The truth about Balay and Samar
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2012-09-06
When political interests were jockeying to put their own man, or woman, at the DILG (Deapartment of the Interior and Local Government) helm that was vacated by the passing of the late Secretary Jesse Robredo, the topic of media speculation focused anew on the so-called Balay and Samar groups of the President Noynoy Aquino (P-Noy) administration.

Would you believe that these so-called groups are nowhere near what media speculations have pictured them to be? Allow me to establish the facts and identify the false assumptions so that all and sundry may be duly enlightened.

Fact: There were such groups as Balay and Samar during the 2010 presidential campaign. Balay is the group that meets at the residence of then vice presidential candidate Mar Roxas. The Balay core would be the Libaral Party (LP) together with the Black and White Movement and the Akbayan headed by Ronald Llamas. Samar is where Maria Montelibano’s Media Bureau and Jojo Ochoa’s legal team held fort. Candidate Noy Aquino’s classmates, his sisters Pinky and Ballsy and Sonny Belmonte would join meetings in Samar.

Fact: There was no conflict between Balay and Samar during the campaign. The differences emerged when several Balay members started blaming Samar for the emergence of the winning NoyBi (Noy Aquino and Jojo Binay) tandem. These fire and brimstone spewing loudmouths of Balay were cursing people who were not even dwellers of Samar. To begin with, these discord sowers of Balay should have blamed themselves for the slide that Mar suffered during the campaign - from what should have been a sure winner to a pathetic loser.

In the 2010 campaign, Mar’s presidential candidacy was floundering, usually ranked fourth in ratings. Mar picked up in ratings when he gave way to Noy and ran for vice president instead. Noy Aquino and Mar Roxas started with over 40 percent ratings, the result of the Aquino phenomenon. Both of them were naturally targeted and eventually started to suffer rating drops. There was a point, in January 2010, when Manny Villar was just 2 percent shy of Aquino. In the case of the vice presidential race, Mar only faced a serious threat on the last three weeks of the campaign. Erstwhile second placer Loren Legarda slid to third place while Binay went on to edge out Mar in the very last polls and the elections. The last polls showed Binay leading by 2 percent, with a plus/minus 3 percent margin of error.

Balay has been trying to sell the big falsehood that the victory of Binay was totally unexpected. Both the SWS and Pulse Asia polls showed the downward trajectory of Mar and the upward trajectory of Binay. Per statistical probability, in a close fight, the upward moving candidate would usually emerge the winner. Instead of shooting off their big mouths, the lieutenants of Mar should have matched Binay’s on-the-ground machinery. They didn’t do that and they then put the blame on so-called NoyBi ‘traitors’ and cheaters, both unsubstantiated.

Fact: While Balay was a cohesive, well-coordinated group — except for winning the vice presidential election — Samar groups (communications, legal, classmates of Noy, PinBall of Pinky Abellada and Ballsy Aquino) worked independently of each other. Balay was totally irresponsible for attacking Samar for the loss that Mar suffered on account of Balay incompetence.

Among those who were being bad mouthed by Balay members for the loss of Mar were yours truly, Conrad de Quiros, Tony Meloto, Pinky Aquino Abellada, Ballsy Aquino Cruz, Peping Cojuangco, Popoy Juico et al. Conrad and yours truly became their targets for reading correctly what the polls showed — a Jojo Binay win. Tony Meloto was targeted for being close to Boy Montelibano. Peping Cojuangco was targeted because he is everybody’s favorite target.

Fact: The false impression of a NoyBi operation in Samar had been the result of ‘guilt’ by association. The real promoters of NoyBi were Jose “Boy” Montelibano (Maria’s husband) and Pastor “Boy” Saycon and both Boys had nothing to do with Samar. Just because the two Boys were very close to some of those who were working in Samar, doesn’t justify calling everybody in Samar a traitor. Boy Saycon had the perfect response to that ‘traitor’ tag when he said: “We choose our leaders. Our leaders do not choose us.”
Balay had no business displaying an attitude of ‘entitlement’ — that anybody voting for Noy must also vote for Mar. It has been a tradition in our country to vote for mixed combinations, meaning presidential and vice presidential candidates from different parties.

Fact: Even today, there is no Samar power block operating as a well-coordinated and cohesive unit in contrast to Balay, which continues to meet regularly and operate like they were a shadow government. Of course, it was but natural that the members who worked in Samar would tend to assist each other in the face of Balay attacks. That’s a usual defense mechanism. They’ll be overwhelmed if they didn’t complement each other against Balay.

Too much time and energy have been wasted on this Balay versus Samar speculation, the product of idle minds and sloppy reporting. It’s time to channel our resources towards realizing the bigger objectives of our country — real independence, real sovereignty and economic emancipation.

Shakespeare: “Madness in great ones must not unwatched go.”

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