Aquino, Liberal Party, in near panic

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Eleven months to the May 9, 2016 elections, and with the deadline for the filing of certificates of candidacy just three months away, President Aquino and his Liberal Party are now in near panic, worried that their presumptive candidate, Mar Roxas, has little chance of winning the Presidency.

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Aquino’s camp has also been told that a quick preliminary poll shows that Vice President Jejomar Binay’s satisfaction and voter-preference ratings have gone up after he broke away from his Administration on June 22 and has become its leading critic.

On the other hand, their second choice, Senator Grace Poe, their own lawyers say, could be disqualified for failing the citizenship and residency requirements for the Presidency. “Could,” when the stakes are high, is a frightening word – especially for financiers requiring billions of pesos in funds. Furthermore, Aquino and the Liberal Party can’t stand Senator Francis Escudero, who may not only be Poe’s mentor, but even her svengali.

“Those so-called ‘consultations’ in the past days by Aquino with Grace (Senator Poe) and Chiz (Escudero) are their desperate attempt to read whether Poe could be relied on to protect them, to keep them out of jail in the next administration,” a Liberal Party official said.

Grace with her adviser... or even svengali?

Grace with her adviser… or even svengali?

It is getting to be the consensus in the Liberal Party that Roxas might even land third in the Presidential elections. Or even fourth, going by recent polls showing newcomer Davao Mayor Rodolfo Duterte even overtaking Roxas.

“Do we want a Cory decision, or a Ramos one?” That’s what’s being asked in the party now, an official said.

He was referring to the fact that Cory Aquino junked her ruling coalition’s Ramon Mitra as her candidate and picked Fidel Ramos in 1992. When his time came to endorse a candidate, Ramos, however, picked the party candidate Jose De Venecia, who miserably lost to the popular Joseph Estrada in 1998.

The stakes have become high for Aquino and his Liberal Party associates, as there are obvious cases – the Disbursement Acceleration Plan (DAP) budget hijacking, the Mamasapano massacre, corruption in military purchases, and at the MRT-3 system, among others – that could put them to jail.

An Aquino relative and Roxas ally personally supervised a recent poll so that the respondents – purported to be “randomly” chosen – included those from such areas as Forbes Park, Panay, Negros islands, and Tarlac, known to be sympathetic to the Liberal Party leader.

Yet, even with that intervention, the survey couldn’t lift the Liberal Party leader enough to portray him as having the presidency within range, a source said. “And everyone knows you can cheat in the elections only if the polls show your man has a fighting chance, “ the Roxas ally said.

DILG Secretary Mar Roxas, Senate President Franklin Drilon and President Benigno Aquino 3rd

DILG Secretary Mar Roxas, Senate President Franklin Drilon and President Benigno Aquino 3rd

Roxas’ 10 percent
The latest Pulse Asia survey undertaken May 30 to June 5 showed that only 10 percent of respondents reported they would vote for Roxas for president. While that’s a jump from the 4 percent he got in the March survey, it was less than half the 22 percent leading candidate VP Jejomar Binay got.

Furthermore, as often has been done in the past, the Pulse Asia poll seemed to have been synchronized with the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s banner headlines a few days before and during that survey period. In that period, Roxas’ name and face became prominent for three days as Aquino’s choice for the Presidency.

It was also during that period that the newspaper’s banner headlines reported that the Senate committee had finalized its report on the investigation into allegations of anomalies against Binay in Makati City – with Poe, who is getting to be the newspaper’s candidate as Aquino was in 2010, backing up the report.

What has worried Aquino and the Liberal Party is that despite what has been a most intense character-assassination campaign starting late last year to portray Binay as a crook, the candidate’s satisfaction rating has gone up, bouncing from a low of 35 percent in March 2015 to 42 in June, while his voter-preference rating is at 22 percent, even according to the Pulse Asia report.

Indeed, the hearings in the Senate against him and his son Jejomar Jr. purportedly to investigate charges hurled by senators under Aquino’s thumb have numbered about 50, more than its 36 hearings on the pork barrel scam.

For instance in 44 days last year, more than half of the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s banner stories were about the allegations, portraying them as facts, and not accusations. (See my columns, “A Travesty of Journalism”, Oct. 9, 2014 and “The Inquirer vs Binay,” January 15, 2015). Binay’s denials and evidence of his innocence were relegated to the insider pages.

That kind of barrage would have put Binay in the basement with single-digit ratings, as what happened in the case of Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, and Ramon Revilla. Instead, it demonstrated his strong core of support, now tested that it would likely be intact till the 2016 elections.

While Poe’s ratings have rocketed from just 15 percent in March 2014 to 30 percent in May this year (according to the Pulse Asia polls), her being Aquino’s and his party’s presidential candidate would have its own risks.

First, Roxas – the Prince of the Liberal Party – obviously would blow his top, having already given way to Aquino in 2010. The machinery and funds which the Liberal Party in the last five years have been designed for – even managed by – Roxas, such as the billions of pesos in discretionary funds under the Department of Interior and Local Government he has headed, aren’t easily transferable to Poe. This was the lesson in the 1992 elections, so that one of Ramos’ closest friends reportedly had to sell three of her mansions in Forbes Park to help fund his campaign.

Nonong and Simeon
Lawyers Jose Avelino (“Nonong”) Cruz and former Ombudsman Simeon Marcelo – Roxas’ strategists said to be behind the cases against Binay – are known to be loyal only to him and not to the Liberal Party. They may just withdraw from the political world and concentrate on their law firm, if Poe is anointed Aquino’s candidate. That could result in the total collapse of the cases the Liberal Party have and will hurl against Binay – and that’s practically what they have to boost their candidate’s chances.

What if Roxas commits suicide? “E di pahiya tayo,” a Liberal party Eastern Visayas official even morbidly quipped.

Poe is said to have acquired the backing of an industrial tycoon and the Lopez clan. But that’s all. Worse, Escudero is said to have told financiers that Poe wants contributions to be coursed through him – which has raised the eyebrows of many potential funders.

Second, aside from the inherent, and very real risk that she would be disqualified from running for President even at the height of the campaign period, Poe is politically, and in one major sense, morally, a tabula rasa.

What if she wins, but leaves Aquino and his colleagues to the “wolves? After all, for all her high-moral-ground positioning, she considers the admittedly immoral Joseph Estrada – who was convicted of plunder – as her uncle of sorts, and looks up to him.

What if Escudero, son of a top Marcos technocrat, becomes the power behind the throne? And behind Escudero, of course, would be all the monsters of the Yellow Horde’s world: Danding Cojuangco and Marcos loyalists. Already at this time, Poe has insisted that Escudero accompany her in her meetings with Aquino, and it was Escudero, not Poe, who reported to the media what transpired. A top Liberal partyman asked: Can you imagine a government run by a young brash narcissist?

It seemed to be such a perfect plan in 2010. Roxas would be Vice President, and it would be a walk in the park for him to be President in 2016.

Indeed, as the poet Robert Burns put it long ago, “The best-laid plans of mice and men / Often go awry.”

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36 Comments

  1. joseluis hierbas on

    There are some netizens still in low profile but will come out after the filing of COC.

  2. isidro c. valencia on

    “What if Roxas commits suicide? “E di pahiya tayo,” a Liberal party Eastern Visayas official even morbidly quipped.

    Hinde malayong mangyari. Kasi natalo na siya as Vice President, matatalo pa siya ni POE. MAR umi is really a born loser.

    It is panic time for the Liberal Party while Poe and Chiz are enjoying a “honey moon.”

    PIGNOY and his astray dogs are getting mad (Nauulol na), because of their dilemma (of course De Lima is also a problem), POE or MAR?
    MAR u POEk (marupok) talaga kung magkasama sila.

  3. PNoy only cares about saving himself after his term. He will jettison Mar Roxas just to back a winning candidate who will try to absolve him of his crimes during his presidency. After all, PNoy has never covered Mar’s back. It won’t be the first time he will be shafting Mar.

  4. poy gonzalez on

    Duterte has what all the others lack. It’s time we elect the right leader.

  5. Vic Penetrante on

    The problem is nobody can come up with a name who would surely make a ‘good’ president.

  6. Grace Poe must have been out of the Philippines during the term of Pres. Cory Aquino, and Grace did not know what happened to Cory and the Philippines during Cory’s incumbency. Hindi siguro nasubaybayan ni Grace ang mga kapalpakang nangyari noong panahon ni Cory, at akala ni Grace ay napakadaling maging presidente at magpalakad ng isang bansa. puro blackout noong panahon ni Cory, pinakawalan ang mga nakakulong na communist rebels, etc.

  7. Amnata Pundit on

    The chimpanzees are putting up a show and the humans are lapping it all up. What a great tragedy the yellows have inflicted on this nation. The masters in command of these yellow chimps must be rolling on the floor in laughter.

  8. genesisbughaw on

    Sir,
    It’s not only between the Yellow Bird Party and Black Bird Party of Nognog.
    The Philippine Eagle of Nationalista party coalition will take off it’s a matter of time.
    Abangan…

  9. The common denominator of aquino, roxas, and poe is that they are all weak and indecisive, and escudero is simply a grease monkey, oily and without principles, or loyalty – in both his professional and personal life.

    Poe is a classic and easy victim for narcissist escudero, who preys on malleable and co-dependent women, and who must think that his cash cow has come home, and will fund his new child bride’s excesses.
    Certainly poe must have delusions of grandeur to even think that she could run the country – she couldn’t run a country club.

    Roxas is a political joke, afraid even to open his mouth and without any passion for anything. No wonder he failed in investment banking and has little popularity even in his own party, let alone with voters.
    And roxas’ despicable character is epitomised by his cowardly actions of abandoning his beauty queen girlfriend when she became pregnant, and then neglecting his illegitimate son, whom he only reluctantly admitted to even having when he first ran for the senate and was exposed by the media – he lacks decency, honor, and is certainly not a gentleman. A dimwit and obvious mummy’s boy.

    The country needs a leader with courage, conviction, and capability who can build concensus and has clarity of vision. And doing some real work would help, rather than endless social gatherings, photo ops, and lifestyle magazine articles.

    These guys walk around in a mental fog, only searching for personal validation and self-interest.

    They epitomise 3rd world values and reflect 3rd rate politicians. Not a backbone between them.

    The sad fact is that the philippines, due to culture as much as anything cannot produce leaders – in politics or business – and is lacking in competitive spirit, so ends up as followers and copycats, dependent upon other nations, and without international gravitas or respect. No type ‘a’ personalities in politucs, just personality disorders

    • Hi! wow..very well written piece…you must be a professional writer! Be that as it may, i agree with the analysis..
      Thanks.

    • Thank you for this sir, honest analysis which is really true…

      But most of our voting people were not aware of this.

      Ask permission too, share it on my fb friends.

  10. christinetan on

    At this early, it would appear that the 3 stooges of Pnoy – Coloma, Lacierda and Valte will have their counterpart IF VP Binay wins. Also 2 men and a woman – Tatad, Tiglao and Cacho Olivares who are so rabid in defending Binay and in attacking his foes. Same same.

    • cant call Tatad, Tiglao and Olivares as stooges nor can you compare them with the real tatlong itlog of PNoy. These 3 are well respected writers and independent thinkers. People love to read their columns. The tatlong itlog of PNoy just came from nowhere and will soon be forgotten in a few months after they are no longer in govt.

  11. BS Aquino , Should not endorse anyone at all. If there is a shred of nationalism in his blood . Just allow the Hunger Games to begin !

    The People can vote without any endorsements!

    • apolonio reyes on

      I agree Jane, Since day ONE, after Mar Roxas banned on being appointed after he lost o VP Binay, I suggested thru your paper that he distanced himself from Pnoy as he might follow the footsteps of his mother President Cory when she endorsed Fidel Ramos instead of her party mate then Speaker Ramon Mitra, as history might repeat itself. I wrote that Roxas must be a man of his own and not to depend too much on Pnoy. Now its too late for Mar Roxas as history is catching up on him and that Pnoy and his Liberal party will save first their own neck than support Mar Roxas.
      How I wish that we could return to the two old party convention, Liberal and Nationalista where delegates from the to parties choose their candidates through a convention than a lame duck president endorsing a candidates.

  12. Aquino is in a bind. He traded his support in 2016 to Roxas as a condition to Roxas stepping aside in 2010. Now he has to support Roxas when he is likely to get only 3% of the vote in 2016. The quesltion is only whether Aquino will break his word.

    • Does PNoy have loyalty? He is like his mom who abandoned Mitra in favor of FVR.

  13. The LPs will do everything just to eliminate VP Binay from winning the Presidency. This is how they are now desperate to do dirty politics. They are now so worried about what happened to Sen. Enrile, Estrada and Revilla will also happened to them. These officials will have a day in court come 2016.

  14. P.Akialamiro on

    Whether we like it or not, BBM is the man to beat! Binay has a lot to explain with all the accusations against him as “Corrupt”; Roxas’ chances are gone; and Poe, is disqualified.

    • I agree. BBM even more than Digoy. Despite being the son of the much maligned former President Ferdinand Marcos this man proved to be ‘his own man’ – a man with conviction and sense of purpose, and who consults with the people who have a stake in the outcome of his actions, qualities totally absent from any of the current crop of ‘presidentiables’ and especially from the top man of this current administration. For the long suffering Juan BBM is the hope for redemption.

  15. Odnalor Obirt on

    KARMA IS COMING. I don’t believe that it’s the DAP that makes the downfall of the Liberal Party. I actually like Pnoy and the LP when they lowered the corruption in the Senate (I actually not sure now if it was lowered or became worse). I started to hate Pnoy, his followers and advisers(OPAPP) when they sided with MILF and pushed for the passage of BBL. My hope and my prayer is to send to prisons those who massacred the SAF44, those traitors who drafted the FAB, CAB, BBL & all OPAPP members with Pnoy and those who supported the passage of BBL in the Legislative Branch.

    • Yes I agree they are traitors and they must answer for their treachery at appropriate time. I must add that I am disappointed with our PMA-trained “STAND DOWN” AFP officers. They contributed a big deal in the 44SAF massacre; how could they allow themselves to be dictated upon by a pro-MILF pro Malaysian CinC!! They could’ve known better. They had the training, funded by the people.

  16. Justaskingseriously on

    The Scottish poet Robert Burns is your tocayo. Even your pure filipino native family name has the intuitive ring of the sun that burns. You might as well have titled your column “To A Mouse” and your tocayo’s “best laid schemes” would be apropos to the filipino mouse and american mousie. Scheming robots. “Plans” would be appropriate for non-machiavellians.

  17. Expect the Liberal party is so desperate and will do whatever it takes just to win in the election. Otherwise they will all go to jail…… They are really scared, really really scared…

    • Indeed and they might do the worse – hit simyon, blame the hit on jojo, imprison jojo for murder and aspire for the sympathy votes to go to Senyor Kho Rheena. Will the public bite? Now, the more jojo has to insure that nothing bad happens to simyon.

  18. Johnny Ramos on

    I sincerely believe Grace Poe moment of fame is gone. Her citizenship issue will blow to proportional that she might withdraw at the height of the campaign period or might even by disqualified by the Comelec and affirmed by the SC. Vox populi will never apply to Grace Poe and she could loose big time if she survived legal issues. Only Mar Roxas can saved the LP from humiliations and he be better to let other party member run for the presidency and loose rather than him losing after more 5 years of preparation and it will be reflection on Pnoy presidency. To field Frank Drillon for the presidency will be a better option. This guy can not also win but he is not part of Pnoy’s presidency. At this point it will be VP Binay all the way to presidency unless Bongbong Marcos throw his hat. If this will happen Pnoy have no choice but to support Binay secretly in order not annoy Mar Roxas. Bongbong Marcos can easily beat Binay and Mar Roxas and resurrecting the Ferdinand Marcos against Bongbong will be taboo to the people.

    • Odnalor Obirt on

      Whatever the Liberal Party do and whoever will be their choice for presidential candidate will not win unless they find a complete plan of cheating how to win. It already started with the appointment of that nephew of Aka Iqbal in the COMELEC. This is another reason why majority of us, Filipinos, really hated Pnoy up to the bone. The one and only way to regain the heart of the Patriotic Filipinos to support the LP is to scrap BBL, bring to prison those responsible for the massacre of SAF44 and bring to court those who drafted the FAB, CAB, and BBL.

  19. Ikabod Bubwit on

    Mass dagdag-bawas in the 2016 election means a lot of trouble. It could trigger a constitutional crisis.

  20. None of the above thank you very much.

    Who could possibly run and win that would jail the corrupt liberal party and their willing minions such as De Lima and Ombudsman Morales. Who will make them accountable for protecting the corrupt or who those that did nothing with their positions except enrich themselves ?

  21. Migs Doromal on

    JEJOMAR remains the man to beat. The three clowns in the PNP Custodial Center and their followers will without doubt, cast their lot on Rambotito. So will ERAP in spite of his tantrums lately. That solid base of Jejomar coupled with ERAP’s loyal base will spell DISASTER for the LIBERAL PLUNDERERS (LP) Aquino, Roxas, Abad, and Drilon who will become the new VIPs at the Custodial Center. Nonong Cruz and his financier Buddy Zamora would be wise to pack up and leave if they value sleep. Trillanes, Cayetano, and Pimentel will find themselves the new subject of a new Senate Blue Ribbon witch-hunt after the collapse of the LP led coalition in 2016. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will be allowed to go home under house arrest for humanitarian reasons. Same with the three clowns who cast their lot on Rambotito giving up their quarters for over two years to make way for the new guests.

    That is how this nation will be entertained.

    • WELVIN ABELLON on

      The next president would came from Mindanao and that is RODY DUTERTE! I swear he is…

    • P.Akialamiro on

      Did you forget the ‘solid’ north, the dual citizens (particularly Hawaii) from around the world, the family political leaders in the south, the more comprehensive plan for BBL after interviews of most local groups and family leaders in Mindanao, the more open-minded attitude of open talks as proposed by China and track record of being a Congressman, Governor and Senator (executive and legislative combined) with his own personal “it” or “charisma”? BBM is the man to beat!