The Race Is On

After setbacks with his two social partners, P-Noy received welcome news that the Filipino still loves him.

In a Pulse Asia survey conducted between Oct. 20 and 29, 79% of Filipinos approved of his performance, if not as a social companion, at least as a President.

Other survey results:

–    78% of the nation approved of Binay.
–    DSW Sec. Soliman (65%), DOJ Sec. De Lima (60%), Manila Mayor Lim  (55%) and DOH Sec. Ona (52%) were the only other officials who rated over 50%.
–    Presidential spokesperson Lacierda, DILG USec. Puno and AFP Chief David scored in the low 40’s.
–    Chief Justice Corona was at 35%.
–    The public was, according to media,  “ambivalent” to the performances of DILG.Sec. Robredo, Communications Secretaries Carandang and Coloma, Exec. Sec. Ochoa and Ombudsman Gutierrez; meaning no one really cares about them.
–     Puno and Gutierrez received the highest disapproval ratings.

Presidential spokesperson Lacierda said: “(The President’s) rating is high and we believe the Filipino people repose their trust in the President and the official family.” Lacierda unabashedly reiterated he was part of the official family.

The President’s critics were quick to dispel the findings:  One, they said the survey was conducted just prior to the long Nov. 1 weekend when everybody was in a good mood. Two, while P-Noy is admittedly popular the same may not be said for his team. Three, Filipinos  thought the survey was on his prowess with young women, not on his gubernatorial skills.

VP Binay was happy with the survey. His spokesperson said, off the record: “With a 3% margin of error, the VP could have topped the President but that would have been politically inappropriate. He does not want, at this time, to appear threatening.”

Some conclusions from the poll:

1. The King’s men are a drag on the President- Collectively, P-Noy’s close-in advisers – Ochoa, Lacierda, Carandang, Puno- scored in the bottom of the rankings. The President fared well despite his people, not because of them.

2. The GMA stigma remains- Ombudsman Gutierrez and Chief Justice Corona, holdovers from the previous Administration, had a poor showing.

3. It pays to cry in public- The public has forgiven Mayor Lim for his dismal and tearful performance in the hostage affair.

The poll ratings will possibly result in a shake up in Malacañang as early as the first part of the new year. Sec. Carandang has already announced that changes are in the offing in the Communications Group.

Currently there are three groups vying for control of the Administration: The unit of Mar (Balay, Hyatt 11, LP), that of NoyBi (Kamaganak, Binay) and P-Noy’s Brat Pack (Samar, Batch77). The factions associated with the sisters and the NGO’s have been largely marginalized.

Mar’s faction presently controls the economic team and most of the line departments; P-Noy’s buddies the Office of the President and the police; and NoyBi ‘s some outer positions. Communications is evenly split among the three (hence the disaster).

However with the poor showing of the Brat Pack, the contest is now increasingly between the Mar and NoyBi (read Binay) factions. The stakes are high: They will determine not only the next 5 ½ years but the next 11 ½.

The animosity between these two groups that started with the disputed VP race will continue to the Presidential elections in 2016.

The territory they are vying for are two: One, for physical control of the Office of the President now under the Brat Pack; and , two, for the heart and mind of the President, still in his possession.

The strengths of Mar’s group lie in its technical competence, common values with the President and in the personal bond between the two principals, Noy and Mar.

The strengths of the NoyBi group are in its political savvy and ruthless ambition. Binay’s favorable poll rating is important because it confirms his reputation is not a problem, the man is electable for the top post of the land. Jojo is actively currying favor with Noy to offset the personal relationship between Noy and Mar; and he is good at it.

Between technical expertise and street smarts coupled with blind ambition, in politics the latter always wins. Mar’s group has the edge at this time but that advantage is diminishing.

Ultimately, however, the key to the country’s future is P-Noy, how much of the reins of Government he will keep rather than delegate, his judgment and commitment as a leader, his level of ambition for the nation, who he will endorse in 2016.

Whatever, the 2016 elections have already started.

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About Leo Alejandrino

The blog is principally a commentary on Philippine politics and economics.
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