The President and the former Senate President both had the same problem: much as they tried to entice the Vice-President to join them for the 2010 campaign, he turned both down. In Nobody Loves Me, Manuel Buencamino says the President was scorned once, but Villar’s been scorned twice: his efforts to entice both Senator Chiz Escudero and the Vice-President being rebuffed. Only then did Villar make noises about Senator Pia Cayetano being his (third) choice for Veep. Yesterday, there was talk that Wowowee host Willie Revillame would announce his entry in politics as Villar’s Veep, but it seems more likely that Revillame might instead head the Nacionalista senate slate.
The President did better in terms of having on hand what’s been widely-discussed as her personal choice as her successor, her Defense Secretary, Gilbert Teodoro Jr. (the choice of the President’s husband supposedly being the Vice-President). She did better because her defense secretary is a closer approximation of what she has put forward as her advantages as a chief executive: hard-working, highly educated, a reliable coalition player. His list of priorities and to-dos is in harmony with the existing administration agenda (more or less). And he isn’t shy about it.
And he’s been moderately successful in inspiring the faithful to work to ensure that the good times keep rolling on.
You’ll see that there was a bump (above, in blue) in the Defense Secretary’s being in the limelight when the Frankenstein coalition declared it intended to make him their official standard-bearer. the problem is whether that bump can be sustained; there seems to be the belief that simply because he’s been anointed by the President’s people, Teodoro’s campaign will not only take off like a rocket, but that it makes him, almost immediately, a candidate on par with, say, Aquino, or Villar or Escudero.
Today’s Inquirer editorial, The company he keeps, points out that much as Teodoro puts a refined face on the Frankenstein coalition, no one has any illusions as to what the coalition consists of, what it’s done, and what it will do if it stays in power. Which may account for the bump being much smaller than one might expect if Teodoro were to be weighed on his own merits. But the reality is his merits aside, the very viability of his campaign, such as it is, rests entirely on the very same ruling coalition that shares the President’s present lack of palatability to the public.
A friend did a similar search (annotated with red arrows, below) that suggests the endorsement of the party elders was a much-needed boost. All along, he’d lacked exposure even abroad (hence “gilbert teodoro soes not have enough search volume for ranking”), which had basically paid attention to Estrada and Aquino in the news.
Another search by my friend (below) shows how humdrum the campaign was until the entry of Aquino; and how the trajectory of Aquino (blue) suddenly puts what had seemed to be the gaining momentum of an Estrada comeback (in green) in stark comparison. If every candidate registers a momentary, steep, ascent upon announcing his candidacy, then Aquino’s set the threshold, which Teodoro’s obviously failed to seriously rival; put another way, Villar (red) and even Estrada (green), should they formally announce, are already at rates that could potentially mark Teodoro’s peak; they would pull away from Teodoro at his best and potentially intercept Aquino.
My own search is below.
The chart above suggests that the past year saw the Villar campaign (orange), well-oiled, chugging along; his closest rival being Chiz Escudero (green). Just when Villar was breaking away, Aquino (red) entered the fray; so almost immediately, just as Villar became the front-runner, he was displaced by Aquino, who took off like a rocket. But even then, Villar remains the leading contender to Aquino.
Contending for front-runner status, then, are Aquino and Villar; contending for rival to them, in turn, in Escudero. With the Vice-President apparently dropping out of the race, it will be interesting to see how his followers redistribute themselves among the other contenders.
However, Teodoro simply isn’t a real contender at this point, and it would be surprising to see him become a serious contender anytime soon. Anytime ever.
Then again, this has surely been plotted out and projected by the Palace. They know they will never have a frontrunner or even a truly viable contender. What they do have, is someone who acts as a consolation to the faithful, keeping them from getting too depressed. It also takes Teodoro out of action precisely when the more thuggish side of the administration will be required, going into 2010.
Teodoro is useful in simply taking the front-runner, Aquino, down a notch or two; by putting forward their non-candidate candidate, the administration simply fosters the (wrong) perception that somehow, their candidate’s on par with Aquino; it diminishes, in turn, Villar and Escudero.
Then again if you want to be pragmatic about it, it’s also like the story of the tar baby.
Teodoro is the tar baby; if Aquino, like Brer Rabbit, makes the mistake of engaging Teodoro as if he’s a serious candidate, it bogs down Aquino in a fight along the irrelevant lines the Palace wants (“qualifications and experience” the same argument Marcos used against Cory; when the reason that Teodoro is below ground level in terms of public perception is that his qualifications and experience, such as they are, have been put at the service of the President and her Frankenstein coalition, which makes them as appealing as qualifications and experience doing book-keeping or money laundering for The Mob). Bogged down wrestling the tar baby, Aquino would then be fair game for Villar or Escudero to jump on his back -the real fight.
Which, to the truly pragmatically inclined, might suggest either or both are the actual Anointed Ones of the President, not Teodoro. The clue to see which might be the True Anointed is to see who, explicitly or implictly, gets the support of this man:
The one on the left, Ramon Ang of San Miguel, for example. The man in the middle, Eduardo Cojuangco, Jr. collects the dividends but no longer does the grunt work; the lady on the right, the President, presides over a coalition notorious for getting candidates to run, only to leave them in the lurch, without machinery or funding, once they’ve committed (ask Cesar Montano and Manny Pacquiao, both of whom were popular to start with).It’s interesting that the end days of her administration are focused on closing truly big deals (with San Miguel, for example).
A candidate like Teodoro, who starts off not even within striking distance of the leading candidates, is someone no administration will back up fully with its resources. Those resources would be better used to reclaim the Senate, for example, or maintain its existing bailiwicks on the local level. The only use Teodoro serves is a political tar baby.
But the Frankenstein coalition includes its group of business backers; and it will be interesting to see on whom they’ll be placing their bets. If they spread out their funding, that means the administration coalition’s history; if they continue to bet big, it will be in expectation of maintaining or even expanding, the benefits they’ve received from the President and her people. To see who they back, is to see the administration’s true Anointed One(s).