Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte could be the luckiest presidential candidate in the history of Philippine politics if he decides to join the race to Malacanang in the 2016 elections.
The two major political parties — the administration Liberal Party (LP) of President Benigno Aquino and the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) of former President now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada—have serious problems with their presidential bets.
UNA’s Vice President Jejomar Binay, the erstwhile top placer in poll surveys, is losing his political glitter in wake of a Senate Blue Ribbon investigation on alleged massive corruption when he was the Makati City mayor.
The LP’s Mar Roxas, Aquino’s Interior Secretary, has not recovered from the stigma of his debacle in the vice presidential race in 2010 against Binay. Respondents in surveys perennially allocate the bottom spot to Roxas. Political analysts say a Binay-Roxas battle in the 2016 presidential election would be nothing but a repeat of the Binay-Roxas tiff in 2010.
With Binay’s political stock eaten up by the corruption scandal that also involves his family, UNA may dump him for another candidate, which could be Estrada who is now free to run in a presidential election after the Supreme Court dismissed a disqualification case filed by former Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim.
Ranged against Binay or Estrada, the LP may also have doubts on Roxas as a winnable candidate based on his performance in surveys. Like UNA ditching Binay, the LP may just tell Roxas to spend more time with his Korina and throw him out for another candidate. On the line to replace Mar could be Senator Grace Poe who has been topping poll surveys courtesy of Binay’s corruption scandal and Roxas’ love affair with the bottom spot.
But Poe has already said she was not ready for Malacanang.
Estrada running for President is not sure: He has qualified that he would run only if nobody from UNA could stand up against an Aquino candidate. The Eraption may as well refer to Binay: The multi-billion peso corruption scandal this early is forcing Pinoys in shame of the gargantuan thievery to pray to the Black Nazarene to stop Binay from becoming President.
With Binay out, UNA needs a candidate.
With Roxas out, Aquino’s LP has no presidential bet, with Poe dismissing any plan to run for higher office.
We are saying that Duterte could be the luckiest politician in the presidential election in 2016 because UNA could take him in to replace Binay. Aquino, with Roxas, a sure loser, could pick him as standard bearer.
There is no political divide between Duterte and UNA or the LP.
Duterte is a political animal loved by both foes and friends during political battles. He is among few Mindanao politicians whose support is courted every election by both the opposition and the administration.
While he supported Aquino and the LP in the 2010 elections, Duterte pitched camp to support Estrada’s presidential bid and his Partido ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) in the 2001 elections.
UNA is a coalition in the 2010 election of the PMP and the Nene Pimentel-led Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino (PDP). If allegiance is to be counted, the PDP is the mother party of Duterte.
The question of Duterte’s winnability is borne by recent events: his sudden rise in ranking in surveys, the public clamor for him to run for President and an enamored public amazed by his kind of governance in Davao City that could be replicated throughout the country if he is the President.
Popularity is not a stranger to the Duterte name.
He was ranked by the Philippine Daily Inquirer third in the popular newspaper’s Ten Top Newsmakers for 2014.
He lands in the Top 5 in surveys for president.
He is also widely known for his no-mercy iron-fist anti-crime policy; and for steering Davao City into one of the country’s premier metropolis.
Duterte is also overly popular among the Bisaya in the Visayas Region being a Visayan-speaking candidate, and the Bisaya and the Muslims in Mindanao for his efforts to help find final peace in the troubled Southern Philippines.
Credibility is no problem for Duterte.
What if UNA painfully sticks to the damned, corruption-laden Binay or if LP just would like to enjoy the misery of the sure-losing, unexciting and bland Roxas presidential bid?
If UNA and the LP are political coalitions for convenience, we see a third coalition of unattached parties congregating behind a Duterte presidency, just waiting to cast their lot with the mayor if he finally decides to run for President.
These parties could also help push a Duterte presidency, with their combined forces packing power equal if not more than that of the UNA or LP coalitions.
The Pimentel group of the PDP has dumped Binay, a PDP stalwart, for honeymooning with Pimentel arch-foe former Senator Migz Zubiri in the 2013 elections. PDP, a Binay party, has its heart on Duterte.
And there are more: Manny Villar’s Nacionalista Party (NP) and Danding Cojuangco’s Nationalist Peoples Coalition (NPC), which is Duterte’s original party.
The beauty of the Duterte presidency, if he is not taken by UNA or LP, is that it could even lure former President now Congresswoman Gloria Arroyo and her Lakas/KAMPI, including Arroyo defender former House Speaker and Davao City Congressman Prospero “Boy Wonder Nogie” Nograles who is Duterte’s arch political enemy. Nice!