Presidential derby

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014


THE race for the presidency is already heating up more than two years before the elections.

Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, a recent Rappler report said, has put together a team to prepare for his 2016 presidential campaign. The group’s mandate is to keep Cayetano in the people’s radar screens as a viable presidential candidate. The team’s office is located in a building in Global City in Taguig.

Rappler also reported that Cayetano is tapping the services of a foreign political adviser to provide him tips on running a campaign, among others. Within the next few weeks, Cayetano will be releasing ads to create a buzz and feel the people’s sentiments, according to the same report.

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Cayetano is aiming to be the Nacionalista Party presidential bet but could face a serious challenge from party-mate Sen. Bongbong Marcos, Rappler said.

Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas, on the other hand, may have seen his stock dip in the aftermath of typhoon Yolanda but you can’t count out a man who has no less than the sitting president in his corner.

Roxas has been remarkably quiet after the super typhoon but lately he has made himself more visible, often accompanying President Aquino in his out-of-town trips, including the one to Cebu for the People Power commemoration. Unless a new candidate with better chances of winning comes up before late next year, expect President Aquino to anoint his 2010 running mate as Liberal Party standard bearer in 2016.

But the man who has been most active and most open about his presidential ambitions is none other than Vice President Jejomar Binay.

When Zamboanga City was under siege by Nur Misuari’s men, Binay tried to insert himself in the picture by announcing a truce with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) leader. The announcement turned out to be false but to Binay it was just a hiccup and Binay did not miss a beat. After Yolanda struck, he was one of the first officials to visit the victims with relief goods that allegedly bore his name.

The other day, the vice president announced that he was leaving the PDP-Laban to form his political party, along with his children (Mayor Jejomar Jr. and Sen. Nancy) and Reps. Manny Pacquiao (Sarangani), Gwen Garcia (Cebu 3rd district), Gus Tambunting (Parañaque) and Monique Lagdameo (Makati).

Binay has definitely more political allies than his two children and the four congressmen that he named. Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama should be one of them. In excluding him from his announcement, Binay probably thought that it was better strategy not to name all his supporters immediately or that a congressman has more gravitas than a local executive even if he is the mayor of Cebu City.

With Garcia and Rama in his camp, 2016 presidentiable Binay should be able to perform better in Cebu than in 2010 when he was drubbed by Roxas in the vice presidential derby. This is especially so since he can now count on 4th district Rep. Benhur Salimbangon, who is a staunch Garcia ally, and all the local politicians under One Cebu, to campaign for him.

The favorite should, however, still be Roxas especially if he is able to secure the support of the Duranos of the 5th district. Everything is fluid in politics but as of now, Roxas is assured of the backing of Gov. Junjun Davide, former Cebu City mayor Tommy Osmeña, Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes and Bogo City Mayor Junnie Martinez.

The Gullases are expected to cast their lot with Cayetano because Eddiegul is a member of the Nacionalista Party. They will be joined by the mayors of the cities of Carcar and Naga.

The last three presidential elections saw Cebu going massively for a candidate, starting with Lito Osmeña in 1998. Like Lito, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo overwhelmed her closest rival, actor Fernando Poe Jr. in 1998, a feat that Aquino replicated in 2010.

Will history repeat itself in 2016? And for which presidential candidate?

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 04, 2014.

Opinion

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