Monday, August 24, 2009

Gilbert should be competitive

It is a steep, uphill climb to the presidency in the 2010 elections, particularly if you are a contender for the nomination of the Lakas-Kampi-CMD. But it is not nearly an impossible undertaking if you happen to be Gilbert Cojuangco Teodoro, currently secretary of National Defense in the Arroyo administration.

The key is to be able to show to the right people that four months from now, or about December of this year, one can demonstrate that the candidacy is competitive.

The three principal measures of strengths and weaknesses of any candidate are the electoral track record, the composite survey results of SWS and Pulse Asia and the controlled votes of the various political machines. While other measures may be brought to bear in the contest, these will give deeper understanding of the standing of the various candidates vying for the presidency.

Electoral track record

The first crucial measure is the electoral track record of the various contenders. It gives you the idea of the pulling power of the candidate in past electoral contests and is usually a dependable gauge on future performances. Previous form often heralds future results.

Top vote getters

Joseph Estrada 10 million plus 1998 won as president
Mar Roxas 19 million plus 2004 number 1
Loren Legarda 16 million plus 2007 number 1
Noli de Castro 15 million plus 2004 won as VP

Other contestants

Chiz Escudero 2007 number 2
Manny Villar 2007 number 5
Jamby Madrigal 2004 number 4
Dick Gordon 2004 number 7
Gilbert Teodoro 3-time congressman
Bayani Fernando 3-time mayor
Ed Panlilio provincial governor
Ed Villanueva 2004 4th place

Except Ramos

There are exceptions to the rule, of course. Most notable was the Secretary of National Defense Fidel Ramos. With no electoral track record to speak of, but carrying the endorsement of his then Commander-in-Chief President Corazon Aquino, Fidel Ramos eventually carried the day.

The second measure in the present scheme of things are the surveys of the two most credible public opinion polling. In the build-up to the campaign proper, they are important in the sense that contributors usually base their choices on the public opinion surveys. But in the final analysis, the final vote will be largely determined by the partisans. No doubt the surveys exert an influence on the decisions of the electorate but only to the extent of influencing the non-partisan votes.

Remember that the typical surveys are the composite opinions of 1,200 respondents, or at most, 7,000 respondents. The purpose and function of political parties is to persuade and in effect, intervene in the decision process.

Composite survey results, SWS and Pulse Asia:

1. Manny Villar
2. Joseph Estrada
3. Mar Roxas/Chiz Escudero
4. Noli de Castro
5. Loren Legarda

Below 4 percent:

Gilbert Teodoro
Bayani Fernando
Ed Panlilio
Eddie Villanieva
Dick Gordon

The Danding playbook

Maybe Gilbert Teodoro can borrow a page from Danding Cojuangco’s playbook in the 1992 campaign. Behind all in the surveys until the last six weeks of the campaign, two weeks before election day, Danding was a close second to Miriam Defensor-Santiago. The strategy was to keep away from Metro Manila until the last minute. We built our strength from the provinces and came to Metro Manila for the final salvo. We were rewarded by the best attended miting de avance at that time.

Machine votes

The third and probably the most important is the realpolitik of every campaign. According to a private think tank that studies political parties, based on memberships, number of congressmen, local officials and barangay officials, the machine votes defined as the number of votes deliverable to the party’s national candidates are as follows:

Lakas-Kampi-CMD 32 percent
PMP-PDP-UNO 27 percent
NPC 24 percent
Liberal Party 22 percent
Nacionalista Party 19 percent

The caveat of the private think tank is that the percentages for the PMP-PDP-UNO is conditional. It is only good if Joseph Estrada is running in 2010.

Gilbert Teodoro can be competitive if he captures the nomination of the ruling party and if GMA stays the course and supports him all the way.

Joseph Estrada leads by 27 percent in Mindanao, according to Pulse Asia. In the same study, Mar Roxas leads in the Visayas by 22 percent. Gilbert, being the only Ilocano speaking candidate can lay claim to the provinces North of the Agno River and parts of Central Luzon. An interesting scenario.

By. Antonio Gatmaitan - Daily Tribune

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