagal, Macapagal to Marcos, it was less the attacks and more the superior charisma of the challenger that won the presidency. Eventually, in the post-Edsa scenario, Ramos won not by attacking anyone, Estrada won by his popularity, and so did Noynoy Aquino. They all had no re-electionist president for a rival, and had to win mostly on their positive merits.

At this point when all are speculation and chismis, there are no boundaries to what is reasonable or crazy except the risk of embarrassment of journalists attempting to be political analysts or commentators. The Filipino public is not often very discerning between what is plausible or utterly baseless. Or, even if they suspect that many sources have crazy conclusions, the public forgets quite fast and keeps listening to the same people.

The speculations and chismis will not die down either, not maybe until the end of 2015 when the filing of candidacies close. A few months before that, though, a few will have dropped out, convinced that they will not be the destined one.

They will tend to slide down to the Vice-Presidential slot, or run for senator. There will be only one or two who will run against great odds, either because they are too blinded by their ambition to see the handwriting on the wall, or because they can afford to let loose a few billion pesos from their hidden wealth and build a bigger, early base for 2022.

Meanwhile, it is Vice-President Jejomar Binay against the field. He will receive all the attacks and all the provocation.

Often, it will not be to demonize him but to bait him to put his foot into his mouth. Early on, Binay can develop the ability to stay above the fray, which he will need to be a good president of a country that is fast being globalized and a predictable ping-pong ball between China and the United States. In the face of all that will be thrown at him, he has to see the bigger picture, and firmly stay there.

I remember a most interesting development where Vice-Presidents were concerned. Gloria when she was VP under Erap had a positive net rating of +63 in the 3rd quarter of 2000, but dropped heavily to -4 in the 4th quarter when she had turned against Erap. It was not as though Erap was not going down himself, as he was from +19 in the 3rd quarter to only +9 in the 4th, but obviously people did not take it well that Gloria abandoned him.

The very positive ratings of Vice-President Binay, then, are not in isolation from the very good ratings of PNoy. Though both are from different parties, Filipinos nevertheless look at then as an executive team, as they did Erap and Gloria in 2000. Food for thought.

Anyway, onwards to more speculations and chismis.

FROM GMA NEWS TV

Battle for 2016 begins: Why Revilla attacked Roxas By HARVEY S. KEH February 27, 2014 12:13pm 6228 207 1 6500


By HARVEY S. KEH

MANILA -Last Tuesday, beleaguered Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jr., one of the three Senators currently embroiled in the 10 Billion Peso Pork Barrel Scam called for a press conference at the Senate to ask for the resignation of DILG Sec. Mar Roxas.

During the press briefing, Revilla said that Roxas was responsible for bringing out the witnesses against them such as Ruby Tuason and now, Dennis Cunanan.

Moreover, Revilla also stated that Roxas was no longer effective in his duties and responsibilities given his allegedly poor performance in handling the Zamboanga hostage crisis and the natural calamities that followed such as the major earthquake that hit Cebu and Bohol and Typhoon Yolanda which devastated Leyte and Eastern Samar.

Why punish Roxas?

After hearing these tirades from Revilla, my initial reactions were isn’t it the job of Roxas and every government leader to make sure that the truth comes out especially when it involved the corruption of billions of pesos of tax-payers’ money?

If indeed he was responsible for making Tuason and Cunanan come out and testify, then shouldn’t we praise him instead of asking him to resign?

In addition to this, isn’t it Revilla who should consider resigning or at least take a leave of absence from his position in the Senate while there is an on-going investigation on the Pork Barrel Scam so as not to unduly influence the result of the investigation?

I have said it time and again that if there is any tinge of delicadeza left in those who are involved in this Pork Barrel Scam, they should either resign from their position or at least take a leave of absence.

They should take the lead from former Muntinlupa Congressman Ruffy Biazon, who immediately resigned from his post as Customs Commissioner as soon as the Department of Justice filed a case against him in the office of the Ombudsman for his alleged involvement in this Pork Barrel Scam.

Shifting public attention away from Pork Barrel Scam

Many are probably wondering why the sudden attack by Revilla on Roxas.

There are several reasons for this.

First and foremost is that Revilla and his cohorts realize that the Pork Barrel Scam issue is again the top headline in almost all our media groups after it initially mellowed down due to the aftermath of Yolanda during the latter part of the year. It is back in the news after Tuason decided to come back to the Philippines and become a state witness. Now, Tuason’s decision to surface and her eyewitness account on how she delivered money directly to Senator Jinggoy Estrada has emboldened other witnesses to follow suit such as Cunanan and ever perhaps, actor Matt Ranillo III. By attacking Roxas, Revilla is trying to shift the attention of the public away from the real issue of the Pork Barrel Scam and at the same time, he is trying to put Roxas on the defensive. By not answering Revilla back, Roxas has effectively negated Revilla’s public relations strategy to shift the news cycle away from him and those that are involved in the Pork Barrel Scam.

Bringing down PNoy’s heir apparent

Another main reason why Revilla is focusing his tirade on Roxas is because of the 2016 elections.

If you will recall, Revilla and his group initially tried to directly attack President Noynoy Aquino when Estrada made a privilege speech last year wherein he directly accused Malacanang of allegedly tampering with the impeachment trial of then Chief Justice Renato Corona.

After several attempts by their group to bring down the popularity of PNoy throughout the latter part of 2013, the most recent SWS and Pulse Asia surveys have consistently shown that the President continues to be trusted by majority of Filipinos all over the country.

When this strategy failed, they are now shifting their guns on Roxas who is perceived to be PNoy and the ruling party’s candidate for President in the coming 2016 elections.

They feel that since they cannot bring down PNoy, they might as well drag down the credibility of the people whom he trusts the most.

By bringing down Roxas, their group feels that the ruling Liberal Party of which PNoy and Roxas are part of, will no longer have a strong and winnable candidate in the 2016 elections. Let us remember that if Revilla and Estrada’s ally wins and PNoy’s candidate loses in 2016, there is a strong chance that all of these cases filed against them may just be swept under the rug.

Whether or not this strategy will work remains to be seen since there are still no surveys that would show who are the main frontrunners to be the next occupant of Malacañang.

Focus on punishing those involved in Pork Barrel Scam

In all of these, the public should remain focused on what is the main pressing and important issue at hand and that is bringing to justice all those who are involved in this 10 Billion Pork Barrel Scam. While 2016 is just around the corner, what is important now is we show every Filipino and the whole world that justice can be equally served to those who have defrauded our country’s public coffers regardless of their power and influence.

This is the only way we will be able to stop graft and corruption in our government and the only way we can truly say that we are on the right track towards good governance in our country.

Harvey S. Keh is Director for Youth Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship at the Ateneo de Manila University-School of Government and is also the Lead Convenor of the Kaya Natin! Movement for Good Governance and Ethical Leadership.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of this website.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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