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Tag Archives: 2016 philippine presidential election

Escudero’s political star fades

Senator Francis Escudero’s once bright political star seems to have faded significantly in the aftermath of the 2013 senatorial elections. Once considered a close contender to fellow administration candidate Loren Legarda for the number one spot, Escudero ultimately finished fourth in the race.

Bad publicity caused by his falling out with former president Joseph Estrada and his spat against the parents of his girlfriend Heart Evangelista obviously hurt his candidacy. Iglesia ni Cristo’s decision not to endorse him also added insult to the injury.

chiz escudero

Senator Francis Escudero

 

 

Having endorsed Escudero in 2007, one can’t help but wonder why he was junked by the influential religious group this time around. One former high ranking politician who’d been endorsed by the INC before told The Filipino Scribe that Escudero’s vote to convict former Chief Justice Renato Corona may have been a factor.

Escudero tried to gloss over the INC snub, saying in a statement that he remains highly respectful of INC despite not getting their nod. Nevertheless, for INC to refuse to endorse a sure winner like him illustrates the difficulties he might face if he runs in 2016.

Is there a chance for him to be tapped as a vice presidential candidate? Escudero endorsed then-Makati Mayor Binay and not then-Senator Mar Roxas two weeks before the 2010 vice presidential elections. Roxas’ circle, particularly his wife, is not likely to forget that easily.

Can he instead be Binay’s running-mate? It depends on Binay’s biggest political benefactor: Joseph Estrada. Many believe that Estrada wants Binay to tap his son Jinggoy as a political payback. Had Estrada not tapped Binay as his running-mate, he probably would never be a major player in national politics. Given all these realities, it can be said that Escudero’s political future looks in danger. Quo vadis, Chiz?

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Grace Poe 2016?

Grace Poe’s emergence as a senatorial frontrunner is a surprise, since Loren Legarda has long been perceived as the leader according to surveys. Poe denied Legarda the chance of being the first Filipina in Philippine political history to top the senatorial race thrice. This can have implications for the 2016 race, too.

Had Legarda emerged on top again, she’s likely to be considered as a potential presidential contender even if she has ruled out the possibility. Legarda have a long history together since the former broadcaster was FPJ’s 2004 running-mate.

Poe’s strong showing shows the enduring strength of her father’s political brand. This momentum can be translated to a possible run for vice president or vice president.

Poe is the perfect candidate. Everyone, from Iglesia ni Cristo to the leftist Makabayan coalition to LAKAS-KAMPI, endorsed her candidacy. Despite officially running under the administration banner, she has strong ties to the opposition United Nationalist Alliance. As said in other reports, she is essentially a consensus candidate.

grace poe 2016

Mark Madrona and Senator-elect Grace Poe-Llamanzares

Her two campaign ads can be summed up in one sentence – I am the daughter of Fernando Poe Jr. …… and Susan Roces. Her ads may be ridiculous, but as one observer pointed out, she is merely sticking to her main campaign message.

There’s no doubt about Poe’s intelligence (a key issue raised against FPJ in 2004) and good nature. She’s extremely likable. And she managed to maintain that by largely avoiding controversial issues.

Asked about her work as chair of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board in a debate, she put in in the context of protecting Filipinos from inappropriate content like, saying the media plays a big role in shopping the minds of people. That’s an intelligent answer that is not likely to offend anyone. Now, what is her position about the reproductive health bill, for instance?

I see her as a good running-mate to either Vice President Jejomar Binay (although Estrada probably prefers Jinggoy to be on the ticket) or Interior Secretary Mar Roxas (the goodwill generated by Poe’s alliance with the Liberal party may seal the deal). Poe can reuse her main theme for her 2013 senate bid – to fulfill her father’s quest to lead the nation. Won’t that be an excellent campaign narrative (th Aquinos tried and tested it before)?

Don’t be surprised to hear chants of Grace Poe 2016 soon. The field for the 2016 presidential and vice presidential elections are not likely to be settled until mid-2015. Many things can happen between now and then, but in case Grace Poe indeed runs, you read it first here.

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On Team PNoy’s campaign ad

Three weeks after its rival United Nationalist Alliance launched a campaign ad twitting the administration’s “daang matuwid” mantra, the ruling Liberal Party (LP) came out with an ad presenting their twelve senatorial bets with President Benigno Aquino III himself introducing each candidate. Watch the 45-second video below:

“Sa daang matuwid, marami ang gustong sumali. Pero meron ding nagpapanggap lamang,” Aquino warned in the advertisement. This is in direct reference to politicians previously allied with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who are now in his camp.

Aquino then introduced his bets as individuals the public can truly trust (“Ang siguradong mapagkakatiwalaan…”). After introducing all twelve candidates in alphabetical order, Aquino declared: “Mga tunay na tuwid sa daang matuwid!” A male narrator then quips “Daang matuwid, mag-ingat sa ‘di tunay” just before the ad ends.

The president’s “daang matuwid” slogan was first used during the 2010 presidential elections (watch the video here). This message resonated effectively for an electorate tired of the corruption scandals that hounded the Arroyo administration for nine years.

It also explains why three years into office, Aquino is still very adamant in drawing contrast between him and his predecessor (for example, he hit Arroyo yet again during the LP’s proclamation rally last February 12). And although Aquino’s continued attacks on Arroyo makes him sound like a broken record, he remains popular.

team pnoy 2013

President Aquino with the twelve administration senatorial candidates dubbed as “Team Pnoy.” (Credits: Albay Gov. Joey Salceda)

According to a January 19 to 30, 2013 survey by polling firm Pulse Asia, Aquino retains a 66% trust rating among Filipinos. This is twelve points lower than his November 2012 rating, this approval rating is still something that most head of government can only dream of. United States President Barack Obama for instance has an approval rating of 52% although he is only less than a month into his second term.

If the administration coalition is capitalizing on Aquino’s popularity to ensure victory in the 2013 polls, the 2007 midterm election under Arroyo was a different story. As an example, Arroyo neither made an appearance in TEAM Unity’s coalition ad and nor was she mentioned at all. See it below:

The campaign ad of Team PNoy is interesting in many angles. Noticeable is the decision of Nacionalista Party candidates Alan Peter Cayetano, Antonio Trillanes IV, and Cynthia Villar to not wear yellow in the advertisement. Speaking to Rappler.com, Cayetano explained that this is their way of retaining their identity even though they are coalition partners with the LP. “Out of respect, instead of wearing our own color (orange), we’ll wear our neutral color,” Cayetano said.

A similar observation has been made about Mar Roxas, Aquino’s 2010 vice presidential candidate. Instead of wearing yellow, Roxas sought to make himself standout by wearing blue in public appearances.

In a report by Vera Files, political strategist Malou Tiquia commented that in doing so, Roxas “was more of Mr. Palengke than a partner of Noy (Aquino).” In contrast, Roxas’ opponent Jejomar Binay seemed more than willing to associate himself with the Aquinos as evidenced by this ad for him by Senator Francis Escudero.

Aquino’s main message that some politicians are merely riding on his administration’s anti-corruption drive may be true because of the bandwagon mentality. However, it makes him sound like a demagogue and a hypocrite.

Not all of his party mates are stain-free, and this includes his allies in Palawan who are involved in the Malampaya fund mess and his shooting buddy former Interior undersecretary Rico E. Puno. Aquino himself is not immune to the realities of politics of convenience. How does he explain his endorsement of Mrs. Villar, the wife of the man he himself has accused of corruption just three years ago?

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