By Sarreal Discaya Soquiño
Most probably, allies and avid supporters of former Senator Mar Roxas have not yet fully understood why the candidate they supported for the vice presidential race last May 10 national polls lost against former Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay, who consistently lagged behind in the poll surveys conducted by reputable pollsters. Certainly, various factors came into play during the campaign period that eventually influenced the outcome of the first automated election held in the country.
Despite Roxas’ strong showing in the poll surveys leaving behind comfortably Loren Legarda who was viewed by the Liberal Party (LP) as a closest contender of the man from Cubao in the contest for the vice presidential post, everybody was caught off-guard when Binay from the Partido ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) suddenly threatened Roxas’ chance to clinch the VP post. It was viewed by many observers that the 289 sister cities and municipalities of Makati Binay had established while he was the local chief of the wealthiest city in the country played a vital role in securing massive votes for him which Roxas failed to matched. Manila Standard columnist Emil P. Jurado wrote that those sister cities and municipalities have been receiving from Makati Php 1 million a month and other forms of assistance like ambulances and police patrol cars. Example, it was reported that the town of Malay, Aklan received two multi-cab vehicles in 2009 from the city of Makati. These fortunate LGUs will certainly throw its support to a candidate who have delivered concrete assistance it badly needed than to a senator who had spent his time and energy enhancing for years his public image as the man in blue who loves to mingle with ordinary people in the marketplaces.
The reported infigthing between the Coryistas – the yellow Aquino group – and Roxas Camp during the campaign period may have caused a shifting of significant number of votes in the VP race that were expected to be for Roxas but it went to Binay. Everybody knows that Binay was a loyal friend and ally of the late President Cory Aquino. Thus it was without difficulty for the yellow group to embrace Binay as their candidate, and unhesitatingly junked Roxas. The Noy-Bi (Noynoy-Binay tandem) endorsement made by Senator Chiz Escudero, as the campaign period almost reached the homestretch, highlighted the preference of the Aquino supporters for the former Makati Mayor as Noynoy’s running mate. Of course, the yellow group would not admit the veracity of that view before the public. Admission of this fact will offend Roxas who generously slid down his bid for the vice presidential post and gave way to Noynoy as Liberal Party’s standard bearer. The ‘junk Roxas story’ was confirmed when allies and supporters of Mar Roxas in Panay island blamed the core group of the Aquino camp who pushed for the Noy-Bi tandem that eventually weakened Roxas’ bid for the VP post.
Another interesting development that took place during the final days of the election campaign period was the survey result released by the Social Weather Station or SWS which announced that Binay had already tied with Roxas at 37%. Although surprised with Binay’s surge in the survey, the LP camp seemed to ignore it and, instead, focused steadily on Loren Legarda’s campaign activities as she was viewed by the LP as a possible strongest contender in the VP race against its candidate. No doubt, many voters who did not like the LP’s vice presidential bet voted for a candidate who can overcome Roxas’ lead, and hopefully win the race. The survey said; it could be possibly Binay; and their votes went to him. The shifting of votes from Loren to Jejomar ended, albeit temporarily, Mar’s political ambition.
Anyway, Binay’s victory made the 88,313 voters from the province of Capiz happy because they did not want to see Roxas clinch the VP post. Roxas won over Binay in Capiz with the margin of 116,526 votes. He garnered 204,839 votes while Binay got 88,313 votes. These 88,313 Capisnons believed that Roxas, who claims he’s from Capiz, had not brought significant contributions for the improvement of the local economy of the province. Capiz is considered as one of the poorest provinces in Western Visayas region. Roxas has wielded strong political influence in the local politics in Capiz for years, yet he had failed to use this opportunity to work with his local political allies in fighting poverty and unemployment. He should have discouraged the dominance of selfish vested interest and build a healthy business environment in the province that could encourage entry of investments and economic opportunities for the residents. So long as the Roxas-Araneta political hegemony cannot bring lasting and genuine material development to Capiz, and only its local allies have exclusively enjoyed the benefits of their influence, the ordinary Capisnon will eventually realize the irrelevance of Roxas and his lackeys in the political life of the province.
The 88,313 Capisnons who voted for Binay must be viewed as a form of rejection of Roxas presence in the province. The opposition is gradually growing. A harmless ripple might transform into a devastating tidal wave. It now started with the 88,313 votes. In Capiz, a vote for Binay was a protest vote against Roxas.