The backyard hog raisers to which I belong have been gutted by a year-long price drop, P95 to P98 per kilo at the most. These are farm gate prices way below the production cost of P105 per kilo. Many have closed shop, some are still soldiering on with sow levels of five sows to 10. The suffering, though, is 100 per cent and across all regions.
It has been a miserable year for us. But somewhere, somehow, we find small relief in what is going on in the political arena. That Mr. Roxas, the candidate of the ruling political coalition that is responsible for abetting pork smuggling and excess imports by the food processors, is failing at the polls. And that only an epic collapse of Mr. Binay, Ms. Poe and Mr. Duterte, the competing candidates, will make Mr. Roxas win.
On this problem, Mr. Roxas cannot cite his favorite statistics. The giant hog raisers, which have the capacity to monitor the ports, will just slap him with figures on brazen pork smuggling, details on the ports of entry, and the close to 20 organized smuggling groups that slip in probably rotten and dangerous pork into the country. There is UN trade data that back their smuggling claims. The backyard raisers are not part of this vigilant big group but we appreciate the efforts to expose the shenanigans at the country’s seaports.
What we see as a “tender mercy” is this: If there were 10 stages of political doom, Mr. Roxas’s presidential candidacy is either on the 7th or 8th stage and rapidly sliding into the final stage of defeat. That is not an empty claim but backed by data and empirics.
If we were to use a maritime metaphor, we can truly say that the Aquino-Roxas ship is heavily listing and about to sink. And everybody is jumping overboard.
The mass defection of more than 20 party-list representatives from the Roxas camp to the Poe campaign was the latest bad news for the Roxas campaign. These are party-list groups with a sure following of 275,000 to 500,000 voters, the equivalent of many small provinces. These groups joined the Makabayan bloc that has signed on to the Poe camp. The low-profile ones, which on the surface refuse to align with presidential campaigns, are making secret pacts with the Binay campaign and the Duterte camp.
This trend has been a constant – a move away from the Roxas campaign.
The defections have been an endless source of misery to the Roxas campaign. The reason is this: The Roxas campaign hews to the political orthodoxy of garnering major institutional endorsements. The endorsements are then touted – hyped rather – as proofs of the campaign’s viability and strength. You can just imagine the blow delivered to the campaign by the withdrawal of support from these touted “endorsers.” For one reason or another, the LP basically practices old-style politics, which modern sheen is provided by Mr. Roxas’s Wharton degree and mastery of the development jargon. But after scratching the surface, you will find a presidential campaign eerily similar to the doomed campaigns of Monching Mitra and Joe de Venecia.
How about the “Western Visayan Bloc” that broke away from the LP for another candidate? That move shattered the narrative that Mr. Roxas is dominant in the Visayas region.
Even the so-called pledges of support for Mr. Roxas from regional political heavyweights have to be taken with a grain of salt or at face value. They mean nothing. Look at the allegation that Pampanga, my home province, has turned “yellow.”
The major political leaders in my province are 80 percent sympathetic to the cause of former President Arroyo. That mind-set is the mind-set down to the last ward leader. The “whispering campaign” is about extending support to a presidential candidate not surnamed “Roxas.” I have asked scores of barrage captains and they support another candidate, not Mr. Roxas. My back of the envelope calculation is that Mr. Roxas will land third place in my province and that is a very generous assessment of his chances.
What about the warlords in Northern Luzon who have supposedly professed fealty to Mr. Roxas? Warlords are astute, clever and scheming. They will promise anything to survive and be out of the ire of the current political mandarins.
The truth-telling of the major political players, that they cannot be with Mr. Roxas because he cannot win this one and they have to desert him, painfully converges with the saddest factoid of the Roxas campaign – the polls that show that he has been a non-competitive candidate, a “ poor third” or a “ good fourth “at the most. His impressive CV is lost on voters who, polls show, prefer three competing candidates in Mr. Binay, Ms. Poe and Mr. Duterte.
Mr. Roxas’s candidacy and Mr. Aquino’s legacy are either on the 7th or 8th stage of political doom. For those whose lives have been made miserable by the Bros., that is a sliver of hope. In less than 100 days, Mr. Aquino will exit not with a big bang and victorious campaign but with a whine and a whimper.