• For Binay to lose


    Several weeks back in February, The Manila Times’ columnists had lunch with the Vice President. While we were waiting, a tour of the infamous Coconut Palace was made.

    Interestingly, the place has been converted into the official residence of the Vice President.

    The Coconut Palace remains an architectural wonder and for those interested in history, the place has several art works that truly represents the Filipino pride.

    The lunch was not your typical catered gathering. The food warmers were on your foil food containers placed on food holders. There was the famous pancit of the Vice together with three viands and rice. Dessert was halo-halo. Nothing ostentatious there and truly Pinoy.

    There were twenty or more columnists and we were around a huge, massive wood table placed in the center of the meeting hall. As the conversation progressed, I observed the Vice and his demeanor was just like when he was a mayor. Not much has changed. Still, the soft and fading voice was there, despite the microphone (we were straining to hear his words) but the handgrip was firm and solid. He would giggle one time and break into a smile then be focused and direct in responding to questions propounded. The questions covered the full spectrum from his 2016 plans, running mate, housing, foreign relations, peace process, relationship with President Aquino III, work ethic and a lot more.

    My takeaways from the meeting are: the Vice President is a loyal ally of the President; if he is needed by the President, he will be there; the Vice President is valued by the President (VP got his official residence, an increased budget for the OVP; given the housing portfolio as well as point person for OFW concerns, among others); the Vice President plays a major and vital role in the remaining 841 days of the Aquino Presidency; the economy is important to him that is why he wants an economist for his ticket but he will concentrate on jobs and more inclusive growth; the VP is ready and anything is possible in politics.

    In my book, Binay is ahead of everyone positioning for 2016. He has maintained a safe but watchful eye on the developments at the national and local levels. He does his job. He has several key people in his team that have upped the organization and mobilization and I heard this is up to the community level already. He said that PDP-Laban could be split, giving PDP to Sen. Koko Pimentel and holding on to Laban. That decision tells you how good a strategist the VP is. It was a wise move (Laban has history and PDP brand is really Pimentel’s) and talks of launching a political party by Independence Day 2014 is a political statement that would redefine the political landscape before the 2nd to the last SONA of the President. Binay is all about timing but then again, his taking the cudgels for Sen. Jinggoy Estrada and Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile is nothing surprising. People who understand measured capacity would know. Those who are against the VP kept hammering on corruption issues, admittedly, the weakest spot in his arsenal. Add to that the Dasma episode of Makati Mayor Junjun; the issue on political dynasty and the dismissed-recently revived corruption case against the VP’s wife. But then again, with Binay, governance has not been an issue.

    At the rate the political pinball is hitting the so-called Three Kings of May 2013, things will heat up early and tandems will be tested. As I said, anything is possible in politics, just like a JOMAR is possible. Yes, Juan, a Binay-Roxas team up. Again, this is not something I came up with but all the columnists who attended the lunch heard it. My initial reaction was a raised eyebrow. I guess even as I was farthest from the VP, he probably saw my body reaction and like a sage added, “anything is possible.” Indeed, he speaks from experience.

    Come to think of it. Names have been bandied around over the weekend. Who came up with such pairings is par for the course. Why release it to media this early is all about strategy. Even the Cayetano reverie about preparing, coming out with ads this early and the like are all part and parcel of testing the waters. There was the Binay-MVP (really a Php5 Billion donation???) initial buzz. But seriously, why would a sitting Vice President team up with a businessman who is into highly regulated utilities? Then another pitch: a Binay-Meloto, Mar-Chiz, Cayetano-Trillanes. Who ever authored those pairings clearly had one thing in mind: the negatives of the VP. Binay must be that strong to move early, to float tandems and glaringly present the contrast.

    Now there are other pairings not being mentioned, such as the Ping-Poe (just like the game pingpong) and BongBong-Bong and the mad rush to secure a yes from the Batangas governor. Some are saying the PDAF has damaged Sen. Bong Revilla and Sen. Jinggoy Estrada. I would like to hold any decision on that because the whole charade is not over.

    Indeed, the fight is for the VP if one is to accept that Binay has it for good measure. A friend asked, what about a Binay-Poe?

    Any post Aquino II scenario would need the Binay card factored in. The issue on continuity is something Binay will have to address, soon and in clear and crystal terms.

    With a JOMAR, one fuses the two opposing sides of the Aquino Presidency, the Balay and the Samar. BSA3 will play an important role in getting the two sides to work together to ensure his “legacy” lives on. If a JOMAR is hammered strongly, that’s a plus 12 years of continuity, assuming BSA3 can get the bulls by their horns.

    But then again, it is too early to say how negotiations will shape the tickets. Even a statesman, seasoned and accomplished business manager like Sonny Belmonte can throw a wrench to the best-laid plans.

    The wild cards to a successful run by Binay come 2016 are: implosion from his teams composed of varied colors and various influences; an Erap run and a four to five-cornered fight for the presidency. I will break these down in another column.

    Too early? Nope, just right. Do I hear a People’s Draft?


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    1. A JOMAR scenario will never happen. Mar will never agree to be VP of Binay. It is because he believes that having the unequivocal support of P’noy and the LP is already a very strong assurance that he will definitely win the 2016 election. Mar will have the financial machine and the strong government machinery behind him to ensure he will win that election. He also believes that having launch the destruction of Enrile, Jongoy, and Revilla, he already got assurance that voters will no longer want to vote for the candidate Binay that the three strongly endorse. It will be a serious mistake however if Binay will choose Jinggoy as his running mate. He is already a damaged good for the moment. He can only win if choose wisely a candidate not connected to the PDAF scam as an accused or accuser. Those that can deliver winnings for him are Vilma, Grace Poe, and Kris Aquino. Whereas Escudero was a factor in winning the VP in the last election, Escudero will not be beneficial to him as VP. If he is able to draft businessman Manny Pangilinan as his VP it will be a plus factor for him. He might win.

    2. Rocky Coronel on

      It remains a puzzle where this high rating of the VP is coming from. He won by the endorsements of people that are no longer on his side. What he has are the haters of this administration but not all for some have their own private agenda. He has not been into controversies because he was idle. Are the illiterates, reckless and senseless electorates that brought Erap to the palace are again dominating the sensible and level headed ones? Binay is in trouble if he remains with Erap, worse choose Jinggoy as running mate. If he bolts away from Erap, he is left with only scraps. Its a difficult choice for the man who from the beginning is supposed to be a nobody.

    3. caillou thomas on

      chiz will stick with pnoy because he does not have money, he is a user too.

    4. gilmore chan on

      Dear columnist, what does your title have to do with your article? Be sensible please.

    5. This country is hopeless and when both money and greed for power are the sole motivations that drive a person to run for a public position , it will stay that way forever. Quite sad. On the other hand, I am glad my family migrated to another country long before hand . Corruption will subsist so long as you have stupid and dumb Filipino voters around. Educate the dumb and you’ll have good results. My sympathies are with you.

    6. I think it’s important for sen. Chiz to make a move. Break up with pnoy and side up with Binay. Anyways, he supported Binay for VP candidacy. It’s about time to live by principle and not on patronage.

    7. victor hernandez on

      politics is too important to be left to politicians. is the no one else? no wonder the philippines is rich but poor. most of us, filipinos, are so un-empowered that we depend on the leadership of a very few recycled politicians while the quality of human life in the philippines is moving at a very slow pace as exemplified by a crawling traffic during peak hours at EDSA. Will a real ang eneunely caring leader emerge. Will the bulk of filipinos rise to demand such leadership and sacrifice for the common good? If this is a wishful thinking, ok, let’s just forget the whole thing and continue to suffer the pathetic situation that we are in right now.

    8. It’s nice to talk about politics but sad to say nobody believes a politician anymore. You may picture them as honest,gentle, nationalist, pro poor, smart, intelligent, industrious, caring, humble etc.but deep inside, their real motive is only one & that is greediness (power & money). And I don’t blame them (politicians), They are show performers, they know what we want. We want entertainment and that’s what they are giving us everyday no more no less.