POSTSCRIPT / December 8, 2015 / Tuesday


Opinion Columnist

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Will Mar shake off Noy’s fatal embrace?

IT MAY be time for Liberal Party presidential candidate Mar Roxas to start thinking of a kind of Exit Strategy – how to escape the suffocating embrace of his patron President Noynoy Aquino – if he still hopes to have a fighting chance in the 2016 elections.

Putting it another way, Mar Roxas may want to break away or at least keep his distance — and finally be his own man. If he could work himself to doing that.

The worst fears of Roxas and his handlers seem to have been validated by the latest Social Weather Stations survey indicating that most Filipinos will not vote for a candidate who is merely riding on the endorsement of President Aquino.

Nationwide, the President got a net score of minus-6 percent on the effect of his endorsement. In the national capital region, the negative impact of his endorsing Roxas was a staggering minus-26 percent! It was minus-10 in the rest of Luzon.

However one looks at it, the situation is that bad for Mar Roxas, who is collecting on his magnanimous withdrawal from the 2010 presidential elections in favor of the only son of the late Cory Aquino being thrust to the presidency unprepared.

The stark SWS survey results should rouse Roxas from his reverie. The figures showed that a barangay captain wields a more positive endorsement value of 13 percent, compared to the President’s minus-6!

While the President managed a positive net effect of his endorsement in the Visayas (4 percent) and in Mindanao (3 percent), among economic classes, he had a net of minus-22 and minus-7 among classes ABC and D, respectively. He scored a net of 2 percent in class E.

‘Daang matuwid’ now sounds hollow

IN THE SAME survey conducted last Nov. 26-28 among 1,200 respondents nationwide, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who had just stepped into the ring, topped the presidential preference poll with 38 percent.

Erstwhile survey topnotcher Sen. Grace Poe Llamanzares and Vice President Jojo Binay were tied at 21 percent, trailed by Mar Roxas with 15 percent and Sen. Miriam Santiago with 4 percent.

Sniffing at the figures, a Liberal Party spokesman said Duterte was a threat only to Poe and Binay but not to Roxas. But of course! With Roxas way down in the cellar, how can he be threatened by those way above him?

Many times, Roxas had the opportunity to distance himself somewhat from his possessive patron, but could not muster the courage to do it. The most dramatic moment for such distancing was the Jan. 25 Mamasapano massacre of 44 elite policemen under Roxas department. He missed it.

Staying too long under someone’s skirt is not only suffocating but bad for original thinking. Until yesterday, Mar was still Noynoy’s anointed one, an acolyte who automatically mutters “daang matuwid” whenever his patron glances at him.

That tired slogan has started to sound hollow to people in search of deliverance from crime, corruption and poverty. The downtrodden with ears cocked to something different and promising, hear themselves in the tough talk of Duterte spiced with expletives aimed at bungling and corrupt officials.

The crowd likes it that Duterte is able to articulate for them things that they cannot voice out with as much vigor.

But can the 70-year-old Duterte still walk the talk? They seem to see in his peaceful and orderly Davao City that he can.

Ignore No-El talk. Elections pushing thru

THE COMMISSION on Elections has been scaring us with a “No-El” (No Elections) scenario since somebody lacking a sense of humor asked the Supreme Court to stop the poll body from making good its threat to bar any voter without biometrics on Election Day.

Our unsolicited advice to fellow voters is not to worry. By raising a “No-El” specter, the Comelec simply wants the tribunal and all parties to speed up the resolution of the “No Bio-No Boto” case. The national elections will push through on May 9, 2016, biometrics or no biometrics.

Biometrics refers to those physical characteristics of the person such as voice, face, fingerprints, signature, iris and such other identifiable features that set him apart from others. Captured in a database, biometrics is intended to help weed out bogus voters.

That is a laudable intention of RA 10367, or the Mandatory Biometrics Registration Act of 2013. If you are a regular “suki” voter in your precinct, come out on Election Day and insist on voting even if you have not had your biometrics taken. It is your right and duty to vote, so vote!

On precinct level – especially in the provinces – biometrics should not get in the way. Many of the regular voters in the barangay know one another without having to present a Comelec ID card or a poll clerk pretending to check one’s biometrics in a computer.

In many cases, lack of a Comelec ID should not be a problem. There are other government-issued IDs such as a driver’s license, SSS/GSIS unicard, a passport, a postal ID, and the like, that could serve as alternatives.

The main idea is to have positive identification of voters. Even without biometrics and a Comelec ID – aside from the fact that neighbors know one another – the elections will push through. Regular old voters, even without biometrics, should be able to vote.

(First published in the Philippine STAR of December 8, 2015)

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