Nota Bene (Voice of the Capiceños)

by Gerry T. Pagharion, Editor In Chief – The Capiz Times

Why Mar Roxas’ sudden decline in surveys?

It could be largely attributed to the NOY-BI (Noynoy Aquino and Jojo Binay) campaign as well as  the campaign mounted no less by  Sen. Francis Escudero. SMAR (or short for Sen. Mar Roxas) was over confident of winning that he decided to  focus more on  helping the LP candidates at the local level than focusing on its own.

–– Name Withheld, Provincial Capitol employee

Surveys are just surveys. The figures  should have been converted into actual votes.  How to convert the votes was  the Roxas camp’s dilemma.

––– Jessie Calmorin, former writer, The Guardian

Maybe there was something  wrong in the strategy of the campaign. From what I knew, Binay went directly to the people to ask their support while Mar relied on his men, some of whom cannot be relied upon,  or thru his political ads. In short, people only recognized Mar on TV as compared to Binay who went out of his way to meet the people personally.

––– Rodel Estrellan, GO Binay supporter

“Siguro he paid much attention on his nearest rival, Loren, gani nalipat siya that he has other rivals who are capable of toppling him from the top.  Likewsie, I suppose Chiz is more popular than Teddy Boy as an endorser.

–– (Chabilita, 22, Roxas City)

I think it’s because of overconfidence and of the fact  his camp had stubbornly insisted on blue when it was clear that yellow was the “color of the hour.”

The moment Sen. Mar Roxas, the vice presidential candidate of the LP in the last May 10 elections, decided to give way to now presumptive President  Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, his camp became so confident of his chances of winning.  How many times was his (Roxas’) camp caught napping, to borrow the words of Sen. Serge Osmeña,  because of this overconfident attitude?

As early as March, particularly in the March 19 to 22 survey conducted by the Social Weather Station, there was already a trend of a Binay surge.  In that survey, Mar was still very much comfortable in his place (enjoying a 42-percent lead in terms of voting preference) as against Legarda’s 25 percent and Binay’s 21 percent ( up by 4 points from 17 in February).

It is clear, therefore, that that there was already a pro-Binay sentiment snowballing across the country that time which, instead of being taken seriously, was just ignored by the Roxas’ camp.  Then came the news that Roxas was blocking Binay’s ad on TV.  What more, Roxas ran after pro-Binay’s media handlers led by Chiz Escudero and there was a falling out within the party. This made Binay an underdog and it even pictured Mar as an “oppressor.”

Still, Roxas’ camp remained as confident as ever, telling his two closest rivals Legarda and Binay to just fight for the No. 2 position.  This statement had  hounded  throughout  the campaign and many electorate got turned off by it, in the same way  that Binay’s having a “keptwoman” or having  sired a child with another woman had apparently boomeranged.

Then, unknown to Roxas, many of  Noynoy’s supporters from the Yellow Movement had been protesting the senator’s propensity to stick to color blue when he was supposed to embrace the “Cory mystique.”  This was, in fact, the reason why he gave up his Palace bid: To acknowledge the Cory phenomenon shortly after she died.  So, he could have set aside blue and turned to yellow, apparently the “color of the hour, ” so as not to alienate himself from the Aquino loyalists. He did turn yellow, but only at the last hour and that it was already too late.

Did Roxas misread the situations?   Did his advisers bother to tell him of the “real scenario” and to undertake some damage control?   Or his camp was just caught flat–footed?

It also did not help that Roxas and his party had acquired a “trapo-image,” as PDI columnist Conrado De Quiros had put it.

Dr. Ofelia Samar-Sy, president of the Pinoy Power Bicol Coalition of Volunteers, stated in an article that appeared in a  national daily that they were indeed caught flat-footed by Roxas’ sudden decline in surveys and Binay’s unexpected surge in the vice presidential race.

They said they decided to” go blue and helped Roxas.”

Explained Sy: “We held a blue caravan, put up posters and distributed campaign materials.  It was late for us to realize that some volunteer groups felt left out and antagonized by some Roxas Supporters.  They decided to stop supporting him.”

But all is not lost.  Who knows, Roxas had actually won over Binay?

––– Gerry T. Pagharion

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