MANILA -- Political analysts believe the pork scam will be a make-or-break issue for the 2016 elections, specifically for the administration candidate.
In an interview with dzMM on Saturday, University of the Philippines professor Prospero de Vera said the ball is in the hands of the government.
"If they bungle the job, then they’re in for a surprise,” he warned, noting that the pork scam issue is merely a “teaser” and many things could still happen between now and 2016.
Nonetheless, by the indications of what is happening now, “a lot of them are nervous,” he added.
De Vera pointed out the amendments introduced to the plunder charges filed against Senators Jinggoy Estrada, Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., and Juan Ponce Enrile. While the Ombudsman eventually dropped the plans, this led some to think that the case against the three lawmakers could be weak.
Furthermore, the three senators are expected to continue complaining of the persecution they are allegedly experiencing in the hands of the government.
De Vera said the senators have brought their case to the “court of public opinion,” in a bid to change the perception of the public.
Public relations specialist Reli German noted that there is also the possibility of the senators running for office anew even while in detention.
Binay versus Mar
Among the likely contenders for the presidential post are Vice President Jejomar Binay and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas, who first faced off for the second highest position in 2010.
Before the pork barrel scam exploded, Estrada’s name was being floated as Binay’s likely running mate. Enrile is also a Binay ally.
German does not think these alliances will hurt the chances of Binay, however. “It may not be that fatal. Unless the government made a strong case against Estrada,” he said.
While Estrada may prove to be a baggage for Binay, “there is the issue of who will be able to face [the latter] in the elections. That person should have the support of class D and E,” German said.
Aquino has not announced publicly who will likely take over his plans for “continuity” for 2016, but Roxas’s name has already been brought up several times.
During his speech last Friday in Iloilo, Aquino said: “Two years from now, we will again pick someone to carry on what we’ve started. I urge you not to deviate. Otherwise, if we go our separate ways, we will not achieve our collective goal.”
Next to him was Roxas.
But German believes Roxas does not have the C-D-E crowd.
Campaign strategist Malou Tiquia added that the problem with Roxas is that he is "not endearing" to voters, calling him a "technocrat.”
Binay, meanwhile, could not just use the issue of “corruption” in his campaign, Tiquia said. “It will be difficult for him. It may be highlighted as your weakness,” she said.
The three analysts agreed that both candidates have a long way to go before each could proclaim a sure win in 2016.
“The presidency is reserved for peculiar people with peculiar circumstances. Both still do not have a compelling story,” De Vera pointed out.
The analysts also urged the voting public to be open to other candidates.
“As long as that person is popular, has the money, but is not a traditional politician and is not in politics, he or she has the chance. With the mood right now against trapos, there is hope for this candidate,” German said.
Tiquia added: “I will venture a guess that there will be someone who’s coming out. Whether that person is winnable today, no. But we should be open to the possibility that there are capable leaders out there.”