The 3 most important questions to ask yourself in voting for senators

Analysis by Raïssa Robles

Posted at Apr 29 2013 08:27 PM | Updated as of Apr 30 2013 04:27 AM

Understanding the Elections – Part I:

People have asked me to tell them who I’m voting for senator this May. Rather than give you a list, I will explain how I choose the senators I’ll vote for.

I’m sure many of you will be surprised that you yourselves probably go through a similar process except you do it intuitively.

The three questions I’m asking myself are the following. Each question affects the other two questions. I will explain later why:
    QUESTION ONE: Who do I want to be President of the Philippines in 2016?

    QUESTION TWO: Which political bloc do I want to have control of the Senate, the Commission on Appointments, the Presidential Electoral Tribunal and the Senate Electoral Tribunal: The bloc of President Benigno Aquino (PNoy) or the bloc of Vice-President Jejomar Binay?

    QUESTION THREE: Who are my personal choices for senator?

The answers to Questions ONE and TWO will affect the answers to Question THREE – Who are my personal choices for senator? -

I will tackle Question ONE and Question TWO first and later do a separate piece on Question THREE.
QUESTION ONE: Who do I want to be President of the Philippines in 2016?

This is a most unusual mid-term poll we’re having. Traditionally, the election is a test of the incumbent president’s popularity and mandate with the people.

This time, it is definitely a dry run for Binay’s 2016 presidential bid.

Only Binay has categorically stated that he is running for president in 2016. He has no choice, I guess.

In 2016, he will turn 74 years old. While he may live even longer than Enrile, by the time 2022 rolls around, he will be 80. Probably too old for the presidency.

In 2011, Binay made known his desire to become president in 2016. This means, he has had two years to prepare for the 2013 polls. The election this May is but a preparation for the 2016 polls.

Veteran politician and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile made the same observation. Enrile, Binay’s party mate, said: “2013 is a testing ground on whom the people will support. This is what you call a curtain raiser” for 2016.

Notice that Binay put up a new coalition for the May 2013 elections – UNA – or United Nationalist Alliance. UNA is no longer the political vehicle of Joseph Estrada when he ran for president in May 2010. It is Binay’s vehicle for 2016.

Binay has fielded his daughter Nancy for senator. She not only has NO political experience. She also has NO political presence anywhere in the country. We can therefore presume that she is placing in the magic 12 due to the sheer pull of VP Binay’s name, plus something else. That something else could be the promises that Binay is making to local political candidates who are willing to carry Nancy Binay’s name on their sample ballots.

There is also the fact that Nancy Binay’s surname begins with the letter “B”. Here’s a trick I learned from a veteran political operator, who told me how they are able to subtly influence the results of a political survey. Part of the art is in deciding how to present to survey respondents the “universe” or list of names to choose from – in this case, alphabetically.

Alphabetically, Nancy Binay’s name is number five in the Comelec official list. And the surname Binay is a familiar and popular name.

Normally, a vice-president can pretty much sit out an election of senators and local officials. But this time, VP Binay is busy campaigning like a candidate. He is so busy that he even skipped Estrada’s recent birthday party-turned-political campaign rally. Normally, you don’t do that to your most important political ally.

But Binay felt he needed to be way over in La Union, the northern tip of Luzon, campaigning. He even told a press conference there:

“I didn’t know how to apologize to him (Erap). I just told him Sir, please understand. We have to work.”

The alliance between Estrada and Binay is an opportunistic one. Binay all but stabbed Estrada in the back during the 2010 elections with the “NoyBi” campaign. Still Estrada agreed to Binay’s UNA, where Estrada now seems to be content to play number two. Or it could be just practical, amoral politics at work. No friends, no enemies, no principles: just pure political calculation.

Estrada is fighting for his political legacy. He wants to erase his conviction for plunder by capping his life with a victory – first as president. And when that did not pan out, then as mayor of the nation’s capital. He needs all the help he can get fighting Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim. Especially Binay’s help.

Because Manila is one of the places where Estrada LOST to Benigno Aquino in 2010. Estrada only got 214,517 votes in Manila, compared to PNoy who got 298,217 votes.

Binay got much more votes in Manila than either Estrada or PNoy. Binay got 375,813 votes in 2010.

However, Lim topped them all by getting 395,910 votes.

So, just to recap, here are the votes that the four politicians got in Manila:

    Lim – 395,910 votes

    Binay – 375,813 votes

    PNoy – 298,217 votes

    Estrada – 214,517 votes

Still, between the two geriatrics fighting over a decaying city like Manila, it is difficult to tell who will win city hall – Dirty Harry or the Guy convicted of Dirty Money.


Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.