Third force to win presidency come 2010

June 1, 2009 § Leave a comment

In an election where about 34.4 Million (80% out of 43 million registered voters) are expected to cast their votes, anything is possible. In a two party fight, a presidentiable needs 51% or 17.5Million votes to win. However, in a multi-party fight, the best that a presidentiable needs is about 6-7 million votes to snatch the crown. Of course, the likely scenario come 2010 is a multi-pronged fight among numerous parties. In that case, a presidentiable needs only to spend an amount equivalent to running as a senator. He doesn’t need billions to waste in these elections. He just needs to spend it wisely.

Now, in a tight race such as this, you need a backbone and that is a strong personal network of local executives. Since there would be an inter-locking of interests, constituencies and agendum, a solid base of local executives and organizations is needed. If, for example, a candidate already has this, expect him to win single-handedly than the others. More likely, those who would depend largely on party machinery would surely not make the grade since, in this scenario, victory would depend on the personal network of supporters of the candidate, rather than sheer party power.

That’s why, Teodoro does not have a Chinaman’s chance of winning the elections if pitted against Estrada and possibly, Mar Roxas. Estrada has a solid mass base of support, a mix of fans and supporters gained from years as a traditional politician. Roxas, meanwhile, also has a very solid base of support, gained through years of running as senator. His 18 million is nothing to sneeze at and granted that he gets just a fraction of this, which is still substantial to allow him to win.

Teodoro, meanwhile, would rely on sheer strength of the administration party particularly in resources since this would mean more candies thrown at the sidelines instead of crumbs by other parties. Yet, in honest-to-goodness elections, Teodoro’s antics would probably go to waste since, in the final analysis, local politicians would think of their personal survival first before minding national campaigners like Teodoro. Ultimately, Teodoro would have to rely on his personal network, which, unfortunately, he doesn’t have. He hasn’t campaigned on a national basis and does not have a sterling record running a national campaign. Hence, he stands to suffer the same fate as that of former Defense secretary Renato de Villa, should he insists on running despite not being the standard bearer.

Now, we go to De Castro. De Castro just ran twice—first as Senator and then vice president. Question—can we now say that De Castro has a solid personal constituency of his own? It’s quite doubtful, considering that his numbers are not illustrative or definitive of a solid mass base. Maybe the reason why De Castro continues to enjoy positive support from the masses (as reflected in these surveys, most notably, Pulse Asia) is he hasn’t declared himself a candidate yet and he hasn’t thrown his fate to the Arroyo block. It would be quite different though should De Castro cast his lot with Arroyo’s, in which case, possibly, that would whither support away from him. That would really peel off De Castro’s perceived strength as a candidate since people will now see him as an administration lackey and that will surely affect his chances.

How about Chiz Escudero? Does he have a personal constituency that, despite party machinery, he’s surely win? Like De Castro, it’s doubtful. Chiz is a scion of local politics. It’s only just once that he ran a national campaign, yet, there are indications though that Chiz is slowly building up a personal mass base, like Estrada’s. However, everyone knows that it’s still quite dangerous to bet on Chiz since his influence is still untested. In this case, it is safer to bet with Loren Legarda, since she has shown a consistent base of more than 10 million votes with her successive national campaigns.

What am I trying to say here? In terms of statistical probabilities, a third force, like, for example, a Mar Roxas campaign is surer to win than all the others. Compared with Chiz and de Castro, Roxas is a veteran national campaigner, having campaigned for the senate twice. Of course, it’s safer still to also bet on Estrada since; his influence has not waned despite being incarcerated for some time.

And it’s not certain if Estrada could transpose the public trust reposed to him by the masses to his favoured candidate. FPJ’s case is one. Despite his endorsement, FPJ lost. FPJ could have won if there are no other parties that ran, says Estrada, but I know that he knows that that is surely not the reason why his friend lost.

What people considered then was the track record of FPJ as an official, which, we all know, was non-existent. Sure, those claps, those ohs and ahs of the masses were not votes; they’re simply shallow adulations.

Okey let me recap this so that it’s clearer.

1. I believe that 2010 will be a multi-party fight. Administration will pit De Castro over an opposition candidate, probably in the person of Estrada and a “third force” would emerge, represented by the Liberal Party led by Mar Roxas. What would prevent the possibility of an Estrada-Escudero tandem? Nothing of course, except that the NPC might throw their chances out of the window should they insists on running independently or casting their lot with LAKAS-KAMPI (unlikely).

2. Eventually, Villar’s Nacionalista Party will bow out of the race. Villar is encountering a whole lot of trouble after this ethics scandal. Surely, he’ll reconsider than fight it out. In that scenario, Villar would opt his chances with Estrada camp, since Jinggoy is still sympathetic with him, a sign that he’s still “in good graces” with them. However, Villar would suffer the fate of other wannabes since in the final count; it would just be the Estrada faction of the opposition and the administration that would figure prominently in the leader board.

3. Having said that, it is all the more likely that the elitist factions of Estrada and the administration will cancel themselves out to usher or pave the way for the victory of a perceived third force. Voters would definitely choose the safer opposition—a force that is not tainted with corruption and has a record of service. The question lies is—who will lead this third force? Would it be Escudero? That would be determined from the direction the NPC would take in the coming months. If NPC sways in the direction of the administration, they would be committing suicide and would lose their chance of conquering Malacanang. If NPC sways in the direction of the opposition that would cause a serious split that would pave the way for a third force. Unlike other third forces which ran, and lost under the weight of trapo machineries, this Third Force enjoys both strategic fund advantage and tactical opportunity.

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