“Boy Pick Up” was the name given by Senator Bong Revilla to presidential candidate Mar Roxas of the LP, whose genesis came from the efforts of President Aquino to secure enough Senate votes to impeach Chief Justice Renato Corona early in this |administration.
The name has stayed and is now being used by critics to portray Mr. Roxas as a candidate of little consequence.
Mr. Roxas can’t wiggle out of the “Boy Pick Up” tag and tame down his critics because of one thing. He has been doing badly in the polls and in that low state all negative tags stick.
He polls so low that Digong Duterte, a new entrant into the presidential race won’t like to debate him. Mr. Duterte has added to the pile of names that now refer to Mr. Roxas in negative light. He calls Mr. Roxas, “Number 4” which is Mr. Roxas standing in most presidential surveys.
Mr. Roxas is not supposed to be in this polling Hades. On paper, he has everything going for him. A U Penn-trained economist, the grandson of the Republic’s first president, a former investment banker, a former congressman, senator and Cabinet member with multiple posts. He is the candidate with the best CV. He is also Mr. Aquino’s “Chosen One.”
All of these have been ignored by respondents in the polling and for a long time, Mr. Roxas has been indeed Number 4. The latest Pulse Asia survey says so, though there is another one that says he is Number 3. Most Filipinos could explain in logical and rational terms why “ Boy Pick Up” can’t peak in the polls. Here are the reasons.
Number One. Mr. Roxas has been conducting a tired, orthodox campaign that can’t fire up the excitement of voters.
Mr. Roxas tries to show his “ strength “ by reciting the endorsements he has gotten from political figures, from real heavyweights to plain pretenders. In the Philippine context, however, parties and party bosses do not really possess solid ground games and it is “every man or woman for himself/herself” come election time. There is no such thing as “The Party Decides,” the book on US politics that suggests the extra-ordinary role party bosses play in primaries and in elections.
Endorsements do not carry weight in presidential elections, just ask those who ran the Mitra campaign in 1992 and the de Venecia campaign in 1998. The political heavyweights lined up behind Mr. Mitra in 1992 and Mr. de Venecia in 1998. But both lost miserably.
Number Two. Mr. Roxas shows not flashes of brilliance but demonstrations of trapo politics. Just ask Grace Padaca about this. And how Mr. Roxas shafted her in Isabela in favor of the Dys. With all her handicaps and her loyalty to the good cause, Mr. Roxas should not have forsaken Grace Padaca. But he did in a disgusting trapo act.
Number Three. Mr. Roxas’ record as the deputy president to Mr. Aquino, to be kind about it, has been forgettable. To others, it has been a tragedy.
The DOTC, the first agency assigned to Mr. Roxas, is a mess and its public face is the MRT
3 – a dangerous and unreliable urban rail system. The DOTC’s experiment on traffic decongestion focused its ire on mass transport carriers such as buses, not private cars. Which makes many wonder about his numeracy.
The DILG, which he handled next, literally played the blame game and cheap politics while Yolanda devastated Eastern Visayas, one of the poorest regions and the least equipped in handling disaster relief. The initial hunger for Mr. Duterte is viewed as a public response to the failure of Roxas’ DILG to enforce the law and deal with crime syndicates.
Number Four. Mr. Roxas is running on empty and on the basis of a slogan that could win favors in a Pyongyang-sponsored slogan writing contest. Right Path–Tuwid na Daan. Right Path rhymes with “Shining Path.” Google it up under Peru.
Under the Aquino administration, I have written about this a dozen times, the only vetted and verifiable occurrence of “straight path” is the trajectory of 60 percent of GDP gains. It goes straight to the Top 1 percent.
Number Five is the negativity of Mr. Aquino. Mr. Aquino’s endorsement of Mr. Roxas has not helped the LP standard bearer. In Metro Manila, Mr. Aquino’s endorsement is a negative 26 percent. It is negative six percent overall in our country. He is, of course, the favorite of the economic sector favored by Mr. Aquino’s government, the super rich and the professional managers who are proxies and gofers of the super rich. Only, these people make up less than one percent of the votes.
It is true that many things can happen between now and 2016 and it is possible that Mr. Roxas can find his traction and bearing and take the lead in the polls.
But right now, this statement is absolutely true, backed by data and political science. Boy Pick Up can’t peak up in the polls.