Here’s a timely reminder to all political “experts” out there. Philippine ‘elections’ are really all about winnability. Specifically, at this time in particular, who’s gonna WIN in the 2016 presidential elections. So far there is only one horse running the race — current Vice President Jejomar Binay. So unless someone steps up to mount a credible challenge, Binay will win.
Binay commands a strong following amongst the Philippines’ masses of voters. But he also cops a lot of flak from pundits both in mainstream and ‘alternative’ media. The question to ask ourselves is quite confronting, nonetheless:
How much of the Vote are these pundits in mainstream and ‘alternative’ media able to influence?That remains to be seen. While political chatter on social media surrounding the Binay circus may be intense, the chatter amongst Filipinos overall paints a different profile of what is nationally “trending”. Much of what interests Filipinos at the moment remains pretty much inconsequential to political outcomes that matter. So the best strategy Binay and his handlers can take up is to go dark (pardon the pun) on the issue of the Makati City Hall building and the Batangas property and work harder at traditional campaign — i.e., making the rounds, shaking hands, kissing babies, etc. It’s the old political drill any 72-year-old traditional politician should be quite familiar with.
This, Binay spokesman and Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla echoes in his official statement to the press:
“Now is not the time for talk but for action. The Vice President realized that engaging a debate with Senator Trillanes is a disservice to the millions who still have to recover from the Yolanda tragedy,” Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla, Binay’s spokesperson for political concerns, said in a press statement.
He added that Binay is prioritizing the country over himself, “recovery over bickering, the people over himself.”
“He will be in the Visayas next week putting all his efforts into the task of housing given to him by the President. The truth of the allegations is now in the hands of the Ombudsman,” Remulla said.
Indeed, in that space, Binay has a proven track record. He is a master of the subtleties of effective epal campaign, a brilliant name placement artist, and a proven dynasty builder. The results of all this hard work are in plain sight all over the place. Suffice to say, no one from the current crop of Filipino traditional politicians who are likely to challenge Binay in the coming elections have carved out head space within the collective psyche of Filipino voters that is anywhere half as big as what Binay currently enjoys there.We may as well call Binay the imminent incumbent, and those who oppose him, the Opposition. So what is the Opposition’s position against Binay the incumbent? Cue in sound of chirping crickets.
Other than the noise Mutineer-turned-‘senator’ Antonio Trillanes IV is drumming up to keep the fire in his Senate “inquiry” burning, the Opposition is loud in the way an empty steel drum rings when hit by stones. It can even be said that electoral politics is plumbing new depths. In the past, winnability was the dirty word and the politics surrounding that doctrine reflected the focus of doing anything and everything to win an election even at the expense of the triumph of ideas and platforms. Today, however, with the Opposition utterly bankrupt of winnable candidates, it has become all about destroying the winnable — essentially the only strategy left to those who seek to stop a Binay presidency.
The demonisation of Binay has all but distracted the public from the reality of those who oppose him — that they lack a winnable candidate. The only thing that unites them is a personality issue — their common dislike for Binay. Take Binay out of the equation and they will likely re-direct their claws at one another.
And that is why Binay is good for Philippine politics. He is the man to beat. And because he is a very strong winnable in the coming elections, his presence in the race will force the Opposition to shape up. Whether or not that Opposition is up to that challenge remains to be seen.
Abangan ang susunod na kabanata.
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