Did Mar Roxas Really Hire An American Political Strategist for 2016 Presidential Bid?

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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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jograd dela torreJP 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.

16 Replies to “Did Mar Roxas Really Hire An American Political Strategist for 2016 Presidential Bid?”

  1. “1 in 4 Americans unaware that Earth circles the Sun”
    abs-cbn today

    The other 3 thought the moon was made of cheese.

    US and philippines deserve each other

      1. You have to wonder what brought BOTH the President of the Republic and the cabinet secretary responsible for the national police running to SM North EDSA while ignoring the bus mishap involving the Don Mariano Transit Corporation which happened at around the same time. The 18 victims in that tragedy lost their lives. That means families lost their loved ones; more importantly, they probably lost their breadwinners. And yet, the President and the DILG Secretary consider it more important to address a smash-and-grab that had minimal impact on a company that is covered by insurance.

        If they weren’t overly obsessed with projecting a take-charge, in-control, “macho-man” image, they might have realised the ordinary people who were killed in the bus tragedy are more likely to need government intervention than the Sy family. Moreover, it exposes a number of deficiencies in the Aquino administration’s regulatory agencies responsible for public safety. See if Paul Bograd can spin those shenanigans into something positive.

  2. The US connection is an influential component in philippine elections, and most probably the only area where roxas currently has the advantage over binay.
    It doesn’t deliver direct votes per se, but does give access to skills, resources, and technology which can potentially be exploited. It can also help to portray some-one of more gravitas and international acceptability, and can bring some US flavoured temptation/crumbs to the table for voters.( the covert role of the CIA in at least 2 presidential elections in the philippines is well documented)

    Malacanan has a sizeable contingent of mckinsey consultants ( am pleased i chose to work for arthur andersen), and pnoy aquino makes extensive use of US speechwriters, which ensures US input to thinking and policy, as and when necessary, but also explains why there is such weakness from pnoy on domestic issues – the US isn’t interested – with one exception, so no surprise the strongest messages/speeches have been on reproductive health, testing/goading china, US Bases, which is the real goal of US, ( and by ramping up the tension the US will now have an easy path to get what it wants) etc. and why pnoy’s speeches so often read like obama’s, but delivered with all the finesse and panache of a monkey scratching his nuts.

    Having said that i think both binay and roxas will struggle in 2016 for different reasons, and the most critical decision will be their respective running mates with the Grace poe effect being a key factor, depending on her intervening performance. If she is seen as the person to achieve FoI, she would be a shoe-in, but maybe not just as vice-president. That could be a two-edged sword for the current administration, since the aquino strategy is to maintain power/influence until another aquino can be floated in 2022. No surprise that paul aquino is also a mar roxas’ advisor. Grace poe could break the cycle if she is strong willed, independent, and not so beholden or part of the trapo scene, but maybe too inexperienced, but also difficult to attack in traditional filipino political style.

    The bigger sadness is that the US plays any part in the elections. Roxas will certainly mean closer links to US, not national independence,identity. Roxas will also be batting for the corporate world, not filipinos. He would certainly continue the current oligarch business model, and dynastic political rule. That hasn’t worked, and will not work. And who would want korina sanchez as first lady!

    There is no such thing as a free lunch.

    Dependence, co-dependence, or independence.
    Oligarch or free market economy

    Fight or flee. We know what cory aquino and pnoy aquino did. About time people looked for a strong leader, not a weak follower.

    1. The way I figure it, most of us are really comfortable with oligarchic rule.

      I mean, if most peoples’ real concerns are centered around living in comfort till old age or attain a level where we could live in comfort, then I think that if you have enough talent and make good of opportunities that come your way, you can probably achieve that.

      Then again… It ain’t paradise for a lot of people here in PH and that’s the thing that has lots of peoples hearts bleeding.

    2. @Libertas….If you want to bad-mouth the USA then where would the Philippines be when the next typhoon hits Leyte or any other part of the country?

      and what would you do then? if you lived there? Wait for your be-loved countrymen to come to your rescue?Look to your beloved “Strong leader”? Thats a laugh…and then some.

      You have nothing good to say about the USA, but your own countries political leaders stand by and watch as relief efforts are handled by..who else? The USA.So before you go biting the hand that rescues the country why not try to be grateful for the fact that at least the USA shows up when there is a disaster, unlike your own government.

      Your comment about Americans thinking the Moon is made of cheese could easily be turned around on Filipino’s not being too bright as well. Do you do such things just to pump up your own ego? Silly flip, YOU wish you were an American.

      YOU might as well face the facts, if the USA sneezes the Philippines catches pneumonia and that the countries gov’t. is beholden to the USA’s gov’t. regardless of whatever a guy like Dufuss Rodriguez says….and BTW, you do not have it all figured out because you ain’t that bright.”HUH”,U say! “WTF?”.
      It doesn’t matter who the President of the Philippines is, it just doesn’t.”We need a Strong leader”,HA! Filipino’s could elect a dog-catcher President and you would get the same results….the people that rule the Philippines do as they do because they are backed by people who are bigger than the Filippine people. The little masquerades they have with ‘blue-ribbon’ panels (“to get to the bottom of things”) is laughable as well as predictable and are for the peoples ‘illusion'(and your obviously one of them) that they actually live in a democracy, HA! Yes, that truly is a laugh…figure it out yet? See YOU at the next elections,huh?
      BWAH HA HA AHA…LOL!

  3. Paul bograd has a solid record, but i doubt much change out of 40 million pesos. ( small beer in the scheme of things, but how does comelec treat that expense! I guess they never even know about it)
    Bograd is one of the many US political mercenaries past their sell by date in US, and touting their ‘trade’ around asia in general, and philippines in particular.
    can he turn a sows ear into a silk purse.
    pigs will be pigs, so good luck.

  4. Na Bograd na si Roxas. Binay is boring and appears to be clueless. It’s the Age of Information Technology. We , Filipinos, should use this technology. To inform our fellow Filipinos; and to educate ourselves.
    The Hocus PCOS machine is now, being dusted out, and is ready for use. The Computer Hackers are ready to do their jobs…

    Mr. Roxas is also ready to direct traffics; and carry Onions or Garlics on his shoulder to pander for votes.

    What stupid politicians, we have…they don’t deserve our votes, not even our attentions.

  5. US political strategists have been around since Quirino. Bograd knows the festive nature of Philippine political campaigning, he once assisted Mitra and Erap. US campaign strategists could be CIA assets.

  6. Don’t vote for politician that might have a conflict of interest such as landlords.Family Dynasty, Members of monopolized corporation (Oligarch). Don’t vote politician by their parties. I prepared an independent that’s not linked to corrupted political parties. Also don’t vote to a famous person such actor or actress that will rely on advisers to run the govt.It is true that most Catholic countries are corrupt govt, Phil is one of them.The Media writes their stories depend on how much is the payment whether the story was true or not.What happened to Tacloban is a warning to other provinces that will also happen to them if they don’t submit their allegiance to you know who.I believe Pnoy did his best to pass those failed law in congress during his term in the senate but probably lacking of loop holes is the caused.We knows that most laws they created was made intended not to be clear
    to create corruptions.

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