Citing at least three sources ABS-CBN News dot Com reveals that Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas recruited American political strategist Paul Bograd to help him enhance his public image — conceivably to bolster any chance he has in winning as a Presidential candidate in the 2016 elections.
If at all people take this bit of news “on face value”, then they’d probably go off with an early assessment of what Bograd’s chances of coming up with a “strategy” that will help Roxas win in 2016.
My favorite Manila Times columnist and founding GRP blogger Ben Kritz sums up an estimation of the challenge that Bograd is facing, ” Can’t polish a turd, Mr. Bograd. Hope you got paid up front.”
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JP Fenix, my esteemed business partner and fellow steak lover, quips “Meron siyang Bograd? Puwes, meron naman kaming… JOGRAD! Kantahan nah!” (Translation: “Mar has Bograd? Well, we have JOGRAD! Let the singing begin!” Referring to Jograd Dela Torre who recently figured prominently in an anti-Pork Barrel March.) Which, if you want to read anything deeper into it, can mean that the country is definitely in NO SHORTAGE of political strategists and analysts — if you want to check that out, ask any barber, cab driver, or kanto boy (street corner thug) about politics.
Roxas has gone through the wringer and it might seem that any good thing that was said of him that enabled him to win in 2004 as senator might have already gone out with the wash of harsh criticism leveled against him in recent months.
Truth is, I don’t think this article is really about Roxas’ move to up his chances in 2016 as much as it is about linking him to a couple of names and things that the so-called “leftists” in the Aquino administration have traditionally portrayed as a threat to their interests:
The US of A’s meddling in the Philippine’s politics and economy. The insinuation being that Roxas hired Bograd to enable him to get support from Washington, going by the age-old conspiracy theory about US control of Philippine politics.
The rest of the article mentions or makes reference to Roxas’ foibles
1. The government’s relief efforts in Tacloban City in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Yolanda.
2. The Philippine’s Sabah claim which was recently punctuated by the February 9, 2013 incursion into Sabah by 200-odd followers of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III led by his brother Agbimuddin Kiram.
3. Joseph Estrada and Chavit Singson Jueteng-gate.
Thing is, I think if there Roxas has any political strategy to win the 2016 presidential election, it would have been laid out in 2009 and most of the tactics should have been executed by now. A major part of that strategy would have to include neutralizing the biggest threat to a Roxas victory, which would be Binay.
The thing about political strategy in the Philippines is that the only REAL strategy is to GAME the elections.
Before the advent of the Automated Election Sysem or PCOS system, this was easily done through wholesale electoral fraud — on the level of regions and provinces. Remember “Hello Garci”?
With the automated election systems in place in 2010, shysters in Comelec who used to make a killing by selling votes or the appearance of inducing votes took to selling a way to game the PCOS. That led to a lot of politicians buying PCOS machines, compact flash disks, and radio signal jammers as well as hiring computer hackers.
Up until now there is still an on-going but lower intensity media campaign to demonize the Smartmatic automated election system, possibly so that a case can be made up to change to another system supplier or to change the system all together to one with an element of human intervention in the process of consolidating the votes.
Anyway, assuming that the 2016 elections will take place with the Smartmatic system, the only other way to GAME the elections is through so-called “command votes” where the support of political kingmakers are supposedly “enlisted” to deliver votes on election day.
Between Roxas and Binay, there is a persistent impression that the latter would not only have more political kingmakers on his side, but also stronger relationships with them. Just consider how many decades Binay has spent forging ties with governors and mayors by adopting their towns and cities as “sister cities”, whereby for instance a town or city resident in a Makati sister city can avail of “free hospitalization and medicine”.
The only way Roxas could have countered this would have been to effectively use the DILG to increase the number of his connections and political supporters. This is perhaps one reason why Roxas’ deceased protege, former DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo was so crucial and his demise compelled him to assume the post.
But unlike Robredo, Roxas doesn’t have the kind of political experience that would have given him enough of the insights and finesse to effectively deal with local government executives — enough possibly to avoid that nasty word-war with Tacloban city mayor Alfred Romualdez. Then again, the word war could probably not have been avoided at all and in which case, if Robredo were alive, he could have insulated Roxas from that confrontation.
Going back to Bograd and the off chance that the US control of Philippine politics is true at all, I think that one would be better off buying the Golden Gate bridge because the truth of the matter is that any President of the Philippines will HAVE TO kow-tow to the US Agenda. And if you have to ask me WHY, I’ll have to point out at least one fact of Philippine diplomatic relations with the rest of the world and it is the fact that we simply don’t have the means to protect our own territory.
If we can’t protect our territory, there’s little reason to believe that we can protect our sovereignty. Fer crying out loud! We can’t even protect our own homes or ourselves from robbers!
But don’t take my word for this though, I’m just one of the many Filipino political analysts/commentators. Certainly not a Bograd, not even a Jograd.