The thing with over-analysis is that it gets you nowhere. Supporters of Mar Roxas, the presidential candidate anointed by incumbent Philippine President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III’s to continue his Daang Matuwid “platform” of governance, have been wracking their brains trying to figure out why their man is, according to the popularity polls, the least likely to win the 2016 presidential elections. Yet these analysts, in not a few blogs and articles, insist that the presidency is all about “character”.
Ok then. So if it is all about “character” then there really is nothing much to analyse about Mar Roxas. To put it in plain and simple words, Filipino voters have concluded that Mar Roxas’s character sucks. How could they not come to that conclusion? Time and again, Roxas has exhibited an inability to lead, a downright corny media presence, and a flat out lack of individuality. His track record of a lack of results delivered as Secretary of the Interior and Secretary of Transportation and Communication speaks volumes of his executive abilities. His numerous lame media stunts that have made him meme fodder and the premiere laughingstock of Philippine social media already give us an idea of the small figure Roxas will likely cut when thrust into the world stage as head of state of the Philippines. And it is difficult to ignore the complicated web of utang-na-loobs (debts of gratitude) that imprison him in political circumstance.
If, indeed, Daang Matuwid, President BS Aquino’s “straight path” doctrine, is a good thing, then it is a monumental tragedy that its baton needs to be passed to a loser like Mar Roxas. Roxas has effectively doomed any hope of Aquino’s Daang Matuwid ideology persisting beyond 2016. In short, Mar Roxas is a colossal strategic failure on the part of the Philippines’ Liberal Party.
How can the Liberal Party survive Mar Roxas?
Six months is cutting it close, but there is still time to ditch Mar Roxas and his on-the-job-trainee running mate Leni Robredo. After all, Filipino voters are a fickle lot with decision-making faculties made volatile by a shallow well of reasoning. Philippine elections have been known to take wild turns at the 11th hour and, in a lot of cases, have surprised by their results’ inconsistency with those numerous survey “analyses” published by the multitude of polling firms that rake in a lot of cash every election season.
If not Mar, who can the Liberal Party field in the race for the Philippine presidency?
There’s Grace Poe. She is, hands down, a winnable candidate. Being winnable, she is worth her weight in gold. And in a political ecosystem where party affiliations mean zilch in ideological terms, Grace Poe can easily join the LP and, together with the Yellow Horde, rule the galaxy. Indeed, the LP was not above offering Poe the Vice Presidency to complement Roxas’s presidential candidacy back in the early days of the campaign.
As to the small matter of Poe’s legal issues regarding her nationality and Philippine residency? Well, what is the LP in power for? Led by President BS Aquino, the LP has proven its ability to trump rule of law in favour of the wellbeing of its strategic agendas.
Why then should the LP continue backing a loser (and, as GRP contributor Paul Farol put it, continue “pull[ing] down the top contender”) when it can simply cut its losses and lure back into its comfy embrace the winnable horse? Grace Poe, after all, complies with the LP’s primary criteria. She will likely be a president who will keep by then former President BS Aquino out of prison.
Ultimately this is what the term “continuity” in the context of the discourse surrounding this election euphemises. Continuity of the strait path away from prison, that is, for President BS Aquino under whose watch billions of pesos in taxpayers’ funds were literally porked over to “cooperative” legislators, treasonous deals were made with Islamic terrorists and a belligerent ASEAN “ally” led by a corrupt leader, and grossly incompetent administrators were kept under the people’s payroll for the sake of friendship and family.
In that sense, Mar Roxas is expendable and replaceable. He is only as valuable as his ability to secure Aquino’s Get-Out-of-Jail pass. In that regard, Grace Poe passes the criteria with flying colours. The Liberal Party should reassess its situation and seriously consider whether or not they deserve to be doomed by a loser like Mar Roxas.