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Wednesday, May 29, 2024


“If they cocoon from the public eye like Gibo Teodoro did in 2010 for 12 years at that, it will be difficult to resurrect in 2028”

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This early, politics has become the useless topic of the political “marites.”

After online surveys like newbie Tangere came up with a little-noticed survey on would-be senatorial candidates for the mid-term elections, Arnel Ty who is an LPG-businessman cum politician, commissioned old-timer SWS to come up with findings on two items: one, a survey on the 2025 senatorial race, and next, public response to the question of who would be the “best leader to succeed PFRM Jr. as president in 2028”.

The field work was done from April 15 to 18 with the usual 1,200 respondents randomly selected nationwide.

It is roughly 18 months before candidates for 12 seats in the Senate file their COCs with the Comelec.

It will be more than four years from the research before candidates for president file the same.

As a look-see into potential senatorial candidates with high name recall and their current acceptability is concerned, the survey presents an early indicator, though a lot of things can yet happen between now and October 2024.

The SWS senatorial survey is puzzling, in the sense that huge gaps among the personalities’ voter preferences are concerned.

Pacquiao and Revilla lead Tito Sotto, Bong Go and Manny Villar considerably, the next batch being Lapid, Bato and Imee Marcos with near numbers, and Erwin Tulfo, PRRD, Lacson and Pia Cayetano hogging the last four slots with almost similar numbers.

Because the gap between the 12th slot (Pia) and the 13th (Isko) and everybody else is too big, SWS lumped them together as getting the 13th to 31st probable ranking.

Then again, PRRD is not running for senator. The man has retired gracefully, and it is not in his character.

Manny Villar, according to two senators, were told by Sen. Cynthia, whose term limits end in 2025, that her husband will not seek to replace her, and would instead concentrate on the family business empire, while she runs for mayor of Las Pinas against her niece, the incumbent.

Re-electionist Francis Tolentino per SWS at this time is at number 20, but the Blue Ribbon Committee is a high profile perch from which, properly handled, he is likely to be re-elected.

Tito Sotto is likely to run, and so is the Pacman, while Ping Lacson and Gringo Honasan, of the so-called “macho bloc,” are still in retirement mode. But then again, politics is a “fever in the blood.”

In short, “masikip” ang senatorial chances for newcomers and those previously rejected by the electorate. There are seven re-electionists plus quite a number of re-runs.

What is more talk of the “marites” is the unaided look-see at an election that is a little less than 1,800 or so days away.

To begin with, 41 percent of SWS respondents do not know who they would prefer, or are waiting for the tea leaves to settle in their cup of choice.

28 percent prefer the vice-president if elections were held now, with her stronghold among the Mindanao and Bisaya voters holding forth.

Second-placer Sen. Raffy Tulfo, distant at 11 points, is the man to watch. He scores respectably in the double digits in NCR and Balance Luzon.

Leni Robredo maintains his Bicol and Western Visayas voters, for now. Everybody else with low single digits will have four years to show their wares, or settle for the vice-presidency with Inday Sara.

Raffy Tulfo is himself a Mindanaoan, although for far too long, a resident of NCR.

Sen. Imee would be an all-female tandem with the vice-president, but then again, there have been so many “firsts” in our contemporary political history, so nothing should come as a surprise in October 2025, or even the “substitution” date, should Comelec yet allow it, which I hope not.

Is there a highly performing, nationally known mayor or governor at this point, who may have moist eyes on the presidency?

At the moment, there is no one in the horizon. Perhaps the feisty Cebu governor, Gwen Garcia, but her daughter, DOT Sec. Frasco’s BFF is no less than Inday Sara.

Can a speaker of the House beat the odds, and get the plum post, assuming there is no change in the 1987 Constitution? Monching Mitra, Joe de Venecia and Manny Villar all faltered in their quest.

What about the Senate, until Ferdinand Marcos Sr. and martial law, the breeding ground for the presidency?

That breeding ground tradition has also gone to pot.

Cory was a widow of a political martyr.

FVR was a soldier and defense secretary.

Erap was a senator, true, but he was a vice president with an actor’s colorful narrative when he ran for president in 1998.

GMA succeeded the hapless Erap through a political coup from her elected vice-presidency after six years as senator.

PNoy was a senator, true, but it was the death of Cory which catapulted him to become a presidentiable.

Duterte was the first city mayor from distant Davao to capture the nation’s imagination, and won big over three other well-known and strong contenders: Mar Roxas, Grace Poe and VP Jojo Binay.

People voted for PFRM Jr. not because they recalled his senatorial performance, but because the Marcos “brand” was well resurrected through years of careful planning and good marketing, no matter how the “pinklawans” label it as “fake.”

Anyone with moist eyes for the presidency should study very carefully the lessons gleaned from several candidacies – from Cory to PFRM Jr.

Each presidential contest, however, is one of image in the public eye plus hard work, strategy where all bases are covered, and properly crafted communications.

And in the present state of things, with a multi-party system and ground rules that keep changing, money becomes the all-too-important tool to package the above.

And that is where the few mega-rich oligarchs rule.

Though relatively of little import at this time, the SWS survey commissioned by former party-lister Arnel Ty who, along with former Speaker and Reporma party president Pantaleon Alvarez, supported Ping Lacson then switched at the last moment to Leni Robredo, should make the names listed start thinking about how they can best utilize the 2025 mid-term elections as the right stepping stone to 2028, whether as president or vice-president.

If they cocoon from the public eye like Gibo Teodoro did in 2010 for 12 years at that, it will be difficult to resurrect in 2028.

Still, it’s too early to think politics, with the Philippine economy still wobbly, the war in Ukraine still boiling, the Taiwan Strait simmering, grinding poverty worsened by persistent inflation, and the world economy teetering in the brink of recession.

Watch the economy first, “stupid.”

(Editor’s Note: “The economy, stupid” is a phrase coined by James Carville in 1992, and often quoted from a televised quip by Carville as ‘It’s the economy, stupid.’ Carville was a strategist in Bill Clinton’s successful 1992 presidential campaign against incumbent George H. W. Bush.)


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