The arguments that favor a Grace Poe vice presidential run under the LP are many and tempting. She will crush any and all opposition. A “ walk in the park, ” that is how easy her vice presidential quest would be. In fact, after filing her certificate of candidacy, Ms. Poe can do anything that she wants to do, including planning for the curtains of her future VP office or scouting for new office fixtures.
Voters have crowned her vice president this early. Her victory is a settled issue.
Another plus. She will not go through the usual dread of raising campaign funds. She will not owe anybody and she will clear the elections debt-free and IOU-free. In fact, should she decide to accept contributions, everything will be “net” as she need not spend a single peso for her VP run. The term “ inevitable” is an understatement if the plan of Ms. Poe is just to settle for the vice presidency.
Another plus. The political coalition that adopted her in her 2013 senatorial run will remain intact. Frank Drilon and Edgar Erice will be in Cloud Nine as the tandem that will carry the LP-led coalition will be Roxas-Poe, not the other way around.
If her presidential candidate, Mr. Roxas, wins she will have a hand in shaping the cabinet of that Roxas administration — plus a hand in shaping the various policy priorities and programs. Mr. Aquino, grateful for the “ pagpaparaya” of Mr. Roxas, allowed Mr. Roxas to practically run government and be its public face. There are very few concessions that Mr. Roxas would not give to Ms. Poe in case their tandem wins in 2016.
If her friend and adviser, Senator Escudero , wants to be justice of the Supreme Court after his senate stint , Ms. Poe can make that happen under a Roxas administration .
But here is the rub. A presidential run of Mr. Roxas against opposition leader Jejomar Binay will be a rerun of the 2010 elections. In 2010, Mr. Binay was not given a Chinaman’s chance to win that vice presidential elections . She pole-vaulted over Senator Legarda, then over Mar Roxas to win that election. It was the biggest shocker of any election in contemporary times.
The 2016 elections will have Mr. Binay as president and Ms. Poe as vice president in case Ms. Poe opts for the vice presidency and will not do what is expected of her – go for the jugular and seek the presidency. That is what polling says – nobody can compete against Mr. Binay except Ms. Poe.
Ok, why should she run for president and forget all about the “ walk-in-the-park” path to the vice presidency? The reasons are more compelling.
The first reason? For herself .
Even with Ms. Poe’s clout as vice president , a vice president is not like the real thing – the president of the realm. I hate quoting what John Nance Garner thought of the vice presidency but it is worth repeating – a pitcher of warm spit. A spare tire. Did you see the recent TV footage of Joe Biden standing to the right of President Obama as Mr. Obama asked for global support for the deal with Iran? He looked like a miserable spare tire.
Would she want to look like a miserable spare tire for six years? A Philippine vice president is not even headquartered close to the center of power. He or she is exiled far away, far from where life-and-death decisions for the republic are being made. The VP HQ is by the Bay not by the Pasig.
Every politician with a national profile wants to be president. There are exceptions like Elizabeth Warren of the US. Or Sonny Angara who just wants to focus on legislation. The rest lives and breaths for the day they can run for the highest office. Ms. Poe, clearly, does not have underwhelming ambitions. Plus, she has the polling numbers.
Speaker Belmonte spoke of her presidential chances in very glowing terms: unstoppable. We forgot about this. She was vetted by Mr. Sycip, whose body of words counts a lot in a country that worships the rich and the successful, (though I , and a few others, don’t buy that crap about the wisdom of the Very Serious People. )
2016 is her time. 2016 is her season. She knows that. She has read Ecclesiastes .
A Binay versus Poe contest, competitive in every sense, is the mano y mano fight that voters would prefer to take place in 2016.
Ms. Poe’s camp would call the contest like this : the sinner versus the saint.
Mr. Binay’s camp will label it this way. The kanin-baboy gatherer versus the daughter, the unica hija, in fact, of the King and Queen ( of the movies, of course.)
A Binay-Poe contest, this is another plus, will run along the narratives of a long-running, addictive, telenovela.
Ms. Poe might be tempted to take on the offer of a “ six-year apprenticeship. “ In her case, that is not the realistic case. It is 2016 or never.