Lito Banayo fluff piece on Robredo reveals possible Isko-Leni tandem for 2022

Lito Banayo has been a political affairs adviser since before 1986. He began his political career with the later former Vice President (to former President Cory Aquino) Doy Laurel. To my best recollection, the only time he wasn’t given a government post was during the administration of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA). Banayo had this uncanny ability to insert himself in the campaign of the candidate who eventually wins the Presidential race. During the Aquino administration he was the National Food Authority (NFA) head. Now he is the de facto Philippine ambassador to Taiwan at the Manila Economic & Cultural Office.

The obvious question is, who will Banayo pick for 2022? Banayo makes for good reading every election cycle because he tips off readers of his column about the inner workings of the powers that be the most crucial of all political races. Why this sudden praise piece, “The lady has grace”, for Vice President Leni Robredo published on the Manila Standard? Banayo writes how Robredo had “showed grace” through the years of tumultuous relationship with her boss, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. He writes further…

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What I find quite perplexing is why the President’s spokespersons, de jure as in officially appointed, or de facto, as in self-appointed, find it so easy to disparage every action or statement of the lady, even if first, she is a lady, and second, the words she uses are not at all acerbic compared to theirs.

Banayo hasn’t written much about the VP even in 2015 when she was picked as then Liberal Party presidential candidate Mar Roxas’s running mate. He writes about the “disparate middle forces” who support Robredo which is another euphemism for the Yellows. Interestingly, Banayo suggests that this support base is “not necessarily the so-called ‘dilawans’ to which she has been fairly or unfairly classified by the rabid Duterte die-hards.”

Consider though that the “EDSA Revolution” was largely successful in Metro Manila because of the middle class. The myth of a landslide victory in the Senatorial race of 1987 was proven to be a sham come the Presidential race of 1992. Cory’s anointed only won by a plurality of 23%. That was the race which had the most number of candidates running for President. It was the last attempt for the prominent politicos of the 1960s to take a shot at the highest office in the land.

A source has indicated that Banayo has been picked to run Manila Mayor Isko Moreno’s campaign. This is a surprising development since one would think that he is the logical choice for Senator Ping Lacson should he commit to run for President. It was Banayo who ran Lacson’s 2004 campaign for President. The obvious question now is, is an alliance brewing between Isko and the VP? Or is this just a trial balloon being floated to determine the viability of the tandem? Maybe Grace Poe is reluctant to subject the FPJ brand to another beating if she runs for VP?

At this point, the guessing game is heating up with July just around the corner. Even the President is floating red herrings in the air. He threw in Martin Romualdez in the VP mix yesterday but made it confusing because of his statement that he still has unfinished business. I think the picture will be a bit clearer after the President delivers his last State of the Nation Address (SONA) when Congress reopens in July. We will see politicos who are thinking about running taking advantage of the recess to go around the country to speak to the regional kingpins to get a sense of what kind of support they can expect if they make a commitment to run. Abangan.

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