The Jojo versus Mar joust starts early
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2012-04-24

DoTC (Department of Transportation and Communications) Secretary Mar Roxas was quoted, as saying: “I can honestly, sincerely, absolutely, transparently tell you that I have no plans.” Mar was referring to speculations that he will be the administration party’s 2016 presidential candidate.

When your Chair Wrecker heard that Mar had categorically stated that he had no plans running for president in 2016, it immediately occurred to me that it was the second best political decision that Mar ever made. In my opinion, the first best political decision that Mar ever made was to give way to Senator Noynoy Aquino as the 2010 presidential candidate of the Liberal Party (LP).

Mar’s announcement was an astute political move. It removed him from being a target of political opponents as well as inhibited being compared to Vice President Jojo Binay, the most popular of the top 5 public officials of the land and admittedly the current frontrunner for the 2016 presidential elections.

We’re not saying that Mar doesn’t intend to keep his word and will do an about-face, like Gloria Macapagal Arroyo Arroyo (GMA), in 2016. Remember how GMA stated in front of the statue of our National Hero, Jose Rizal, in 2003 that she wasn’t running in the 2004 presidential elections — and ran just the same? VP Jojo and Ernie Maceda were the ones who said that Mar would do a GMA about-face, not me. Mar deserves to be given the benefit of the doubt.

Indeed, it’s too early for Mar to announce any plans to run for president in 2016. These plans are best kept close to his chest, perhaps even hidden from wife Korina. There are still many variables for Mar to hurdle before he can assume to be the 2016 LP presidential candidate. He has to do an exceptional job as DoTC Secretary and he needs to do that in order to remove the stigma of his 2010 loss to Jojo Binay.

Also, Mar has to earn the endorsement of President Noynoy Aquino (P-Noy) as the 2016 LP presidential candidate. On the assumption that the P-Noy administration would have already accomplished many positive gains for our country and our people, P-Noy’s 2016 endorsement will be a tremendous political capital. The ratings that we have been getting from S & P, HSBC Research, Goldman Sachs, and the World Bank et al are strong indicators of better economic times ahead under the P-Noy administration.

In politics, too many things can develop in four years — an eternity for presidential aspirants. Within the LP, another political candidate could emerge and outshine Mar between now and 2016. Look at what happened in 2010 and how a dark horse emerged — Sen. Noynoy Aquino — to win the presidency.

P-Noy is a grateful person and he would want to reciprocate Mar’s 2010 noble gesture. However, this personal desire to reciprocate has to be tempered with political realities. A good part of that decision would depend on Mar’s political viability and how the LP feels about a Mar Roxas second presidential run. In Philippine politics, those who had lost a presidential or a vice presidential election are seen as no longer viable for a second attempt. Voters tend to be like horse race bettors and shy away from handicapped steeds.
VP Jojo sees these variables and is bent on remaining in the P-Noy cabinet. P-Noy, on the other hand, has been optimistic that he and VP Jojo had achieved “a meeting of the minds” after discussing these recent issues about some “funny” companions that Jojo keeps. P-Noy used these exact words — a meeting of the minds — when he told me last April 15 about their discussion. Under the present scheme of things, there’s no ruling out that P-Noy might agree to a coalition and endorse VP Jojo for 2016 president.

VP Jojo’s clarification that Ernie Maceda’s statements were his personal views and do not represent those of the VP is seen as a sample of the meeting of the minds. On another front, Jojo Binay attributed his high approval ratings to the trust that P-Noy has bestowed in him. That is another gallant gentleman’s way of confirming a meeting of the minds. P-Noy too was not wanting in this department when he didn’t rule out that he and VP Jojo might be together for the 2016 political fight.

It would be good for our country if competition between the LP and the UNA were confined to parameters of what suits best the national interest. It’s healthy if VP Binay might yet be P-Noy’s endorsed presidential candidate in 2016 because that way the VP will remain a major contributor to the improvements P-Noy wants to accomplish within his term.

It would be counterproductive to push UNA to become the biggest Opposition to the administration. Admittedly, some of the “funny” companions that VP Jojo keeps seem to be working for this development. With the Chinese poised to grab Scarborough Shoal from us, UNITY is the one thing that we need.

Shakespeare: “Madness in great ones must never unwatched go.”

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Election lawyer: PCOS critics should put up or shut up

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A great disservice to P-Noy

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