Forget how the media outlets led off their stories on the recent presidential poll. Try non-partisanship for once and analyze the results with utmost sobriety. What did it really, really mean?
First and foremost is this: Mr. Binay still leads the polls and the expected December doom of his presidential dream did not take place. The 2nd placer, and also the unanimous choice for the vice presidency, was Senator Grace Poe. Mr. Binay had 26 percent while Senator Poe had 18 percent, still a safe lead from every angle.
True, Senator Poe’s figures increased but it was not the equivalent of a storm surge that was suggested by the headlines and the partisan, doom-to-Binay pundits.
Second, the detractors of Mr. Binay, the covert and overt ones, have not only remained in their lackluster standings. Their quests for the presidency had been placed by the survey in the “ hopeless” category. It is ironic that they too, have been collaterally damaged by their own dogged pursuit of Mr. Binay’s supposed sleaze. While the pursuit of Mr. Binay has brought him back to earth from the towering heights from which he used to rule the pool of presidential wannabes, his detractors had been relegated, permanently it spears – to political purgatory.
He is, definitely, still better off and better situated than all his detractors. At a four to six percent preference, with the presidential election not so far away, the detractors of Mr. Binay must have been desperate at this point.
The desperation is but natural. Mr. Binay, who at this point has been pictured as one who has more sins than the entire sins of the Third Reich, was supposed to be contemplating hara-kiri by now. Or, worse, he was expected to be in jail along with Bong and Jinggoy.
He is neither contemplating hara-kiri nor languishing in jail. In fact, he still leads the pool of presidential wannabes and with a safer margin at that. He still uses the offices of vice president and housing czar as guises to move around the country and campaign on the sly. In areas that are out of the main media loop, people treat him like royalty and small-time pols trip over each other to shake his hand or to get his attention. Short and Indio-looking, Mr. Binay does not look like political royalty but in areas starved of attention from the national leaders, a short and swarthy guy like Mr. Binay would do.
Mr. Binay does all of these sly campaigning during office hours to the consternation and grief of the country’s Moral Majority.
Why has he survived? Why is he still leading the presidential wannabes? Por Dyos Por Santo, what is happening to the voters of this country? These three questions, baffling and perplexing to the core, are uppermost in minds of the Moral Majority.
Even those who have yet to pass judgment on Mr. Binay’s guilt or innocence—those still not ready to cast the first stone—are likewise unable to find coherent answers to Mr. Binay’s lead in the surveys.
Indeed, what are the reasons behind Mr. Binay’s staying power.
If we contextualize things, Mr. Binay has absolutely zero chances of surviving the Senate inquiry on his alleged haciendas and overpriced buildings. Zero and Nada.
Simply because the past four years had been dominated by a single public story that comes in two versions: kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap and tuwid na daan. If that line has gotten any ring and traction, Mr. Binay would have been, by now, detested and scorned presidential wannabe. But that is now borne out by the latest polling. All that hectoring of Mr. Aquino on integrity and continuity have apparently fallen on deaf or uninterested ears.
Ok, is Mr. Binay about to coast to the presidency? No, absolutely no.
Senator Grace Poe will be a formidable contender should she change her mind and run for the presidency. The Manila Times was first to write that Ms. Poe would be Mr. Binay’s one and only “ nightmare” and we wrote that in 2013 yet. It was not a column of prescience. It was based on the fact that not one within the political circles of Aquino and the Liberal Party can run for president without being eaten alive by Mr. Binay
And that only Senator Poe has the political following to mount a serious challenge to Mr. Binay.
There are no absolutes in Philippine politics and a presidential draft similar to the popular appeal to Mrs. Aquino to challenge Mr. Marcos in 1986 may change Ms. Poe’s present decision not to run. But right now, it appears that Ms. Poe is not about to change her mind despite the clamor of the elite – which dreads a Binay presidency – for her to run for president.
If she sticks to her statement to serve out her term in the Senate , Mr. Binay can handle all the other contenders, especially the pretenders allied with Mr. Aquino. He will not win very big but he will still win.
To the consternation of the Moral Majority, Tony Tiu will be the DA secretary in 2016.