Did BS Aquino really secure a huge mandate?
Let’s go by the evidence.
Only three of the 12 Team Pinoy senatorial candidates are Liberal Party—Benigno Bam Aquino, Ramon Magsaysay Jr., and Jamby Madrigal. Of these three, only one, Bam Aquino, won, as No. 7 among the winners.
The remaining nine are: Grace Poe (independent), Loren Legarda (Nationalist People’s Coalition), Alan Peter Cayetano (Nacionalista Party), Edgardo Angara (Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino), Koko Pimentel (Partido Demokratiko Pilipino Lakas ng Bayan), Antonio Trillanes IV (NP), Cynthia Villar (NP), and Risa Hontiveros (Akbayan).
More NPs (three – Cayetano, Trillanes and Villar) won than LP (one). Magsaysay lost at No. 16, as did Hontiveros at No. 17 and Madrigal at No. 20.
Besides, Poe, Legarda and Escudero were originally in the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) ticket of Vice President Jejomar Binay, former President Joseph Estrada and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile. Poe, Legarda and Escudero were supposed to be only guest candidates of Team Pinoy. They would have won even without Aquino’s endorsement.
On the other hand, Grace Poe owed her victory more to the fact that she is the daughter of the late Fernando Poe Jr, than to BS Aquino’s endorsement. Grace Poe said so much when she said her victory “brings closure to 2004,” the presidential election where it was widely believed her father was cheated.
To be sure, Aquino’s coalition also won majority of the House of Representatives, most of the provincial and town and city mayoralty positions.
However, Aquino’s candidates lost in areas where it counted most in terms of prestige, strategic value and positioning for future contests. These include the cities of Manila, Makati, Caloocan, Mandaluyong (Ben Hur Abalos of Lakas won), Pasig (Maribel Eusebio of NP), Valenzuela (Rex Gatchalian of NPC), Las Piñas ( Vergel Aguilar of NP), and Navotas (John Rey Tiangco of UNA) in Metro Manila.
Aquino lost in the national capital (Manila) and in the business capital (Makati). He was refused a mandate in Central Luzon, supposedly his bailiwick, Southern Luzon (also supposedly a bailiwick), and in most of northern Luzon where he lost in the 2010 presidential election.
Aquino’s team lost big in the provincial governor races, among them: Pangasinan (Amado Espino Jr, NPC), La Union (Manoling Ortega NPC), Ilocos Sur (Ryan Singon, NP), Cagayan (Bong Antonio, UNA), Nueva Vizcaya (Ruth Padilla, NP), Isabela (Bojie Dy, NPC), Tarlac (Victor Yap, NPC), Pampanga (Baby Pineda, Kambilan), Bulacan (Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado, NUP), Bataan (Abet Garcia, NUP), Zambales (Jun Ebdane, SZP), Quezon (David Suarez, NUP), Laguna (Jorge Ejercito, UNA), Cavite (Jonvic Remulla, Lakas), Rizal (Nini Ynares, NPC), Palawan (Ica Alvarez, NPC), Negros Occidental (Alfredo Marañon, UNEGA), Northern Samar (Jun Ong, NUP), Western Samar (Ann Tan, NPC), Southern Leyte (Oging Mercado, NUP), and Negros Oriental (Roel Degamo, PDP).
Aquino campaigned hard for Nani Braganza in Pangasinan. Nani got only 26 percent of the vote, 191,389. Espino, charged with corruption by the Aquino administration, bagged 74 percent, 530,923.
A key Aquino ally, Edgardo Angara’s Arthur Angara (LDP) lost in Aurora, although Rommel Rico Angara won as vice governor and Bella Angara Castillo won as lone district congressman.
Central Luzon is PNoy’s home region. His LP won in just one province, Nueva Ecija (Oyie Umali). Aquino campaigned hard in Tarlac (his home province) and Pampanga (home province of his nemesis, Gloria Arroyo). His candidates lost disastrously.
In Bicol, LP carried only two provinces – Albay (Joey Salceda who would win without a party) and Camarines Norte (Edgardo Tallado). Masbate went to Dayan Lanete (NPC), Camarines Sur to LRay Villafuerte Jr (NP), and Catanduanes to Cely Wong (Ind.).
The other provinces won by LP included: Cebu (Hilario Davide III), Bohol (Edgar Chato), Iloilo (Arthur Defensor Sr), Aklan (Joeben Miraflores), Antique (Exequiel Javier), Leyte (Domingo Petilla), Biliran (Gerryboy Espina), Eastern Samar (Aklan Nicart), Capiz (Vic Tanco), and Guimaras (Samuel Gumarin).
In Manila, the race became a proxy fight between two presidents, Aquino and Estrada, a virtual rematch of the 2010 presidential fight where the former president placed second.
Aquino campaigned in Manila twice telling Manilans if there was anything Alfredo Lim failed to do, he would do it himself, and if there is any shortcoming Lim had committed, he would make up for it. In effect, Aquino was saying vote for Lim because a vote for Lim is a vote for Aquino. The President also funded Lim with P240 million cash for the poor program.
As it happened, Manilans went for Manila-born Estrada, 53 percent (288,058) to Lim’s 47 percent (257,631). Asiong Salonga finished Dirty Harry, ending his checkered his political career and reviving Erap’s.
It was Estrada’s first successful comeback since winning the presidency in 1998.
UNA’s strategic victories denied President Aquino an ability to claim a complete mandate nationwide.
Poe’s victory leaves wide open the 2016 presidential race where Vice President Binay had been conceded the leading contender.