The question is an obvious one and it is largely because no one really expects Secretary of Interior and Local Government Manuel “Mar” A. Roxas II to win the 2016 Presidential elections.
For the last couple of months, he was so far down in the surveys that some old guys in Ateneo were wondering over some inexpensive whisky at BGC if he was still in the race or wondering if he was in the right race at all. He has no connection with the masa, they said. People remember him most for the Yolanda fiasco, they said. His replacement at the DoTC, that descendant of Emilio Aguinaldo, is the incarnation of the Aquino Administration’s do-nothingness.
The rest of the conversation about Mar happened in between copious amounts of yada-yada-yada… Intermittent orders to pass the bottle of single malt… The repeated requests to order another steak to make pika-pika (and it was a small overdone steak which I mistook for tapa)… And supplications to “talk more business and someone please take notes about what we’re talking about because we’ve had a shot too many of the good stuff.”
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At two in the morning, the conclusion was Mar won’t win and the other supporting arguments given was all but a mumble.
And yet, yesterday, news about Pulse Asia’s most recent survey results would seem to confirm the drunken conclusion so many nights ago. (Let me add here that I am not a great believer of political surveys because we all know that there are surveys meant to be publicized and surveys that really tell the candidate where he stands in the race.)
Senator Grace Poe has topped a survey of potential presidential candidates in 2016, overtaking her close rival, Vice President Jejomar Binay, a Pulse Asia poll, which was released Thursday, showed. In the survey conducted from May 30 to June 5, Poe was chosen by 30 percent of the 1, 200 respondents nationwide while Binay only had 22 percent.
And as expected, Mar came at the bottom of the heap.
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte came in third with 15 percent. Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas III, the presumptive standard-bearer of the ruling Liberal Party, was tied for fourth with former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada as they registered 10 percent each.
On the surface of things, people would think that Poe is now the person to beat, Binay’s presidential preference ratings would slide down further, and the rest of the people named in the survey would end up as also-rans.
Then again, here’s the thing… If the Philippine Presidential elections is a race, it’s a long race.
It’s really kind of a marathon and in such a long race, the battle really happens in the last few kilometers before the finish line. That’s when only the strongest and fastest runners emerge in the lead. Then, among the lead runners, you have to figure out which ones are really exhausted and which ones are still holding back some extra push.
Applying this analogy to the 2016 Presidential race, it seems the early race leader (Binay) has lost steam and quite a lot of it. All the negative publicity associated with all the highly publicized corruption allegations might have something to do with it, but I’d bet more money on the freeze order unleashed by AMLA on Binay’s bank accounts. Whether or not the AMLA freeze order actually managed to seize loot, you can bet that it is highly probable that Binay’s campaign finances have been thrown in disarray to some degree and politicians, as a rule of sorts, avoid spending their own money for their campaigns.
When it comes to Senator Grace Poe, it seems like she’s a solid contender for the Presidency, except for the citizenship issue and a possible court case questioning the legitimacy of her election win in 2013. All in all, that can either mean Poe is going to be a non-starter or if she manages to surge from the starting line, any victory at the polls would be encumbered by an electoral protest case.
I’m going to skip Duterte and Erap for now, and move on to Roxas already.
As I’ve previously mentioned, almost everyone I have talked to has dismissed Roxas as a possible winner in the 2016 elections and at this point, it still doesn’t seem like he is if you just look at the survey standings. Then again, the word coming from his communications team is that his 10 percent rating actually represents a steep acceleration.
Here’s part of a text message I got from a friend:
…regarding Pulse Asia survey, from 4% tumaas si Sec Mar ng 10%. Sec Mar got the highest growth rate at 150% higher than Grace.
Trajectory is clear. Lahat ng areas tumaas siya, NCR Visayas Mindanao.
Comparing March vs June vs QoQ growth rate;
Binay: 29% to 22% = -24%
Mar : 4% to 10% = +150%
Poe: 14% to 30% = + 114%
Duterte : 12% to 15% = 25%
Amazing, yes. Congratulations! Good job!
Then again, just to get real here, Grace is at 30% and Mar winning over Grace can only happen if:
1. Mar’s presidential preference survey rating continues to grow by 150% for the next two quarters.
2. Grace’s presidential preference survey rating loses steam substantially in the next two quarters.
Of course, that is not barring the possibility of Grace not filing her certificate of candidacy.
Well, anyway, how things will actually turn out is still anybody’s guess at this point and I am not great at guessing.