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Peter Wallace- Uncertain Times

Peter Wallace- Uncertain Times

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Published by: BlogWatch.ph on Feb 01, 2010
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The Wallace Report
January 2010
The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) has now accepted 10 nominations for the nextpresident (2 more were added last week, it’s unclear why as they are essentially nobodies) inthe coming elections, and from one of them will emerge a new president of the Philippines – assuming the elections are successful — a big and worrying assumption.To win you have to have popularity/appeal, lots of money, a professionally organisedcampaign, strong party support with grassroots supporters out there where the votes getmade. Counting is now, at least theoretically, out of local hands. An Ampatuan type can nolonger fake the votes (but can still influence/coerce the voters). Only a computer whiz kidmaybe can, or someone in control of the program. But let’s put that aside for the moment.What we’re considering is winnability in a fair election. If you don’t have all four factors youcan’t win because some candidates do, and you do need them all to a meaningful degree.Take popularity/appeal, I don’t just mean box office good looks but it can also be an ability toappeal to the discerning voter through having a sound, believable policy program. The pollstell you who is leading in this category. Sadly the discerning voter is very much in the minorityat this stage, although there are efforts by independent groups to bring more voters into thisdiscerning category. One of such groups is the amalgamation of ABS-CBN with theManagement Association of the Philippines, and Kilos Bayan, among others to conductregular
“e-town hall” 
televised interviews with presidentiables and experts in various fields.Let’s hope we get more voters to vote intelligently. If we do, Dick Gordon’s chances rise, asdo Gibo Teodoro’s. Both are sound individuals with solid credentials. Gordon has done well inthe running of Subic and later the Red Cross. Teodoro has handled the defence portfolio well,but this is a relatively brief stint, he’s not yet had the long years Gordon has. But neither iseven on the popularity scale yet. Teodoro at a miniscule 5 percent, Gordon off the map at 0.5percent. Gordon doesn’t have the funds (in comparable quantities), the party support or thelocal leaders to bring him into the ring. He’d need something exceptional to happen for him tohave a chance. But we’ll leave him in for now because he deserves to be up there.Estrada has proved his complete incompetence for the job. Forget the plunder issue for amoment, he just couldn’t handle the complexity of the presidentiable task when he had it, sohow could he now.Eddie Villanueva created a born-again Christian movement which gives him great appealamongst his 3 million adherents, but almost nobody else. 3 million votes (even if he got themall) wouldn’t win an election. Last election only 60% (1.8 million) of his supporters voted forhim.
The Wallace Report
January 2010
Jamby Madrigal has been a senator for 6 years now and has been active in filing bills thatpromote the well-being of women, youth and indigenous communities, but little else. And fewhave passed into law.I’ve never heard of JC delos Reyes. Apparently he’s a councilor in Olongapo and an activeadvocate of human rights protection and good governance. While Ricanor Perlas who isrunning as an independent on the platform of green activism and new politics has yet toestablish himself as a formidable challenger. There’s absolutely no chance, in any way,these last five could win so we’ll ignore them from hereon. Just wonder why on earth they’rewasting their time and (someone else’s) money. And why COMELEC even bothers to includethem, yet does include a convicted criminal.Our position on Estrada remains unchanged, he’s a convicted criminal. Nothing more thanthat should be necessary to exclude him, yet in this crazy country he’s still being considered.Even the movies aren’t that bizarre. A pardon may make him legally innocent (in somestrange fashion) but he still committed the crime. A court found him guilty. He does have thepopularity but it’s not as wide as he likes to believe and is insufficient of itself to drive himback into the presidency, a job he’s already shown he can’t competently handle. He hassufficient funds but not at the levels of the frontrunners. And he has a party of sorts that hassome organizational capability, but it’s the smallest of the top lot.Teodoro is the most intriguing. He’s got everything – the apparent capability to do the job,public charisma, oodles and oodles of (Gloria’s) money and more politicians in his pocketthan anyone else by a long shot. But they are beginning to desert, not yet at worrying levelsbut that could happen because GMA is becoming ever more a dead weight to everyone’schances, even his. When 73 percent of the populace (taking out the undecided) doesn’t wantyou, they don’t want your candidates either.Anyway how do you get from 5 percent to 30% legitimately in a scant 5 months when all theothers are trying equally hard to win. Mind you, you can’t discount the power of local officialsto influence, it remains quite intense. But 5 percent to 30 percent? He’s someone who canbreeze through in 2016, which should be his primary focus. This being the first step toward it.That leaves Aquino and Villar, definitely the ones to beat. Both have strong parties withstrong backing, but lacking the wide grassroots influence of Teodoro’s party. Both havesufficient funds for the job, although Aquino might be struggling a bit here at the moment. Butthat could change as elections draw nearer if he remains in the lead.Aquino will campaign on promising an honest less politicised government, a break from thepast. Villar will counter this with the need for someone with experience, with a proven trackrecord, which he has. These strengths of each are perceived as the weakness of the other.Aquino is criticised as having shown little for his many years in the public domain, while Villarwill be accused of dishonest dealings in becoming wealthy.How each counters these accusations will be critical to them attracting enough votes to win. Itmust be the focus of their campaign managers. Aquino must convince he can lead andmanage a country effectively. Villar must prove he’s honest. Both have a hard task ahead ofthem, and I don’t think either has fully realised this yet, even if they’ve said they do.

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