Erap is just a legend in his own mind now
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2009-10-20

Convicted former president Joseph “Erap” Estrada was simply out to promote his 2010 presidential bid and not to encourage the unification of the Opposition. Only an idiot — a person who does not know the truth — would think that the Opposition could unite behind a one candidate for the 2010 presidential elections.

This façade of seeking to promote Opposition unity is easily expected from the man who postured as “para sa mahirap” (for the poor) in the 1998 presidential elections but ended up making the poor more miserable by the time he was shamefully ousted for plunder. Estrada was merely setting the premise for his own selfish plan to reside in Malacanang Palace again. That’s if the voters or the Supreme Court will allow him.

The other presidential wannabes of the Opposition erred when they played along with Estrada’s theatrical stunt of pretending to promote unity. They did this thinking that they could get the support of the pardoned ex-convict.

They were probably truants when the story about the scorpion that rode on the back of the frog in order to be able to cross the deep river was told in elementary class. As the story goes, the frog agreed to carry the deadly scorpion on its back thinking that the scorpion won’t sting as that will also cause its death by drowning. But the scorpion could not escape his nature and still stung the frog. And so, they both died.

By pandering to Estrada’s theatrics, the other presidential wannabes succeeded only in giving the pardoned ex-convict a semblance of recognition and importance. The rational decision would have been to ignore Estrada and consign him to a sorry footnote of history — a convicted president who should never have been entrusted with the power.

Instead of simplifying their task, the other Opposition presidential wannabes complicated it. Now they have a Joseph Estrada entering the 2010 presidential race along with a vice presidential candidate in Makati Mayor Jojo Binay and a complete senatorial lineup. Estrada is even boasting of fielding a candidate for the other 2010 elective public offices.

Luckily for them, Joseph Estrada in 2009 is no longer the idol of the masses that he once was. His transgressions destroyed his image with the masses. Today, Estrada is merely a legend in his own mind. The recently released SWS September 18 - 21, 2009 nationwide survey confirms Estrada’s eroded support base.

Asked to give anywhere from one to as much as three names on who would best succeed Madame Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, 1,800 SWS respondents nationwide preferred Noynoy Aquino, 60%, Manny Villar 37%, Joseph Estrada 18% and Chiz Escudero 15%. Because as many as three names were allowed to be given, the total exceeds 100% owing to the multiple answers.

There was nothing wrong with this survey methodology. It’s simply different from the other past surveys where only the top choice candidate was allowed as answer. This type of survey is very useful in determining candidate potential because it shows how the candidate rates in the voter’s radar of top three choices. Note how Gilbert Teodoro rated less than 1% in a previous single-choice survey but did 4% in the September multiple choices survey.

There was a Private Rider to the SWS September 18 - 21 nationwide survey where only one top of mind choice was allowed and this was discussed in the October 16, 2009 STAR story of Helen Flores (Rider survey data sourced from the ABS-CBN website). In this Private Rider of the SWS survey, the results were - Noynoy Aquino 51%, Manny Villar 20%, Joseph Estrada 11% and Chiz Escudero 8%.

The multiple choices and top choice results were consistent. The rankings were the same (Noynoy — Villar — Erap — Chiz) and merely varied in the percentages due to the multiple answers allowed by the other survey.

In both surveys, Noynoy Aquino dominated. Noynoy registered a phenomenal 60% in the multiple choices survey, leading the second placer, Manny Villar, by a margin of 23%. In the single choice Private Rider survey, Noynoy led Villar by a margin 31%.

In the multiple choices survey, Noynoy led Erap by a margin of 42% and Chiz by 45%. In the single choice Private Rider survey, Noynoy led Erap by a margin of 40% and Chiz by 43%. Noynoy’s lead over Erap was more than Erap’s 1998 vote total of 38%.

That Noynoy enjoyed wide margins over the second, third and fourth placers in both the multiple choices and the single choice SWS nationwide survey underscored his distinct advantage of being what is considered in marketing as the dominant brand.

Noynoy’s immense lead over his rivals would indicate that voters are deciding based on ideological considerations — good versus evil, trust versus distrust, people empowerment versus traditional patronage politics, and so forth. The ideological factor makes it extremely difficult for Noynoy’s rivals to narrow the gap. More than just the man to beat, Noynoy simply looks unbeatable.

Noynoy Aquino will pay a heavy emotional toll for garnering these amazingly high survey numbers. These will prod those rivals of his who resort to employing the wicked methods of evil men — to escalate and intensify their devilish demolition operations.

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