Three Liberal Party (LP) party leaders, all well-credentialed, form the party’s pool of possible presidential candidates in 2016. Ask the top party leaders who they might draft to run for president in 2016 and they will rattle off three names: DILG Secretary Mar Roxas, DOTC Secretary Joseph Abaya and Senator Franklin Drilon.
On professional credentials and academic and other serious preparations for the presidency, it is hard to beat any of the three. More, all of the three have had stints in very strategic and sensitive government positions—from a vantage point where they had shaped policies.
Drilon is a senior senator who had a stint as Senate president—and some say—he is the Senate president in-waiting. Roxas has served in the House of Representatives and the Senate.
The number of cabinet and executive posts the two have held can be described as“ multiple and select.” Drilon has served as Executive secretary, Labor secretary and Justice secretary. Roxas , currently DILG secretary, has been DTI and DOTC secretary. He is, on the side, the trouble shooter of President Aquino 3rd.
Abaya, a not-so-familiar-name, has one of the most sterling academic preparations for government service. Or a cushy private sector job, should he decide to leave government to be a corporate man. West Point, graduate school in the US and other academic pursuits that can dwarf the preparation for the presidency of both Fidel Ramos and Dwight Eisenhower , both West Pointers.
The EA in Abaya’s name is Emilio Aguinaldo and you know very well that he has presidential pedigree.
If you think such list of heavy hitters that form the pool of presidential wannabes of the ruling party—and also the lead party of the ruling political coalition—is already striking terror in the hearts of the UNA group, you are wrong. In fact UNA would welcome a presidential campaign between its candidate, Vice President Jejomar Binay, and any of the three .
The UNA has a very pragmatic view of the mind set of the Filipino electorate. A brutal description is this : UNA has a very cynical view of the mind set of the Filipino. The UNA knows, and a poll would confirm this, that right now Binay has the edge over the best and the brightest that the LP could offer. The average voter does not look at the resume. He looks at Binay and he sees a president. That’s it. Or, they see a pivotal figure, who despite his decent but not too impressive academic and professional CV, has ushered in prosperity in Makati.
Right now, and if elections were held today, Binay would win in a Binay-Roxas match up. Binay would win over Drilon and would soundly beat Abaya. There is no hypothetical match up between Binay and any of those ambitioning to be president that Binay cannot beat.
We can put it this way: Jojo Binay is the Hillary Clinton of the moment. Pollsters have matched up Mrs. Clinton with Rand Paul, Bobby Jindal and Marco Rubio and the rest of the Republican presidential aspirants. Mrs. Clinton, according to the polls, would beat all comers.
This is how secure VP Binay is right now, if the basis were the named being floated by the LP as possible presidential candidates in 2016.
Question. Is there a name that can give Binay sleepless nights? The non-candidate who might be convinced to run for president to give Binay a real scare?
Yes there is. And she can magically use two words that she used in her recent senatorial campaign to create a bandwagon effect that was unprecedented in a modern senatorial campaign, anew. The words? Poe and Opo.
Grace Poe, the newly-elected senator, is the name that could scare the wits out of Mr. Binay. What if the LP big guns succeed in the unorthodox approach of convincing Poe to run for president after asking the more accomplished names of the party—Mar, Frank and Mr. Abaya— to give way to Poe and forget all about their presidential ambition ?
She is level-headed and many say that no amount of convincing can convince her to run for president. The view is that she would rather serve her full term in the senate before mulling over her political future.
The problem with this view is that there are no certainties in politics. Leni Robredo wanted to be a judge and mightily resisted the initial attempts to push her into the political fray. At the end of the day, she was convinced that serving as a legislator , not as a judge, was a better way to serve the broader public and a slice of Camarines Sur.
Binay would be hard put running against an iconic optic— Grace Poe and the long shadow cast on the nation by the late Fernando Poe Jr. That she talks sensibly and is without airs sit well with Filipino voters. She will also have the best political consultants and strategists , who will all work pro bono.
Binay, should she face Poe in the next presidential campaign, would have to fight the political fight of his life .