Thirty-three percent


(Above: a lovely photo from Jordan Concepts & Entertainment)

Last night I substituted for Ricky Carandang on his show The Big Picture, and the guest was Prospero Pichay who’d recently been in the news after expressing skepticism over Noynoy Aquino’s candidacy. His current position in the Local Water Utilities Administration has a fixed term, if I heard him correctly he still has three years to go in a five-year term, so he has security of tenure and will be around in government regardless of the outcome of the 2010 elections. He obviously relishes the role of being an agent provocateur.

Pichay had some interesting things to say about the ruling coalition, its possible candidates, their survey ratings, and how they can translate their machinery into votes. Both on and off camera, he was consistent in saying that while the door remained open for the Vice-President, the real choice for the ruling coalition had narrowed down to two individuals: Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro Jr. and MMDA Chairman Bayani Fernando. He was more cagey about revealing his real feelings, if any, over widespread expectations that when the coalition’s directorate meets tomorrow, their choice will be Teodoro, long mentioned as the President’s personal preference as official standard-bearer. Today’s news all point to Teodoro being the choice of the coalition pooh-bahs and the president’s kith and kin.

Ricky Carandang in his blog goes as far as saying the Vice-President has turned down overtures from the ruling coalition; it may be, the way Pichay dodged the question last night, that not everyone in the ruling coalition felt they should have kept the door open for the Veep for so long, particularly since he has studiously kept a standoffish position vis-a-vis their overtures. At least Teodoro proved himself a team player and signed on to the ruling coalition to make himself available for the party nomination.

In that sense the green tarpaulin with the “Once and for all let us choose” slogan on it was a pointed barb against the factions angling for an accomodation with the Veep. While he served a purpose both in 2004 (removing a strong rival from contesting the presidency by convincing him to sign up with the President’s campaign), and since 2005 (in a sense, the Constitutional succession option was closed, because for far too many in the public, a de Castro presidency was a frightening possibility), the same reasons that made him politically useful in the past don’t necessarily make him politically desirable looking ahead to 2010.

Carandang also suggests the zeitgeist being what it is -so many in so many camps wanting a change from the controversial record of the present dispensation- the team player with the best chance to bat for the team is the Secretary of National Defense:

Teodoro has the one thing that no one else in PaLaKa can claim: despite being part of the Regime, he has never been accused of corruption. In other words, one of the most potent allegations against the Regime – its insatiable corruption – cannot be thrown personally at their candidate. Yes, one can say that he turned a blind eye, but its not the same as saying that he personally is corrupt. Its a distinction that will be enough for many undecided voters.

Carandang also mentions that the ruling coalition’s machinery -“the backing of local political kingpins from Abra to Maguindanao”- is nothing to sneeze at. Which brings me back to Pichay.

On one hand, I didn’t understand his claim that Teodoro was well-situated, because of his job, to gain credibility and exposure. The Defense department is as good a stepping-stone as any for the presidency; but his actual performance in that office aside, its vast opportunities for exposure and building good will -chiefly in terms of the Secretary of National Defense being the ex-officio Chairman of the National Disaster Coordinating Council- hasn’t translated into awareness or public support. He remains in the cellar, surveys-wise. It could mean, as Pichay suggested, that the public simply isn’t aware of what Teodoro has done; but it can also mean whether or not he’s done any good, he’s not getting any credit for it because he’s doing so by serving in the current administration.

Anyway, Pichay says with enough money and an effective message, anything is possible, including a rapid and sustained rise in Teodoro’s numbers once he is anointed administration standard-bearer tomorrow. This is a way of telegraphing the built-in advantages of the ruling coalition: funds. Sources range from the formal to the informal, take your pick. the message might, indeed, be a comforting one for the coalition -“more of the same, but better”.

Pichay also emphasized the administration’s advantage in command votes. He was unwilling to concede that overall, the administration experienced a debacle, nationally, in 2007; though he does concede too much of their time and resources was wasted by inter-faction squabbling on the local level during that campaign. He does seem confident they have ironed out those kinks and can present a united front going into 2010.

What I found most interesting was his assertion that the administration has a solid 33% constituency, nationwide. The problem was, he said, was that constituency was sliced and diced in the senatorial polls, but that it will hold and deliver for a candidate for the presidency. With less than 1% in the surveys, this means Pichay expects Teodoro to rise 333% in the coming months, which will be a phenomenal achievement.

To be sure, the Veep sidelining himself from the process, and possibly sliding down to contest the Vice-Presidency yet again or simply opting out of the race altogether, will mean a further realignment and a change in numbers for everyone, as the Veep’s constituency hunts around for someone else to support.

Whatever the case, Pichay’s declaration that they have a 33% chunk of the electorate in their pocket, telegraphs the objectives of the campaign. Carandang thinks it will be a four-way fight: Aquino-Estrada-Teodoro-Villar. Or, to put it in Carandang’s precise terms, these are “the four viable candidates.”

Carandang counts Escudero out this early because he thinks he’ll be forced to drop out for lack of funding. In an earlier entry, this is how Carandang explains it, based on the recent, limited, survey privately commissioned from the SWS:

To me this survey suggests that Aquino is taking votes away from all candidates, even those who are not necessarily hostile to the Arroyo regime. I expected Aquino, Escudero, and Estrada to divide the “opposition” vote, which was why Liberal Party leaders were worried that Estrada’s insistence that he run was meant as a spolier, to keep the vote divided and improve thew chances of the Administration candidate. But apparently neither Estrada nor Escudero have the numbers to be a threat.

What’s more surprising though is the steep and sudden drop in De Castro’s numbers. His relatively high numbers in the past suggested to me that De Castro was not being tainted by his association with the Regime while at the same time, he seemed to be acceptable to Gloria loyalists. Inexplicably, Aquino seems to be drawing support from even from supporters of the Regime.

If these numbers are sustained, you can logically expect Escudero to come to some kind of accomodation with Aquino, while Villar may start exploring a possible collaboration or alliance with the Regime, which seems to have written De Castro off and settled on Gilbert Teodoro.

It all depends of course if the numbers hold and even improve. Escudero has half a month or so before he has to make up his mind about the presidency or the vice-presidency.

My personal hunch is that if Carandang’s observations hold, then the political math, administration-speaking, is clear: Estrada would subtract from Aquino, while keeping open the door for a Teodoro-Villar alignment, whether formally (publicly) or informally (privately). Villar for one could maintain a nominal independence while the machinery of the ruling coalition could merrily subtract votes from everybody else even if it can’t make a difference for Teodoro, but might put Villar over the top.

This assumes, of course, that from a Palace and ruling coalition point of view, they have less to fear from Villar (whose statements against Aquino have been tempered by his withholding fire from the President) while Villar himself faces the prospects of competing with Estrada for the same constituency.

What’s even more uninteresting is why the ruling coalition felt it had to decide, now, on who their official candidate should be: it suggests things are less solid, or more brittle, than people like Pichay express in public.

Postscript, September 18:

I forgot to add another interesting thing Pichay said during the interview. He mentioned that if Teodoro was selected as the party bet, then he could then be asked to resign from the Cabinet to focus, as Pichay put it, on the campaign and getting his message across to the voters.

This would provide an opportunity for the President to put someone reliable in place who wouldn’t have scruples about maneuvering the armed forces to act in a partisan manner in the 2010 polls. Say, former AFP Chief of Staff Hermogenes Esperon, Jr.

November 30, the official filing of candidacies, or even February 2010, the actual official start of the campaign, would be good dates for this. Teodoro would evade accusations of using the Defense portfolio to help his campaign; but it would allow Camp Aguinaldo to help in the same manner it did in 2004.

Manuel L. Quezon III.

58 thoughts on “Thirty-three percent

  1. I saw the interview last night, and couldn’t help from laughing at Pichay’s body language. Frequently he’d let out a sigh (of exasperation), look askance down and to the right, away from Manolo. I think I smell desperation.

    What caught my ear was the constant recourse to “the right packaging and the right message.” Apparently, a presidential candidate is really no better than detergent.

  2. “. . . things are less solid, or more brittle, than people like Pichay express in public.”


    That talk about the 33% is purely hot air. Trying to put a brave face under the circumstances. Whether it’s Teodoro or Fernando, they’re both also-rans. No-hopers as the Brits like to put it. The administration has thrown in the towel in the presidential race and is putting up only a token fight.

    And don’t expect “the built-in advantages of the ruling coalition: funds”, to emerge, except in token amounts. No use throwing good money after bad. And better to save the funds for other battles.

    The V.P. race will be interesting. If Mar Roxas listens to his strategists, he is better off leaving the V.P. race and concentrating on his senatorial candidacy. Not only will this be a more dignified way out (it’s not easy to play second fiddle all the time), it’s probably a smarter move. Even if teamed up with Noynoy, Mar can still lose to more popular candidates such as Chiz Escudero or Loren Legarda. As senator, Mar is a shoo-in. If Noynoy wins the presidency, Mar becomes the leading candidate for the Senate Presidency. That will give him more visibility and more power than simply being V.P. Better to be the head of a rat than the tail of a lion.

    If Mar declines the V.P. position, that opens up possibilities of Noynoy tying up with other prospects, including Escudero.

  3. My take on Pichay. His constituency, Surigao del Sur, wallows in poverty. The area has less than decent highways, basic services are wanting and is a hotbed of insurgency. With all these, his credibility is shot, why he even lost is own run at a Senatorial seat back in 2007… That’s why I am wondering why he has the gall to challenge Noynoy’s capability. Is it because of what he owes the Palace?

  4. how can pichay confidently sat PaLaKa can have a victory in the polls when he didn’t even win a seat in the senate. People will not vote the administration for 6 more years. He probably thinks that having the majority of elected officials in the country means absolute control of the electorate. KBL had that too but they lost to a ragtag army of ex-politicians, activists, nuns, etc. The die is cast. Majority of PaLaKa members can’t wait to leave the party. They don’t have a “winnable” candidate. Even by their standards of winnability, the three candidates fall short.

    Take for example the province of Cebu, interestingly the local administration affiliated party in Cebu City (BOPK)of Tommy Osmena has said they might support an opposition candidate but be still be affiliated with the administration. That’s a nice way of saying, Cebu’s no admin bailiwick anymore.

    Even in places close to the capital, politicians are simple administration in name only.

    I think Pichay is up for a rude awakening. Or he may simply be sourgraping. He knows they don’t stand a chance unless they cheat or endorse Villar. I predict Pichay or the admin will face a huge split in the middle of the campaign season.

  5. Better for Chiz to be stay put in the senate and be the opposition mouthpiece. I don’t see President Noynoy making good gains, politically or economically, during his administratinon. Noynoy is his mother’s, not his father’s, son.

    Sure there’ll be a honeymoon period, but it will be followed immediately by domestic violence. His presidency will be end in a whimper, not because of his lameness, non-existence of charisma, charm, good looks, or public speaking skills, but because of external forces:
    *12 years of militarism sparked by Erap’s full attack on Moros and fuelled by GMA’s obsession with killing commies has spoiled the military with weapons-to-enemies kickbacks and bribes for generals. Noynoy seems to be a pacifist who will unwind this. The military will obviously not be happy with their livelihood being wound up. Expect unintended consequences in the form of coup de etats or increased military support for drug smuggling and gambling to counter a loss in the livelihood of war.
    *Like the Asian Financial Crisis, the effects of the Global Financial Crisis will catch up late in the Philippines. Expect high unemployment in the years to come.
    *Noynoy, by virtue of being the face of Luisita Inc, will infuriate Maoists. Expect an uptake in guerilla recruitment and warfare.
    *3 decades of unabated population growth will continue to manifest in more urban poor and million of jobless newly graduates. Expect more street protests and rising criminality.
    *Slow global recovery will result in a xenophobic Western world. Expect fewer OFW jobs and lower remittances.
    *Lower remittances will increase dollar amount, thus increased debt repayments and rising oil prices. Expect chronic budget deficits and high oil prices.
    *High oil prices will spike an already rising inflation. Expect food prices to shoot up, ergo, food riots (for reals).

    Chiz wouldn’t want to be the vice-prez defending the admin on 2016. Better for him to be on the other side of the bench fighting Mar Jr come 2016.

  6. sir manolo quezon, is it possible that the admin may run a token candidate but secretly endorsing another candidate by allowing that candidate to freely campaign in admin areas and allowing that candidate to “endorse” local officials who may have another official candidate for prez but secretly supporting the other guy?

  7. Carl,

    It would be Villar, if she opts to act her part. “A man in dark waters seeks a momentary footing even in a steep and slippery stone.” I doubt though whether raising another chicken will do her any good. Utang na loob… Meron ba nito si Villar?

  8. Dear Mr Quezon,
    Apologies for contacting you this way but I have had no luck trying to contact you by email. I wanted to discuss getting your messages out to a wider audience (over 145,000 unique visitors per month and rising daily with the addition of good writers like yourself) via an online Asian Newspaper that covers 13 countries. We need someone of your calibre to represent the views in the Philippines.
    Pls let me know if you are interested.
    Best wishes

  9. If Noynoy winds up becoming president, I hope he surprises me and becomes an able and wise leader. Only the most wide-eyed optimist would anticipate that to happen. Right now, there is no basis to expect that.

    Some argue that Noynoy will be our Obama. I truly hope so. But Americans had a basis by which to judge Obama. Obama was tested in the punishing 2 year period of primaries, facing formidable opponents such as Hillary Clinton. Noynoy is the rabbit that was precipitously plucked out of the Cory Magick hat by a bunch of elitists who are longing to get back in from the cold. While Obama proclaimed the audacity of hope with majestic rhetoric and brilliant intellect, with Noynoy we can only be audacious and hope.

    I sincerely hope to be amazed by the Cory Magick, as transmitted to Noynoy. In the meantime, I will have to agree with SoP’s scenario.

  10. we do not have 2 years but eight months. but you are rendering judgments at the beginning of the eight months and comparing it to the grueling two years. it is a comparison guaranteed to fail. the conclusion you reached would be valid at the end of the eight months, if victory is achieved, but not at the start when all candidates must come forward based on whatever constituencies convince them to put themselves forward in the first place.

  11. PaLaKa will go to their base. We cannot ignore that because it has held despite everything. Pichay’s math that 70 will be divided among opposition candidates cannot be ignored.

    PaLaKa has chosen Teodoro. If Bayani jumps ship and runs, that will be another one eating into the 70 percent.

    If PaLaKa sticks together they might just pull this one off.

  12. Manolo, as I mention, I am hoping Noynoy proves my initial impression of him to be wrong. I will not take him simply on blind faith and hope, but I do have a lot riding on our country. So, for our sake, I fervently hope my skepticism proves to be wrong.

    As for PaLaKa sticking together and pulling this election off, the chances of that happening are even more remote than that of Noynoy finding his voice and his manhood. As Joe de Venecia’s doomed presidential foray proved, no amount of organization or money can turn a frog into a prince. I even have my doubts whether the much-vaunted administration funds will flow.

  13. Carl, blind faith and hope achieves nothing. But if it’s an informed faith and hope, so to speak, then it has the potential to build a sustainable constituency. His entry into the race brought with it a demand for platforms and a desire to scrutinize what will be the basis for unity of his campaign. That can only be healthy. My view is that until his entry into the race, it was purely a race based on more of the same, with the public merely being consumers of ads, but without any real participation outside of casting votes. Otherwise, it would be a battle of machinery. In a battle of machinery than those with deep pockets are the ones with seats around the table because really there’s no other choice considering the public is on spectator mode.

    you have the potential -not the actual reality, just yet, because things have just started- that more of the public will take ownership of the campaign. this is a threat to what you would call the oligopolists, the ones who truly bet big or spread their bets across the board in elections. an energized constituency of ordinary citizens may not provide millions but they provide the means to campaign door to door and person to person; they also have the idealism not to view everything in a pragmatic sense. on the other hand since people also vote on gut issues, the more that ordinary and not just big business or even middle class interests are represented, the more they can take an active part in formulating policy and not just waiting to see if just in case there’s something for them. but even in the case of the middle class, there’s the hope that their interests, as people who have already built up something to lose, yet who do not have the means to protect what they have or flee the country if the leaders mess things up, also have the hope that their aspirations can be represented, too. the masses share the same values as everyone else and want stability, efficiency, fairness, and social justice -opportunity and protection against those who’d step on them as they fight over the spoils of political power. and in a sense they are more inclined on the basis of genuine values than cynical pragmatism. but their bullshit detectors are finely honed. so a candidate has to hope either to dodge the issues or confront them; the campaign will resolve which works better.

    my view on PaLaKa is they can either mobilize as a negative national vote -not enough to win but enough to judiciously add and subtract from those they consider real threats- as well as capitalize on keeping themselves intact so any future president is at their mercy in congress. they have the potential to reclaim the senate, as lack of control of it stymied their plans under gma.

  14. Much of the talk so far has been about the horse race: who’s ahead, who’s giving way, who has fallen from grace. The ground has significantly shifted from under the feet of those who were planning to wage a traditional campaign, and it is breathtaking to observe the public’s reaction to events.

    Now talk is shifting towards Noynoy. Will he make a good president or not, if he indeed is the Chosen One, will he restore order to the domain, etc.

    I wonder if we can focus instead on whether public expectations of their officials has turned a corner, because let’s face it, the poor lad doesn’t stand a chance unless social mores and attitudes of those in govt and without support his call for more restraint in influence peddling, coddling of cronies, smugglers and robber barrons, which caused public officials in the past to raid the state’s coffers and run irrational policies.

    The proper functioning of our formal institutions depends on whether the underlying informal institutions are compatible.

    In short, can the lessons from the last 100 years, from Revolution, Commonwealth, independence pre- and post-dictatorship be crystalised to the point that people from all social strata realise, enough is enough, it is not GMA or whoever is in Malacanang who is the problem, it is us, we need to change?

  15. Please don’t follow in the footsteps of another Filipino living in Australia telling his countrymen how to be better citizens. That shit is getting tired.

    What the fuck is it about Australia that makes the Filipino there gain a condescending attitude to Filipinos living here in our country?

  16. SoP, can we keep the discussion civil, please? I don’t think you get me. I include myself when I say that we collectively need to wake up to the fact that we have all contributed in the past to the problem and need to form a compact for change. I have lived and worked in the Philippines for most of my adult life.

    I tried in my own way to make a difference in my own way and still intend to someday. Just because some of us choose to try our luck overseas for a time does not strip us of the right to care for our homeland or to impart some knowledge gained from our sojourn.

    I am sorry that you feel offended. I was just merely chanelling Al Gore when he said that what matters is not the horse race, but the need for the collective awakening of people to effect lasting change, that’s all.

    Btw Australia is not a perfect place, either, the same sort of corruption and rorting of the system goes on here, but in a controlled way. The people too have their faults. Nothing about the land down under makes it superior in any shape or form. Please do not include Australia or Australians in this. It is not my intention here to hold my host country up as an emblem of all that is great.

  17. Obama is already turning out to be a failure; hope Nonoy will be better.

    Teodoro wants strong man rule, and a return to conscription. and he admits it.

  18. “The Cusp on Wed, 16th Sep 2009 7:31 pm
    I include myself when I say that we collectively need to wake up to the fact that we have all contributed in the past to the problem and need to form a compact for change.”

    I disagree with this. This is what irks me about benignO. I think all the blame should go to politicians and the bureaucracy. Regular citizens shouldn’t be lectured nor are they at fault. That’s just my opinion.

    I’m one those guys who put all the blame on life’s miseries to the government. Regular Juan dela Cruz’s, who piss on walls, cut the line, vote for actor politicians, throw garbage on the street, don’t irk me that much. Their sins are just minor transgressions. I’m pretty sure you know this. I’ve been in Australia on a vacation a few years ago. I saw Australians throwing garbage everywhere on a Saturday night that would shame regular Filipinos. But it all gets cleared on a Sunday morning thanks to truck that mechanically clears garbage off the side of the roads. It’s followed by a pickup truck with a tank of water from an operator hoses the sidewalk with a high pressure valve. It’s all very quick and efficient. I was impressed.

    benignO has a habit of blaming the garbage-throwing public instead of the local politicians who installed metro aides instead of mechanized garbage trucks and water tanked pickup trucks. Well actually he blames them too. But you see where I’m getting at. As long as the government is good, citizens can be bad. I hope you don’t follow in benignO’s footsteps logic, with all the self-flagellating blaming the public shit. Let’s blame to politicos.

  19. SoP, there are good politicians and people in government too. I have met a few and worked with a few. The problem is these honest leaders and bureaucrats can only take society with them up to a certain point. The consent of the people is needed to effect lasting reforms, but if the people are not willing to come along, then reforms will be limited.

    Case in point, I have witnessed someone in my family spend 14 years as a human rights lawyer and advocate for change during the dark days of dictatorship, risk everything to bring back democracy, rescued scores of young activists from certain death, sought to restore rule of law to the nation and his home province. He came close to being killed himself many times, and this was in the early years of Aquino’s presidency.

    After EDSA I, we saw how the clans that controlled power regain their stranglehold on the consciousness of the public, regain their untouchable status. This is quite disheartening, but you don’t see us screaming for their blood.

    Now it seems the country is poised for an Aquino Take Two regime. Let us hope that the country has evolved and matured from where we its was 20 years ago, following People Power I so that this time, more fundamental change can occur and be maintained.

    One more thing: we shouldn’t be afraid to learn from the succceses of other countries. It doesn’t mean we are turning our backs on our native traditions or heritage, if we do. We just need to adapt somehow, for the sake of fulfilling our potential as a nation. That’s all I have to say.

  20. Oh, sorry, SoP, one last thing, I think you will find that the reason there was a garbage truck and street cleaner the following day, is that whoever organised the party informed the local council to perform the clean up (and was probably billed for it). Otherwise they don’t normally collect garbage on a Sunday and that resident would risk having complaints from his neighbors if he didn’t. So you see civic consciousness is reinforced through peer pressure.

  21. If Noynoy’s rating on a nationwide survey mirrored that of the Luzon survey and then he can maintain it up to May next year, I believe every other candidate for president will be eating the dust and Noynoy will be it. This is not to say that I am endorsing him. I have yet to be convinced by him, we’ll see how he’ll fare convincing us until election time.

    Sop’s scenarios of a Noynoy’s governance as president seems sound speculations but speculations just the same. I’ll go with Carl’s hope, blind as it may seems, that Noynoy, if he wins, becomes an able and wise leader. Better to hope than to despair.

    Chiz was no. 1 in the ratings for vice-president, I think it would be wise for him, and for Noynoy, too, to partner as running mates considering their individual winnability. A successful administration under Noynoy and Chiz will boost Chiz chances for the top job in 2016.

  22. Money matters in the local election. Elections will always be fought on the local settings.

    Ninoy maybe a a great candidate but if he wont take care of the local officials who will be participating in the elections it will take him nowhere.

    Pichay has a point. Its great that good guys are getting good ratings on the surveys but when time comes the machinery will wield its might by the local officials who will need to be elected and will spill their success to the national level.

    simple common sense lang naman eh.

  23. Obama is a failure because he does not realize that he is no longer a senator. It keeps him from doing well the field for which he was elected: executive, not legislative.

    Ninoy’s “entry into the race brought with it a demand for platforms and a desire to scrutinize what will be the basis for unity of his campaign.” Yes, because, who is he without it? Surely he cannot expect us to go to him merely because of his being a progeny of revered persons, and his dismal record at lawmaking. Yet even that wont help at all.

    Surely, anybody can come up with a fairly good platform if their political lives hinge on it. But, what good will it do? At best it could make an Obama of him: a president whose failure is at legislation!

    I would be happy enough if a president simply complies with the law, and makes others do the same. Can Ninoy do this? His record and personality hardly justify optimism. Not even his lineage that makes many of us go gaga.

  24. “…70 will be divided among opposition candidates.” Pichay

    If he thinks he is doing Gibo a favor, he must either think again or forever keep his peace. He was rightly rejected at the polls for being pro-Gloria, and rightly so. But this is an entirely new ball game. Gloria is no longer a factor, or shouldn’t be.

    What opposition is he talking about? What and who are they opposing? Gloria is not a candidate. Nor is Gibo a Gloria!

  25. taxj, i don’t know where to start but you definitely have a novel appreciation of what a president does. but i guess this helps everyone lay out what, to their mind, a president does and ought to do.

    this brings up the question of why the leading candidate prior to aquino’s entering the fray refused to debate and has not put forward even a party platform.

  26. I just guess that it would help somehow if we draw a line somewhere. The presidency is not everything. For example, Gibo says that running after Gloria is not his priority. I would rather he said that, “As president, it would be none of my business.”, because it is the truth.

    It troubles me that certain candidates woo voters by promising to wring her neck as soon as they assume office. Prosecution lay in the hands of the Ombudsman, and since it is as dysfunctional as any, the Arroyos’ Girl Friday has to go first. The president cannot do anything about it. Impeachment is the job of Congress. So the focus should be THERE, not in the presidency.

    In 2007 voters showed their disgust for the regime by voting overwhelmingly for opposition senatorial bets. But it proved to be useless because Gloria’s Congressmen still dominated the lowest house. I fear a repeat in 2010 because we keep harping at the wrong bark.

    So, who gets to read, much less, understand platforms. Or, who cares. Certainly not even the candidates themselves!

  27. The thing that disturbs me most about Noynoy is his religiosity (or appearance of). I think he will acquiesce with the Church and won’t implement any form of family planning. Long term, this is our biggest problem. I think we’re reaching Malthusian levels of food scarcity. People are already eating out of garbage dumps. Clearly, the green revolution bypassed our country.

    It’s always the same old story with these presidents. Whoever gets elected will borrow more money to fund the deficit.

    I’ll follow Carl’s advise and invest for the long term. I’m thinking of putting my money on gun retailers, security firms, businesses that put bullet proof glass on cars. Maybe I’ll put up my own business, offer the works: gun training and license, rejigging the house fence (make them higher), security detail, cameras around the house and business, bullet proof on cars, private investigation and negotiation with kidnappers (someone who’ll guarantee ransom drop offs)…

  28. Obama is becoming a failure; the troops are still in Iraq, more are going to Afghanistan, Somalia and Mindanao.

  29. Manolo, I agree that it will be informed faith that has the potential to build a sustainable constituency. My skepticism of Noynoy is based on his past record and on his present demeanor, which is not exactly inspirational.However, I won’t shut the door on the possibility that he will blossom under the microscope of the presidential race. Just as Barack Obama toughened up and developed into a savvy, yet inspirational, candidate after undergoing a 2 year trial by fire in the primaries.

    We have 8 months, instead of 2 years. We can only take what is available to us. I do hope that those 8 months involve deeper and more meaningful discussions than what we’ve been used to. Most of our politicians try to get away with motherhood statements and catchy soundbytes.

    I do have reservations about your statement “that more of the public will take ownership of the campaign”, because it could also mean “ownership” in the form that celebrity fanatics feel “ownership” over their idols (which sometimes results in stalking these very idols).

    I also have reservations about whether this “ownership” of the campaign “is a threat to what you would call the oligopolists, the ones who truly bet big or spread their bets across the board in elections”. Perhaps parallels to Obama’s high technology, web-driven campaign are being drawn. Objectives of which are to borrow the page book from the Obama fund-raising phenomenon, where hundreds of millions of dollars were raised from small donors.

    Clearly, Noynoy’s handlers hope to replicate the Obama web-based grassroots campaign. If they succeed, that will be a first in the Philippines. It could change the way politics is conducted here, which elicits the utmost goodwill in me for this undertaking.

    However, the public’s access to the candidates is very limited, while the oligopolists have clout and money to open the doors. Can Juan de la Cruz “own” a piece of the candidate in the same way that the Lopezes, the Ayalas, the Manny Pangilinans or the Danding Cojuangcos can?

  30. that, indeed is the question, and it would be the first time they’d have a chance to since the magsaysay campaign. i myself wonder if a web-based campaign is relevant in the vote-getting sense, but innovative in getting information up and down the lines.

  31. Hmmm… all this talk of “ownership of the campaign” reminds me of the median voter theory. The idea being that the outcome of any election follows who the median voter (in income terms) goes for. (Of course in a three or four way race it is more complicated.)

    The problem is who will Noynoy be more indebted to if he gets elected? Will it be the national constituency that votes him into office, in that case the ordinary man (median voter), or will it be based on the proportion of funds that he receives from each constituent, in which case the Lopezes, Ayalas, etc get more more leverage.

    But getting back to Carl’s point, all Noynoy has to do then to avoid undue influence by a minority would be to raise enough funds from ordinary people a la Obama to the point that he can actually reduce his dependence on the business community, and therefore lower their bargaining power over him.

  32. “actually raising the bar by revealing who have contributed.”

    I think that’s the LAW, every candidate is required to report the details of campaign kitty within a few days after election. Well, it may be part of the elections laws but implementation is different in RP, that’s why we have all these corruption cases.

  33. a good example is Mikey’s case presently being discussed in mass media several years after election

  34. Whats this I hear about NoyNoy being a closet queen? There are some in the business sector speculating on his orientation, which is quite normal if you’re a male reaching 40 years of age and still unmarried. This also goes for Mar.
    Its a bit unfair but these are coming from affluent and decent people…and makes a bit of sense…just look at their eyes…

  35. Time for some fun. I listed some criteria for the presidency found in this blog. Let’s see who the top three that fits in most, not necessarily in that order. Here’s my own list. Honesty and integrity: Noynoy, Gibo and Chiz. Competence; Gibo, Villar and Chiz. Bearing (mestizo/pogi): Gibo & wife, Villar & wife, Chiz & wife. Traitor (in the context used by mlq3): Gibo, Ninoy a far second. Leadership traits: Gibo, Villar, Chiz. Wicked: Villar, a run away winner. Surveys so far: Villar, Ninoy, Chiz. How about ERAP? Bahala kayo basta’t sa akin, wala siya sa listahan. Does my bias show? Of course, it should. How’s this for starters?

  36. Desperation leaks within PaLaKa. Nothing is actually new with their approval of Gibo as their standard bearer – not another elite member and a puppet of this power-hungry administration. Gibo’s campaign will only be used to defend GMA’s record in government.

    Gibo needs to move heaven and earth to attain that 333% increase of votes in surveys. He may be a promising contender due to his credentials (and with the help of Ronnie Puno), but my friends and I think Gibo will simply be considered a “saling kit kit” in the 2010 elections.

  37. There is still potential for the numbers to be swung during the debates. If one the candidates come out with ideas a blazing, I believe Filipinos can be swayed. Even Teodoro, if he by some miracle becomes an oratorical master overnight and imbibes and spits SoP’s platform, can succeed.

    But seriously, this being the election where people are hungrier for platforms, it just takes one candidate with an ambitious, workable platform to conquer the imagination of voters.

    Can’t wait for the television debates.

  38. Gibo need not defend Gloria. She is not a candidate. He is. The 2010 race for the Presidency has nothing to do with her. Those who ride on her unpopularity are, in effect, paving the way for her least painful exit: ala Imelda. They find it convenient to direct the voters’ ire on the Gloria’s pet presidentiable, not on her comebacking puppets in Congress where the real fight should be.

    We need a forward looking President, not a vengeful one. Of what good would the latter be if Gloria maintains control of a Congress that does not dare lift a finger against the Arroyos’ Ombudsgirl Friday? Who will prosecute the case against Gloria? Certainly, not the President whoever he is. It’s not his job, it’s Congress’.

    History keeps repeating itself so soon. In the 2007 elections the opposition never bothered to explain how important the composition of Congress. The were too engrossed in getting elected to the Senate. Now we are at it again. Welcome the Gloria Congress and an inutile President. With Mercy around need Gloria make a move?

    Who effectively killed the Storm the Gates and the Gloria Resign Now movements? The Gloria haters! How? By going berserk against a phoney enemy: the ConAss. A phoney war, mlq3 called it. Now they are helping her again, by carrying the war to the wrong front. And by falling for another ruse: the congressional race in Pampanga.

  39. @taxj: It would be SOP for the admin’s candidate to defend GMA.
    You say the presidential race has nothing to do with Gloria, but it is all about choosing a leader who would at best replace her and reverse the misgovernance the Arroyo administration has done to the country for 8 years. Why people consider Gibo as a potential contender is due to his academic accomplishments, but this do not measure his ability to lead nor does it say anything of his integrity to rule. Would he be a tool of Gloria and her minions? That remains to be a question.

    Nevertheless, I do agree that the opposition should watch out for GMA’s allies in Congress. All must stay vigilant since Gloria and her gang are always on the lookout for schemes to perpetuate themselves in power.

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