Finally, this mayor has agreed to abide by the results of a survey which would determine his possible chances should he throw his hat unto the presidential ring come 2022. Ably supported by an industrialist and several retired generals close to the Duterte administration, this mayor has hugged the headlines for some time and even graced several billboards along EDSA.
Sources say, this survey, which was suggested by his so-called “political analyst” whom I describe as a pretender and this country’s version of Madame Butterfly (for her tendency to change loyalties at mid-stream), aims to convince the mayor to further “up the ante” so to speak, to be able to be considered as a potential game changer in the forthcoming presidential derby.
His PR machinery is already on high gear, as his supporters want to determine if he, indeed, has the chance to clinch the top plum from Duterte two years from now. Actually, for those involved in political matters here, we are actually talking about just one year and ten months as probable candidates for the presidency would surely begin maneuverings for the final slate as early as May or June of 2021 as the filing of candidacy happens on November 2021. Actual elections are slated by May 2022.
Everyone knows that the mayor will probably be in his late forties in 2022– which for some, is already a ripe age for the presidency. If he does succeed, he may probably be the third President in history (the first is Bonifacio, the second Aguinaldo) who became President in his thirties or forties. Such an election may reflect the trend in several Asian and Western countries.
You might say why the early preparations and introductions? As what former Senatorial candidate Harry Roque realized, creating a national image and reputation requires at least two years of constant bombardment of news about the candidate. Take a look at the case of Bato and Go, virtual unknowns yet managed to win national seats last 2018. While Bato made headlines during his stint as PNP chief, it was harder for Go. That explains why Go used the Malasakit centers as his publicity peg which proved to be a major contributory factor in his senatorial victory.
IN the case of this mayor, he momentarily caused a national stir when he staged a city wide cleanup drive which led to a visual and delicious spectacle of a city. This resonated among the middle class which some have already took notice of him and have considered him as a prospective candidate.
Personally, I know that this mayor’s dream is only to become mayor and do what he envisioned for the city. He already had an inkling how a national campaign looks like and we are uncertain what he felt then when he failed to clinch a spot among twelve vacant posts. This may or may not influence his future plans.
For this mayor, there are visibly two options: the first, is to wait for his time and do more good works for the city where he was born and for which loved him and made him what he is right now. Or, battle the titans and sacrifice an extended term.
Battling these titans require not just tons of monies but the candidate must possess a steely will and resolve to win. The 2022 presidential elections looms to be a colossal fight among the Big Boys as they seek to annihilate their respective enemies to get what they want.
The 2022 elections, like in the past, is actually the arena where oligarchical interests play a big part. The main goal is supremacy and supremacy simply means the right to control trillions of pesos worth of public funds. This explains why presidential bets and their supporters are spending billions of pesos because that is a pittance compared with the power to control and manage resources over a trillion pesos.
Supporters behind this administration would move heaven and hell just to maintain the status quo. They have tasted power and monies and they liked it. They would do anything within their power just too annihilate or weaken their political and economic enemies just to perpetuate the Duterte family to power.
The thing is–the administration forces seemed heading towards fragmentation, again along the lines of economic interests by oligarchical benefactors. You have a clique composed of close associates of former SAP and now Senator Bong Go. Another clique exists which wants the presidential daughter Sara Duterte as successor.
The faction led by Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano is organizing his own political base composed of political allies. The Cayetano camp might yet spring out a surprise by aligning with a group composed of allies of former Supreme Court associate justice Antonio Carpio.
Carpio might be the central figure to unite the disparate opposition forces, even of the Liberal party which several kibitzers say, is entirely paralyzed due to lack of talent. Robredo had been a sorry and weak leader while Senator Kiko Pangilinan is continuously failing to provide leadership due to the internal fragmentation caused by the absence of Mar Roxas. The experience in 2018 provided a glimpse of the internal wranglings which caused the Party and its affiliates its worst defeat in decades.
Sources reveal that the Liberals are desirous to coalesce with Cayetano’s and even of GMA’s group and form a formidable force possibly strong enough to fight the Duterte presidential machinery. Strengthened by funds from the Big Boys, and given an assurance of support from Ronnie Puno, a known and self-confessed guru of the elections (he boasts of being the one behind the success of former President Fidel V. Ramos), the possibility of a stronger opposition force exists.
Those outside the loop would surely seek a return to power. Such a possibility requires enormous resources at their disposal and these would probably entail the support of foreign powers desirous to maintain the Philippines as a liberal democratic state than see it fall to oligopolistic, personalistic, and highly feudalist one beyond 2022. The Opposition might possibly clinch a win since they are organizing the youth with break neck speed and the religious sector are busy organizing grassroots units to counter the enormous support network established by Duterte’s forces from 2016 to the present.
Realists however remain convinced of the substantive value of funds in any candidate’s winning strategy. This explains why when candidates for the presidency are mentioned, the name of the Villars crops up.
Manny Villar is the main man nowadays, his wealth boasted by his close association with Duterte. He has his bases covered. He has his wife as top Senator during the elections which justifies her hold of various and highly sensitive posts in the Senate. His lovely daughter also stands guard at the House.
His son commands the biggest political tool of the administration–public works, which we know to be any politician’s ticket to the hearts of the electorate. His daughter in law works as a major functionary in the justice department. His relatives in law control Las Pinas which stands to benefit the minute he or his wife ascends Malacanan.
Ten years ago, Manny suffered a major defeat in the polls. Despite enormous funds at his disposal, Manny lost the election to a scion of a political family whose members both ascended the presidential throne using what people call necropolitics. The mother became president by leading the opposition who sought for justice for her dead husband. The son followed the mother’s footsteps shortly after her death.
Manny now knows that it is not just monies that factor a victory but he must have a formidable reputation. That is why it is actually a toss up between him or his wife Cynthia. Cynthia is perceived differently than Manny, possibly because she has conducted herself rather finely as a politician than Manny’s. Manny has some political baggages foremost of which was his role in the impeachment of his close political ally, Joseph Erap Estrada.
If past actions play a factor, then, surely, Duterte groups should be wary about the Villars than say, the Cayetano’s although if push comes too shove, the Cayetano’s might defer to the Villars in the end game.
This fragmentation, to some, presents an opportunity for this maverick mayor who seemed to be someone who bridges the perceptual divide among various political groups. That explains how important this survey is, since this will determine if all those tons of publicity generated by this maverick mayor’s cleanup drive contributed even at least an improvement in the mayor’s chances.
By the way, I would like to mention how this mayor ranked in the last survey— he ranked sixth.