An Estrada surge on eve of campaign

I said this earlier, in my blogs last year, that if Erap runs, he might win. Mr. Tony Gatmaitan, an astute political analyst, concurs. Let us see where Villar's billions and Noynoy's minions will be picked up after the Erap juggernaut is over.

Ain't I glad, finally, that I am not running in this election. I am writing a novel about it, though. Satirical, but I hope also sweet. And the politicians running in 2010 will have a field day gleaning who they are among the characters in my novel. The Comelec included. Ha!

The best revenge, said Oscar Wilde, is to write well.


An Estrada surge on eve of campaign
Antonio Gatmaitan
Daily Tribune

At about the time when things were winding down, Pulse Asia and Social Weather Stations, the two respected and widely accepted pollsters published assessments of the 2010 presidential elections, two days apart, a fortnight ago.

Electoral track record

Absent any satisfactory measure of performance, every candidate would have to deal with the figures, except Joseph Estrada. He has the electoral track record as a gauge of voter performance for him. In fact, his basis is not the opinions of 1,800 in the case of Pulse Asia or even 2,000 respondents in the case of the SWS survey, but actual votes he received in 1998, the first time he ran for president.

10.8 million votes

In 1998, Joseph Estrada’s votes were 10.8 million. This was the very reason he felt confident overtaking his opponents come election time. When he was interviewed over radio he simply said, it was too early, knowing fully well his drawing power bolstered by large turnouts at his sorties of late.

Composite survey results

The composite survey results of Pulse Asia and SWS are instructive. First is Noynoy Aquino, followed by Manny, and close behind is Joseph Estrada. In fact, a few percentage points spelled the difference between the second and third slot. Villar and Estrada could have been in a statistical tie already.

Noynoy replaces Manny

And that would be devastating for Manny Villar. All these months prior to the death of Cory Aquino, Villar was the main game in town. But with the passing away of the Philippines’ democracy icon, Villar’s numbers plummeted and in his place was an unlikely successor. Thus far, Manny Villar doesn’t seem to make a dent. Noynoy Aquino’s lead in the polls has been consistent at 20 points or so. Financial backers are pragmatists, they will not stay for long, unless something dramatic happens in the coming weeks.

NP’s meritocracy

Given the way the Nacionalista Party (NP) and the Villar forces are conducting their campaign, it will be difficult for Villar to overhaul Aquino’s lead in the polls. Villar’s campaign emphasizes meritocracy. He attempts to project himself thus. Appeals to the brain rather than to the heart are hurting him. Moreover, his leaders are virtually all politicians. No cadres of upper middle class and middle class volunteers like the Aquino campaign, crucial in the urban areas where the national party machines are weak. In Luzon, there is hardly any province where Villar’s forces or the Nacionalista Party is known to be dominant or controlling, except arguably for Camarines Sur, where former Speaker Noli Fuentebella is also working for the Estrada ticket. There are exceptions in the Visayas. There is Bohol. The conventional wisdom is the elected officials will mostly side with the NPs. But the margins may not be large enough to offset the projected losses in Cebu and elsewhere.

Fight for the local machines

The fight for the local political machine will be between the Lakas, the LPs, the NPs and to a lesser extent, the PMP. They will be contesting for the local political elite among themselves with Lakas having the upper hand. But the PMP is the most loyal of the lot. They make up for their lack of numbers with the intensity and the passion needed in a multi-cornered fight.

Estrada’s masa votes

The Estrada loyalist votes can already be gleaned from Pulse Asia and SWS. The support for Estrada hovers around 20 percent. This is partly due to the masa vote. There is always hesitancy for this sector to express their sentiments at the early stage. They are for the most part suspicious and would hide their preference until they feel “safe” to express them. The masa vote is definitely more than 20 percent. How much more, we can’t tell at this stage. Suffice it to say, it exists in large numbers, given our impoverished state. And as far as the masa are concerned, there is only one real champion. Not Manny Pacquiao who is revered nonetheless, but Joseph Estrada.

Villar today, Aquino tomorrow

By the start of the official campaign on Feb. 9, 2010, expect Joseph Estrada to tie and ultimately overtake Villar. Noynoy Aquino will follow soon after.

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