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Erap will support Poe over Binay for prez

Is it Roxas-Poe or Poe-Roxas as the Liberal Party’s team for the 2016 presidential election? This is the quandary with which LP leaders are wrestling at present.

It’s too bad that there are no more party conventions that choose a party’s candidates. The process was truly democratic then: The leaders of a party gathered to vote for its standard-bearers. Aspirants brought supporters, orators, brass bands, entertainers, public relations people, etc. to the convention to do everything they could to have their candidates chosen by the party as its candidates. It was like a huge celebration or a town fiesta. Food, drinks and money flowed, alliances and enmities formed, plenty of horse-trading and skullduggery occurred, banners and posters and promo materials floated everywhere. In the end, everyone except the losers went home happy. But sometimes, even the losers went home with something, depending on their skills in horse-trading.

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Now it is different. Now it is only the top leaders who make the choices. And the president’s choice carries a lot of weight.

The other day, President Aquino revealed that he has talked to Sen. Grace Poe as a possible candidate of the administration party next year. He did not say, however, whether the candidacy was for president or vice president. She is No. 2 in the opinion poll rankings, just behind Vice President Jejomar Binay whose ranking is steadily going down because of the corruption allegations against him. It won’t be long before Poe overtakes Binay.

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Interior Secretary Mar Roxas is No. 3 in the rankings. He is the presumptive LP standard-bearer, but he has consistently been lagging in the surveys.

People say it is because Roxas has not yet officially declared his candidacy whereas Binay, who is leading in the surveys, declared that he is running for president on the very day that he was proclaimed vice president. He has since done nothing but campaign for the position, which has led people to wonder whether or not he is violating the Commission on Elections rule against premature campaigning.

Political observers say that once Roxas declares his candidacy, his ranking will shoot up.

Other observers say, however, that there seems to be a resistance to Roxas, and that he himself seems to be gun-shy, unsure of himself, afraid of losing again to Binay who, surprisingly, beat him for the vice presidency in 2010.

Supporters and sympathizers are said to be increasingly growing frustrated by Roxas’ lack of aggressiveness in projecting himself as a presidential candidate.

But the Roxas camp says it is too early to campaign now and that he wants to complete certain projects first so that he can show something to the voters.

The same supporters also claim that Roxas was double-crossed by members of the Aquino-Cojuangco clan, although he was the running mate of Noynoy Aquino and Binay was running in the opposition ticket. These clan members secretly campaigned for a “Noy-Bi” (Noynoy-Binay) ticket. Even now, these clan members do not hide their preference for Binay as the administration candidate. That is why Binay has not openly attacked P-Noy’s administration and still pretends to be part of it. In fact, Peping Cojuangco and wife Tingting had publicly urged their nephew Noynoy to step down from the presidency—to be succeeded, of course, by VP Binay.

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And P-Noy himself, in a press conference in Canada where he announced that he had spoken with Poe as a possible LP candidate, noted that Roxas is behind in the opinion polls. Which supports the belief that P-Noy is thinking of Poe as his candidate.

Grace Poe topped the last senatorial elections and she acquitted herself well, as committee chair, in the Senate investigation of the Mamasapano massacre.

But there is one big advantage in having Poe as presidential candidate. Besides being the daughter of Fernando Poe Jr., the late “King of Philippine Movies” who, supporters say, should have been president had he not been “cheated” by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the senator will be backed by the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino of Manila Mayor Erap Estrada.

The United Nationalist Alliance, Binay’s party, is 90-percent PMP. The two other members of the triumvirate, Binay and Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile (now in detention for corruption charges) brought only themselves and their families to the opposition coalition. Binay himself was forced to quit his own party, PDP-Laban, because of differences with party president Sen. Koko Pimentel. Binay could not have won the vice presidency without the Erap votes, his running mate, and, of course, the double-cross that Roxas got from P-Noy’s relatives. Similarly, Binay cannot win as president without Erap’s PMP votes.

I asked Erap who he would support if the presidential race is between Binay and Poe. Without hesitation, he replied: “Grace, of course.”

Erap elaborated: “Grace is the daughter of my bosom friend, FPJ. I was the one who convinced FPJ to run for president. But I was not able to help him campaign because I was already in prison. Helping his daughter become president is the only way I can make up for that shortcoming.”

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TAGS: 2016 Elections, Grace Poe, Jejomar Binay, Joseph Estrada, Mar Roxas, presidential candidates
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