The Anointed Ones

GMA and MV

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.

Arroyo and Teodoro

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).

Manuel L. Quezon III.

41 thoughts on “The Anointed Ones

  1. Excellent analysis, MLQ3.


    These graphs, surveys, etc will be an ongoing discussion for months to come. I suggest we promote a unified color code for each candidate. This would help in continuity of thought while reading different posts, articles etc…..

    YELLOW—Aquino, it has been Aquinos’ color for years

    ORANGE—Villar or was it Escudero who suggested he adopt this color?

    BLACK—Teodoro, as MLQ said Gibo is the tar baby

    BLUE—any candidate who is more or less related to the blue ladies of martial law or Conjuangco ( they are of the same cohort anyway)

    RED- Erap or his sidekick , I think red is Erap’s favorite color based on his old movie characters

    Others may have different ideas for color coding. The point here is to have uniformity and continuity of color codes to aid the readers in scrutinizing all these graphs and surveys. Going back and forth to different legends is not efficient in managing time.

  2. “Those resources would be better used to reclaim the Senate, for example, or maintain its existing bailiwicks on the local level.”

    Those resources will be at the disposal of Noynoy once he becomes president. The admin has an eight month window to using the current resources.

    Which means the senate or local heads will shift allegiance to Noynoy once he becomes president because he has the kitty bag. Will they honor their utang na loob to the current admin who funds their election? No they won’t. The Lakas-CMD machinery will dissipate. Say hello to turncoat butterfly politicians who will flutter about their Liberal Party wings.

    The business community doesn’t have a tradition of funding the election of lawmakers and local heads or lobbying congress and senate. Traditionally, the go straight to backing a President (Like Lucio Tan was to Erap, and other tycoons and admin was to de Venecia).

    “Which, to the truly pragmatically inclined, might suggest either or both are the actual Anointed Ones of the President, not Teodoro.”

    It would be stupid of them to support both Villar and Escudero, as it spreads out resources and votes and will only ensure a Noynoy victory. My money is on Villar already making a secret deal with the admin. His money plus the admin’s money will ensure a close contest vs Noynoy. The payback? Guaranteed GMA pardon or stifled plunder case vs Arroyo.


    1)Ramon Ang (RSA to SMC insiders) still receives instructions from d’Boss on political issues.He is virtually independent on purely SMC issues.

    2)”C-5 at tiyaga” and GIBO are expected to be the main benificiaries of D’Boss’largesse.

  4. The analysis provided of internet searches only covers the technorati though and is but an indicator of the “interest” of this group in the “story” dominating that day, namely the events surrounding a particular candidate.

    At best, it serves as a good proxy measure for the media story most paid attention at differet points in time. What matters is the overall narrative which I think is the more valuable piece of the analysis.

    If the administration succeeds in making this election about qualifications and experience, it will weaken Noynoy’s appeal. Its officially anointed one or any of its proxy candidates can then capitalise on this.

    If on the other hand, the narrative becomes about “good v bad governance” as the CBCP is now proclaiming it is, then Noynoy will have no problem winning the race.

    I will repeat what I have said before that people love a good storyline. Qualifications and experience however do not make a compelling narrative, unless they are bolstered by a bigger one, say about “rags to riches”.

  5. may i disseminate your analysis to my students? i’m a professor here in davao city and i’d like to give intelligent information and data to my students who are much excited to vote. so that they would be aware that vigilance in this coming 2010 election is the only weapon for all of us so that we will not be cheated again and again. one of my students asked me yesterday in my class, what if teodoro wins yet he does not even make a dent in the survey. i answered, it may be possible given the administration’s penchant to boast of their machinery. she asked me what do we mean by machinery? the machines will vote for him? i said we, Mindanaoans, have something very serious at stake here. we know that the Mindanaoan votes were used to beef up the statistical discrepancy in the 2004 presidential election results. we have to be extra wary and extra vigilant.

  6. Speaking of “rags to riches”, with regards to the “Willie Revilliame” effect as the torch bearer of the NP Senate Slate – does it signal the kind of “distributive” policies (by raffle and fanfare) Villar intends to pursue as President?

    I can just picture the program mechanics for distributing land titles or public housing a la Wowowee…

    With regard to Teodoro’s platform of cha-cha to reduce Congress into a single chamber, I am a firm believer in a two chamber legislature. But I think that the way we elect Senators should be altered so that it follows proportional voting based on a party-list elected on a nationwide basis.

    This will allow the Senate constituency to be defined based on issues and platforms, while the lower house remains partitioned by local districts. Right now, the personality driven selection and election process for the upper house does not promote strong party allegiances. Is there any appetite for this kind of change though I wonder.

  7. cusp, i support block voting for the senate, which was the original setup precisely as to thwart it turning into merely a contest of fame or money. the elimination of bloc voting was introduced as a pro-democracy measure but was fatal to parties.

  8. after having read everything i’m still hung up on what you said about willie revillame running for office. good lord, if he wins, this country is really going to the dogs!

  9. “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.”


    The Adiministration will not waste resources on Teodoro. It is fully aware that he doesn’t stand a chance. GMA was actually intending NOT to field or to back up an administration candidate for president. It was the administration-backed governors and congressmen who took matters into their own hands and engineered some kind of proclamation of an administration presidential and vice-presidential candidate. This wasn’t entirely out of conviction or for love of PaLaKa. It’s to pin down the administration into allocating funds for the electoral campaign, which the local and congressional officials hope will be channelled to them. Eh, kung walang administration ticket, baka gutom sila.

    But it still doesn’t minimize the fact that the administration is half-hearted about fielding a full line-up, from president on down. With a line-up, some money will have to be allocated. But those who expect a flood, will be seriously disappointed. The president is more concerned about her own survival after the elections. And she knows that backing an administration candidate for president is not a viable option. She will spend resources on other options. Perhaps behind the scenes.

  10. This incessant talk of Villar’s possible annointment by the administration is a very potent ‘sword of damocles’ hanging over his head that will grossly damage his good chances of winning the presidency if he does not agressively address this in a manner convincing to the electorate. Villar’s reacting lamely if not totally ignoring such talk will work in Noynoy’s favor. The business sector allied with the administration must tread lightly with their moves in supporting Villar if Villar is it that this administration wants to annoint else they give themselves away and Villar as well.

  11. there is actually a hidden ace , the participation of the miracle worker, great equalizer, MR. Make a Difference Puno all these analyses become mute and academic when he starts doing his game !!!

  12. “there is actually a hidden ace , the participation of the miracle worker, great equalizer, MR. Make a Difference Puno all these analyses become mute and academic when he starts doing his game !!!”-aeagleblue loyola

    ah. that is assuming that the fight is close. and Villar is amenable, however secretly, to be the annointed one. my take he’s an independent-minded guy. if one candidate pulls away in the surveys up to election time, then the miracle of the miracle worker will be impotent. remember that MR. Make a Difference Puno has a history of sticking with the winner, if the clear winner prior to election would be Noynoy then would it be a mystery where the miracle guy be poising his miracle and his glue to stick on?

  13. “if one candidate pulls away in the surveys up to election time, then the miracle of the miracle worker will be impotent.” – Bert

    What if the miracle worker’s stratagem is not “to pull away” from the basement but merely to creep up (“trending” up) to still suspicion that a miracle is actually at work, now you got a potent worker.

    We have to keep a wary eye of any signs of KAMPI-Smartmatic-TIM-COMELEC coalition.

  14. The magic of MR. Make a Difference Puno is greatly diminished with the advent of automated elections. Election money will now focus on the power of media and vote buying.

    Could the recent Supreme Court ruling on the 24% sequestered CIIF San Miguel shares favoring its conversion into preferred shares and thus losing the government’s voting rights in San Miguel be the quid pro quo deal that will usher Danding’s support for his nephew? It is also interesting to follow the guys that holds the gold and their in fighting specially that of Pangilinan and Ang. And then there are the Chinoy taipans and the Spanish mestizos. It’s just like horse race betting, the bettors establish the odds.

    Gibo will be a serious contender if he is able to harness the ruling coalition’s political machinery and his Uncle’s money. On the other hand, Villar has the capability of matching this financial muscle while the Noynoy Obama style grassroots/volunteerism may just be a temporary spike. The key to Obama’s victory was they were able to raise money from the grassroots, so Noynoy will be in big trouble is he is not able to amassed this much needed gold for his campaign from his grassroots supporters. Remember, there is no free lunch! Unless, of course, ABS-CBN invests in him.

  15. Villar will still make it.. He is the least wicked amongst the bunch. He is the one who wants it the most.

    He is not part of the old landed gentry. He wishes to start a new brand of gentrification. he was able to game the financial system (even the international financiers) by using the weak judicial institutions.

    He will be better at curbing corruption as you need a thief to catch a thief.

    However good intentioned Noynoy is he is a product of a primitive system and will not make substantive changes. Different face same system.

    All those dogs in Lakas-Kampi will simply switch anyway..

    You still do no have a critical mass of empowered citizens to make the substantive changes.

  16. We should be less focused on the horse race and be more attentive to the way the race is conducted. The mere fact that Sec Puno has the dubious reputation of possibly affecting or altering the count in previous elections and maintains the capacity for doing the same in 2010, even more so now given his local government portfolio, strikes me as an intolerable situation. Yet we speak of it as if it were just par for the course!

  17. “. . . the bettors establish the odds.”


    The bettors go with the odds, not the other way around. The money flows to the perceived winner. Machinery is overrated. Erap demonstrated this in 1998. He had no machinery to speak of. And his campaign raised more money than it needed to.

    In 1992, Mitra had the machinery and the resources. But Mitra was a hard sell. The “machinery” simply took the money and ran. Mitra lost miserably.

    Teodoro-Puno is definitely a hard sell. And Puno’s vaunted skills at manipulation are only viable in close races. Puno’s tactics worked with FVR-Miriam and GMA-FPJ because the races were too close to call. Puno may be a skilled illusionist, but he’s no miracle worker. And putting Puno in the administration line-up further hinders his effectiveness. Puno can’t be hands-on in behind the scenes operations if he has to go out and spend time campaigning.

    I do think that greater imagination and innovation is needed in this campaign. The traditional ways, while probably still effective in local and congressional races, will be diminished. The Noynoy camp is onto something. Taking a leaf out of the Obama grassroots campaign bears promise. However, applying Obama’s strategies to the Philippine setting will be tricky.

    Noynoy’s advantage is that his probable challengers seem to be stuck in the past. They all seem to be clueless about the current mood and situation. They all seem to be relying on the usual bag of promotional tricks that were used in the past. The public is not as ready to buy into that anymore. Which is a good thing, I think.

  18. Volunteerism is definitely one way to reduce the costs of an election. Some behavioural experiments involving volunteers has shown that when monetary incentives were offered, the level of volunteerism actually declined.
    What this means is that people volunteer not because they expect something out of it (monetary or otherwise), but they do it out of a psychic benefit (call it altruistic high). It is more related to gift giving, in which reciprocity is expected in kind, which is different from a market transaction.
    The people might be saying, we offer ourselves as volunteers, not because we expect to get payback later on. They may be saying, pay us back in kind, by way of honest governance. This is both an expression of kinship (bayanihan) and self-interest (reciprocity in gift-giving).

  19. I must add that another advantage Noynoy has over his challengers is that he has the Lopezes and ABS-CBN on his side, trying to whip up the old Cory Magick. This is a huge, huge advantage. As Fox News has lately demonstrated in the U.S., whipping up the Republican base of rednecks, evangelists and white trash to engage in a grassroots campaign to denigrate Obama and his policies. The surveys from several reliable U.S. pollsters show that the Fox News-instigated call to arms is working! It is now transforming itself into a movement. And Obama’s poll numbers are tumbling. Even the President of the U.S.A. has great difficulty matching the reach of a major media network.

    Noynoy’s handlers will have to be able to utilize ABS-CBN’s reach to create a movement. If they succeed in transforming Noynoy’s presidential campaign into a crusade or a movement, then he will be unstoppable.

    The challenge for those who want to contest Noynoy for the presidency will be to figure out a way to prevent his campaign from becoming a crusade.

  20. “The challenge for those who want to contest Noynoy for the presidency will be to figure out a way to prevent his campaign from becoming a crusade.”

    You’re right on Carl.

    Also, if I may add, the best thing Noynoy’s handlers can do is to pick the right opponent for Noynoy. Noynoy’s camp will be powerful enough that he can do that, choose which conversation to enter. He could pick to pit himself with a lower-key candidate as long as that candidate can help him put forward his platform. Pipili sya nang papatulan and Villar seems OK to me. Wag na nyang patulan si Gibo. They shouldn’t even mention his name or only reluctantly when he has to.

  21. The selection of Gilbert Teodoro was a very good political move. Danding Conjuangco has his own political party with two contenders for the President and VP positions, namely Chiz and Loren. On the other hand, Danding has been getting a lot of business under the Gloria administration and the administration candidate, Teodoro, is his favorite nephew.

    So this move by Gloria to select Gibo is basically to consolidate political forces and financial resources to counter the strong Noynoy following. They expect more outpouring or support in the Noynoy campaign so they badly need to do this.

    As for Villar and ERAP, they will continue to be distracted by on-going investigations but we can look forward to an interesting three or four-way political contest in 2010.

  22. I am glad Mar with his announcement today recalibrated his message about the campaign being about “good v evil” in favour of “tuwid laban sa tiwali”. The playing down of the moral overtones of his earlier pronouncements will help elevate the discourse and prevent the extreme polarisation that such rhetoric brings.

  23. @MLQ3

    the first two links are still very small (87kb lang ang isa).

    the last link has event F, which is not shown on the graph.

  24. thanks!

    i finally understand how google trends works…

    this is my interpretation:

    comparing gibo and noynoy alone for Sept 2009, Noynoy has a search volume 8.3 times that of gibo. [these are the numbers beside their names at the top of the graph]

    however, if you look at the trend lines post gibo’s announcement, you’ll find that noynoy is trending below average (his line is below 1.00, which is the normalized to noynoy’s search volume), while gibo is higher, at 1.00, which is EIGHT times higher than gibo’s september average.

    gibo is trending UP in a bigger way than noynoy, whose largest increase was on Sept 9, when he announced (largest increase in sept that is).

    noynoy’s increase was only 3 versus gibo’s 8.33.

    its too early to say gibo is unpopular relative to noynoy.

    noynoy’s search volume is bigger. but gibo is trending up in a big way.

  25. yellow belle,

    you would help your students tremendously if you persuade them to disregard surveys.

    a survey is only accurate, if its accurate at all, only at the time it was taken. “if elections are held today, this will be the outcome…” is the tenor of each survey. people can still change their minds even just before they write on the ballot

    surveys serve another sinister purpose – it conditions the mind of the public, such that if the survey front runners lose, they will claim they were cheated, and they will point out that surveys said they’re in front!

    the choice of 1,200 people reflect the choices of 45 million voters **sigh**

  26. it’s too early to say that noynoy had the best chance of winning…the silent majority/undecided most of whom had watched the recent presidential debate on TV had made up their minds of whom to pick as the next president…i was for noynoy before because i thought there’s no one else around who could replace GMA…add also emotional and media hype(bias) that was brought about by tita’s cory death…we were blinded by it and we thought that there should be someone who could be the next tita cory/ninoy…

    i am for gibo now…that’s a sure pick…i find him full of conviction, wit and determination that no other candidate have…a humble man indeed will eventually be lifted up…

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