Manila Standard : Can they still catch up?

8 March 2022

By Emil Jurado | Manila Standard

“What will happen to those lagging behind the Uniteam in surveys?”

With the easing of health restrictions now that we are on Alert Level 1, is another COVID-19 surge possible?

I ask this especially since there have been campaign rallies, full capacities in public transportation, even the resumption of face-to-face classes.

In this new normal, caution is the name of the game.

•••

In connection with the presidential race, foremost in the minds of aspirants for the presidency and vice presidency is this: “Can we still catch up?”

I am referring to candidates like Vice President Leni Robredo, who is some 30 percentage points behind leader Bongbong Marcos and his team mate Sara Duterte Carpio. Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domogaso, is third placer, Senator Manny Pacquiao, fourth placer, and Senator Ping Lacson, fifth placer among all the presidential aspirants. If I were the strategists of Robredo, Moreno, Pacquiao and Lacson, I’d be asking myself – what else can I resort to?

Certainly, not all the poll surveys can be wrong when they list the BBM-Sara tandem as leading the race . There must be something wrong with their campaign that they have been stuck in this position despite everything they have done.

Political strategists may argue that poll surveys are just what voters say and believe at the time that surveys were done. This may be true, but if all poll surveys agree on one thing – that the BBM-Sara tandem is leading all poll surveys – there must be something credible with them. They cannot all be wrong, my gulay !

Of course it is possible that the other aspirants could catch up.

I have known elections in the past when candidates were leading the race in poll surveys, but still did not make it. This was true in the 1992 elections when the late Miriam Santiago was leading in poll surveys, but lost to Fidel V. Ramos. This is why Miriam kept on saying that she was cheated by Ramos.

Note that the difference between Miriam and other presidential candidates was not as big as that between Bongbong and those behind him.

•••

Whether we like it or not, the Philippines is involved in the war between Ukraine and Russia. In fact, so is the entire Southeast Asia. Since Southeast Asia depends on imported gasoline and oil, the escalating prices of gasoline and oil worldwide, now at $120/barrel, will surge even further. Other products will also cost more.

That means the price of the lowly pan de sal will again escalate. All flour is imported. And with these going up, the domino effect will take place.

President Duterte’s move to study the oil deregulation law is a step in the right direction. This will cushion the impact of escalating prices, but to what extent, I don’t know. It’s up to the Senate to study the matter, my gulay !

I am in favor, however, with the Executive Order approved by Duterte to add nuclear power with the country’s energy mix. There was really nothing wrong with the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant to add to our energy mix. It was only the corrupt cronies of the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos that gave the BNPP a bad name. In fact, we could have been the first country in Southeast Asia to have nuclear power in this part of the world were it not for all those allegations of corruption.

•••

I am happy for my friend, former Vice President Jojo Binay. Despite his long absence from the national scene, he is doing very well in surveys.

In fact, I recently saw the results of a survey commissioned by a prominent business personality. The survey was conducted from February 14 to 21, with a sample size of 3,000 likely voters. This is bigger than the usual sample size of 1,200 by the other credible survey companies.

In this survey, Jojo is ranked 6-8. he is tied with Loren Legarda, who is returning to the Senate, and incumbent Senator Migs Zubiri.

This is a big jump in Jojo’s ranking. In January, the same survey placed him 8-13.

Jojo will bring to the Senate his years of experience in government. He has done a lot as Makati mayor and Vice President. He has also helped a lot of people. His campaign slogan says it all: “May nagawa na, at may magagawa pa.”