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Business Mirror : Bongbong Marcos’ inexorable march to Malacañang

News & Interviews
16 December 2021

By Business Mirror

The latest survey results released by Publicus Asia Inc., an independent and non-commissioned polling conducted on December 6 to 10, 2021, showed presidential aspirant Bongbong Marcos (BBM) increased his commanding lead over his political rivals. More than half or 51.9 percent of the voters polled have indicated BBM as their preferred candidate for president. This is 2.6 percent higher than the 49.3 percent votes that he garnered the last time Publicus Asia Inc. held a similar survey last November 16 to 18, 2021 right after the deadline for the filing of substitution of candidates had expired.

While the numbers of other candidates have dropped compared to the previous survey, BBM’s support has solidified and even surged. For instance, VP Leni’s partisans were no doubt disheartened by the latest survey results where their bet suffered a loss of 1.1 percent from her previous 21.3 percent down to 20.2 percent. Instead of catching up, the opposition standard bearer has lost ground and would be hard pressed to improve her numbers to stay competitive in the run up to the 2022 presidential election.  

Rounding up, the results of the latest survey have clearly indicated that BBM has dominated the field. Mayor Isko Moreno was a distant third copping 7.9 percent, Sen. Bong Go, getting 3.9 percent, Sen. Panfilo Lacson, 3.4 percent, and Sen. Manny Pacquiao, 2.3 percent. BBM has completely overwhelmed his opponents that he left all of them gasping by a mile. The combined votes of his 5 major opponents only total 37.7 percent against BBM’s 51.9 percent. Even if all opposition candidates unite and rally behind one common contender, their consolidated votes based on this latest survey will still fall short of edging out BBM. BBM would still clinch the presidency with plenty of votes to spare. 

And BBM may be the main beneficiary of Bong Go’s withdrawal whose vaunted bailiwick is Mindanao. Without President Duterte running for public office, Mindanaoans and the President’s supporters may just heed Mayor Sara’s call to support and protect BBM. In fact, BBM contended that Bong Go’s withdrawal augurs well for his candidacy as it “signals the consolidation of administration forces” behind him and his running mate, Mayor Sara. 

But this claim is being challenged by Senator Pacquiao who hails from General Santos City, South Cotabato. Absent another presidential aspirant from Mindanao, Pacquiao strongly believes that he would get the Mindanao votes since he is the favorite son not only of Soccsksargen Region but of the entire island of Mindanao. Mindanao would be Pacquiao’s bastion if he gets endorsed by Duterte as he would be assured of the support of the vote-rich Davao Region, the largest in the island. Otherwise, Pacquiao would be competing against the political and filial heir of the President, Mayor Sara, who herself has established her own following in the island. 

But Pacquiao is practically at the cellar and even if he gets the solid Mindanao vote, that would still fall far short of overtaking BBM. But Duterte’s anointment may be the magic wand that may bring life to the moribund candidacies of Pacquiao, Mayor Isko, or even of Senator Lacson. 

Lacson, however, has not openly courted President Duterte’s blessing but he needs a spark to bring life to his campaign. Right now, VP Leni is ensconced in second place but she is too far behind BBM. She needs a big leap to keep at par with the leader of the pack. The others who have only scored less than 10 percent in the latest poll have to resurrect their flagging campaigns. In the case of Lacson, it’s a pity that his early start has not given him a lead in the race. He’s the most experienced presidential candidate and his unblemished record in public service and crusade against the abhorable pork barrel have not gained traction among the electorates. It seems that the public needs more than that for his campaign to rebound and capture the people’s imagination. 

It’s too early to give up the ghost for the candidates languishing at the cellar. But they have to make their move before we cross the New Year. Otherwise, BBM will attract all the campaign funds from big donors who all want to make safe political bets in 2022. This will make BBM, who is personally awash with money, a more formidable candidate. And what if Mayor Sara convinces her father to endorse BBM despite the past tirades made by the President against BBM? Where President Duterte goes, PDP-Laban follows. Then the entire resources and machinery of the government will be harnessed to deliver BBM’s victory at the polls. As the song goes, it’s an impossible dream to fight an unbeatable foe.

At this point, the campaign strategists of the opposition must be racking their brains figuring out how they can solve the BBM puzzle. To contemplate for a united opposition now to counter the Marcos-Duterte ++ forces is more of a political hallucination than real. I’d rather bet on the granting of the petition canceling the 2022 elections due to the pandemic than seeing the much-ballyhooed opposition unity taking place.

Many people don’t see anything in the horizon that may derail the BBM train reaching Malacañang at full speed on May 9, 2022. And time is fast running out. Only 7 1/2 weeks remain before the election period begins for the presidential contest. Unless the opposition shapes up, the BBM juggernaut would be unstoppable and the countdown for the second Marcos presidency starts. 

Is it prudent for the opposition to capitulate and wave the white flag? I don’t think so. Take it from the recent victory of Max Verstappen in this year’s Formula One championship. Lewis Hamilton was well ahead with a lap to go and certain of winning a record 8th world championship until another racer smashed the wall. Remember there could be a glitch in this presidential election. Anything can happen in a drag race or presidential race. For instance, what if the Comelec disqualifies BBM from running? That seems to be the only way to stop BBM from becoming our next president.