Before the Napoles expose, two Bongs, had been preparing for a possible presidential run in 2016. Senators Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. and Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. had exploratory teams that tried to analyze / divine on what the political terrain in 2016 would look like.
Would the terrain be hospitable? Would it be hostile? In a hypothetical match –up against Vice President Binay and Secretary Mar Roxas, how would we fare? It was possible that the handlers of Bong Revilla covered most of the concerns, from organization to funding. And even calculated the risk of opting out of televised debates on the critical issues of 2016. Would it hurt Bong were he to miss the debates and just plow into the Philippine heartland for votes?
Because he can do debates, Bongbong Marcos was more concerned about tempering images from history and the past , mostly the long years of his father’s authoritarian rule, which was a valid one, given the meltdown of the senatorial candidacy of Jack Enrile, who had to contend with allegations of his violent past .
We do not know how much of their resources had been spent for the political spade work , but those who know politics are sure that such preparatory work had been done .
The handlers of Senator Jingoy Estrada , this is a safe assumption, explored a vice presidential run. The big win of his father, former President Erap Estrada in the Manila mayoral race , was a vindication of the Estrada brand in politics and there was no reason for Jingoy not to ride on that political momentum.
(The poor showing of his half-brother in the senatorial race was of no issue to Jingoy.)The UNA has a presidential candidate , but no vice presidential candidate yet. There was no reason for Jingoy not to explore that option.
That was all in the time of BP, or Before Napoles. In the current time of AP, or After Napoles, all of these grand plans have to be placed on a holding bay. Even in a nation that seems to have a dual standards—unforgiving toward those who kill and maim and forgiving toward con men and plunderers—being dragged into the Napoles case may have put on hold any bigger political plans for the two Bongs and Jingoy.
Or, it may have laid all those grand plans to waste.
BP, or Before Napoles, there were four active political camps preparing for the presidency : the camps of the two Bongs , VP Binay and Secretary Roxas. That all four would run for president in 2016 was an entirely plausible scenario. On Binay and Roxas, why they will run no longer needs elaboration and explanation . Revilla , for his part, was the only viable contender from the Lakas-CMD. Bongbong Marcos’s run was held as a combination of destiny and vindication .
Bongbong does not need his NP for that purpose. He can go back to the old KBL and use it as his platform. But all of these things with the two Bongs have now to be spoken using the past tense .
Question? Does that leave the field to Binay and Roxas? No.
The scuttling of Bongbong Marcos’s presidential plans will push a young NP senator into the race and this is Alan Peter Cayetano. Right now, a posse of political activists and campaign experts is with Cayetano , giving him counsel and egging him to run.
Cayetano’s camp also has funders , this time with deep pockets and the willingness to spend adequately for a presidential campaign . His high-profile role on the scam investigation , many say, is aimed at establishing his anti-corruption and crusading cred.
Will Manny Villar cede his still burning presidential ambition to the young Cayetano? If so, we will be expecting a three-cornered fight in 2016.
While an expose on the scale of Napoles’s fake NGO operations was something that Malacanang can orchestrate , there was entirely no reason for Malacanang to expose that plot—with politics and the presidential election of 2016 in mind. A contest of four candidates , with Roxas as the administration candidate , and with Binay, Marcos and Revilla representing three stripes of the political opposition , will be a scenario that would favor Roxas more than Binay. Revilla and Marcos would eat into the natural constituencies of Binay. The voters who intend to vote for Roxas in 2016 will not be with Revilla and Marcos under 99 percent of the circumstances.
With a 2016 fight that would involve Binay, Roxas and Cayetano , it would be a different story.
Supporters of Roxas can switch to the Cayetano camp effortlessly and Cayetano would be eating into the natural constituencies of Roxas, not Binay.
The Napoles expose , come to think of it, principally involved the close associates and top leaders of Binay in the UNA . But, it would enhance , not diminish, the political stock of Binay in 2016. The elimination of Revilla and Marcos from the presidential race has in fact removed from the scene two candidates that can chip in into the formidable mass base of the vice president and Hillary Clinton of Philippine politics .
Binay, in public, is shedding tears for his incriminated political comrades. On a personal realm, he has forged close bonds with Senators Enrile and Estrada. But the collateral damage of the Napoles expose—politics wise—do not at all affect him and his chances in 2016 . He appears to be the prime beneficiary of the backlash from the scam.