High survey ratings don’t necessarily translate to victory.
A veteran lawmaker said this as he cautioned Sen. Grace Poe not to be dazzled with her being a pre-election survey frontrunner as history has proven that popularity is not the be-all and end-all in the political derby.
House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales 2nd of Mandaluyong city (Metro Manila) noted that history has shown that it is very difficult for an independent candidate to succeed in his or her quest unless he or she has a well-oiled machinery to deliver the votes on election day.
Gonzales cited the cases of Sen. Miriam Defensor- Santiago, the late Raul Roco and former senator Panfilo Lacson. They all lost in their respective bids for the presidency.
Santiago and Roco were popular with the youth when they respectively aimed for the presidency in the 1992 and 1998 elections.
Santiago relied on the People’s Reform Party, which had a negligible grassroots organization. Fidel Ramos, who was endorsed by President Corazon Aquino and was backed by the Lakas-NUCD coalition, won the race.
Roco who also relied on his own party, Aksyon Demokratiko, was overrun by a more popular Joseph Estrada, who was backstopped by the machinery of the Laban ng Makabayang Masang Pilipino (LAMMP) in 1998 while Lacson–who ran as an independent in 2004–was no match to the powerful Lakas machinery of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
“In history, those who ran independently, or even from smaller parties like PRP and Aksyon Demokratiko, were unsuccessful. Historically speaking, there has not been one [who won the presidency]. For one, you won’t have [election watchers]if you don’t have a political party,” Gonzales pointed out.
He, however, clarified that being with an established political party does not guarantee a victory because times have changed.
“Being with a big political party doesn’t guarantee a win. There are other available tools for campaign now that did not exist before… there’s social media, and the media, which would also play a huge role,” Gonzales said.
Having said that, the son of the late Senate President Neptali Gonzales does not see anybody as a frontrunner at this point.
The filing of candidacy is October 12 to 15, but the last pre-election survey will be released in September.
In recent Social Weather Stations and Pulse Asia surveys, Poe edged out Vice President Jejomar Binay and former senator Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd by at least eight percentage points.
Poe also dominated the survey for possible bets for Vice President.
“Any candidate, declared or otherwise, will be feeling the pressure. Secretary Mar has said that it will be an uphill battle, the other camp whose ratings are going down would also be worried, and even those on top…because this is the first survey that would factor the President’s endorsement,” Gonzales said.
Poe and Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero attended last night’s gathering of members of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) at the residence of the party’s founder, industrialist Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco Jr. in Quezon City.
Deputy Speaker Giorgidi Aggabao, president of the NPC, earlier said majority of the members are backing a Poe-Escudero tandem in 2016.
Escudero was a member of the NPC before he resigned to become an independent in the 2013 elections.
Sen. Vicente Sotto 3rd, however, was quick to dispel speculations that the two senators’ presence means they will team up in next year’s elections under the NPC banner.
“This is just a fellowship and consultation… Imposible. May iba pa kaming iko-consult [It’s impossible to make an announcement. We’re still consulting others],” Sotto told reporters.
The NPC was formed in 1991 as a vehicle for Cojuangco’s presidential bid.
While Cojuangco no longer pursued politics after his defeat in 1992, the party continued to exist.
The “fellowship” was held hours after congressmen affiliated with the NPC had a meeting with Roxas.
“That’s a different story. Over here… is the NPC meeting itself. That is not an NPC meeting. [There still is no]party stand. [Once there is an] official party stand, most probably the members will follow,” Sotto told GMA News.