Former Sen. Panfilo Lacson is so preoccupied with learning the business of large-scale, Marshall Plan-scale rehabilitation and reconstruction work that he has very little time for things not related to that. But it is safe to say this: Once in a while—and in a tangential manner—he is reminded of his failed presidential run and maybe thinking of 2016.
Looking at 2016, let us be clear about this, is not a major preoccupation of the former senator and failed presidential candidate. But it is something that he cannot pluck out of his system. Especially now, and under his current circumstance, he cannot but look at 2016 with moist eyes.
The work of a rehabilitation czar is truly significant for many reasons, and the least of these reasons is the cabinet rank it carries. If the rehab work succeeds in a dramatic fashion, he will be instrumental in literally lifting out lives and entire communities from the rubble. On a personal realm, he will reap many rewards from the success, in an awesome fashion, of the rehab work. The has-been tag, the loss of his son in Cavite politics, the age factor and many other negatives will all be obscured.
The success of the rehab work, once properly managed by his political aides, will be his opening into another presidential run. Who knows? As his mistahs often say, dreams don’t die.
Clamor for a leader
Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago does all the cozying up with student leaders in the various campuses in a context of what she perceives as a leadership void. The young are clamoring for a leader who can speak in the language of the 21st century and who can articulate their dreams and their hopes and Miriam sees no other leader who can do that but herself.
Who knows where the standing ovations in the campuses would lead to? And 2016 is a real possibility.
The good government and anti-corruption issues, issues from time immemorial, have found their traction now and across all sectors, particularly the youth, the issues resonate deeply. Miriam has been busy advocating these issues. She is, in the process, hitting two birds with one stone. She can step up on her bitter war with senate colleague Juan Ponce Enrile and position herself as the lead political leader at the forefront of an anti-corruption crusade.
Miriam, who claims she won over Ramos in 1992 but was cheated of her true votes, does not carry out her crusades with 2016 uppermost in mind. Far from that. In a sense, she is just like Lacson. If there is an opening and the circumstances favor a presidential run, why not?
The operative word here is “ opening.” Had there been no release of a special COA audit report, Senator Santiago could not have taken the high ground on anti-corruption issues. Had there been no Yolanda, Lacson will not be where is in today – the reconstruction czar with the chance succeeding, which in turn, would help him recapture his old political gravitas.
That Senator Santiago and former Senator Lacson are now in a position to rekindle their presidential dreams injects a fresh dimension into preparations for 2016. Right now, 2016 is a simple formulation. Vice President Binay will run and is doing most of the preparations. He has the money, he is popular and there is a perception among the political class that he is the “inevitable president.”
Also eyeing a run
DILG Secretary Mar Roxas is the unanimous choice of the LP leadership and his President Aquino preferred successor. Should he run, he will have the ruling political coalition behind him. And on that basis alone, Roxas will be a viable presidential candidate. To rule out Roxas as a viable contender in the 2016 race is a bit premature.
Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano is likewise preparing and the fact that he will be the third candidate does not even faze him and his aides. There is a gung-ho quality to his preparations, patterned after President Obama’s insurgent campaign in 2008. A big money man, who backed Lacson earlier and backed Manny Villar in 2010, is the principal money man behind the young Cayetano.
Who among the three expected presidential candidates will be affected by the entry of either Lacson or Santiago or both?
In case Santiago makes another run, she will have to share the anti-corruption plank with Cayetano, who first shot to national attention by accusing Mike Arroyo of having a large stash in foreign banks. Miriam is more articulate but Cayetano can point out to a solid track record in that area.
Lacson’s possible campaign narrative—that he can get things done—is claimed by neither Binay nor Roxas so he is alone in that area.
Talks of 2016 are still premature and the political map may be altered dramatically by the time the campaign period commences. Still, it cannot be denied that the circumstances have opened the possibility of Ping and Miriam reviving their dormant presidential dreams.
If an opportunity is present to be president, why not? Old dreams never die and their embers are just waiting to be rekindled. It is as simple as that.