Nalzaro: Cebu is nobody’s stronghold

Bobby G. Nalzaro

WITH the multi-party system and with so many presidential aspirants, nobody can claim that Cebu is their bailiwick and stronghold.

This is not to douse cold water on political allies and supporters of presidential aspirants who claimed that Cebu is the “country” of their candidate.

Last week, during the closing mass of the 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) at the South Road Properties (SRP), a huge streamer was mounted not far from where the mass was held, saying “Welcome to Binay country.” Binay’s local allies denied putting up the streamer and pointed to the rival Liberal Party’s allies as being behind it to embarrass the vice president.

LP stalwarts also claimed that Cebu is a Mar Roxas stronghold because of most of the local reelectionist candidates are with the administration party. Maybe Grace Poe, Rodrigo Duterte and Miriam Defensor Santiago’s supporters will also claim the same.

The official campaign period for national positions officially starts tomorrow. But some of those aspiring for the presidency, vice presidency and the Senate have been campaigning even before they filed their certificate of candidacy last October. They were “testing the water,” so to speak. Vice President Jejomar Binay, for one, has been campaigning since he was elected VP six years ago, using the budget of his office.

As of this time, indeed, the presidential race is unpredictable, quoting my idol fellow columnist Atty. Frank Malilong in his column yesterday. Even legitimate surveys have varying results. Not too long ago, Binay bounced back to the number position. But in the recent survey of Pulse Asia conducted in the last week of January, Poe was leading, followed by Binay, Roxas, Duterte and Santiago, in that order.

When Roxas was the guest of “Ikaw na Ba” program over dzBB radio, GMA 7’s flagship AM station last Friday, which was aired simulcast in all RGMA stations nationwide, I asked him about his poor ratings despite his gimmicks, drama and public relations strategies. He said the real survey is the actual counting of votes. I agree. A survey is scientific and there’s formula to follow. But there are several aspects to consider like demographics, the economic status and even the gender and ages of respondents, or the form of questioning and the educational background of the respondents.

I am quite familiar with how surveys are conducted because it the same process and procedure when conducting media surveys to determine the leading radio stations in a locality.

But surveys create a bandwagon effect and sometimes condition the minds of voters.

In the actual election, we have to consider the many strategies like the dirty tricks adopted by the candidates and their political party, which may include massive vote-buying. Let’s admit vote-buying plays a “vital role” in winning an election. And we can no longer eliminate it. This incoherent political practice has been there since time immemorial and has damaged our political institution. Those who have money usually win. But a well-oiled political machinery and an endorsement and the backing of an incumbent president are also not guarantees of winning a presidential race.

You see, everything is fluid. But those who have a political machinery down to the municipal level have the advantage. Elections are local. What I mean is that national candidates need local contacts to campaign for them. National parties have to tie up with local parties to push for their candidates. While local parties rely on funding from their national counterpart. For those who don’t have this setup have less chances of winning unless the candidate shows remarkable and exemplary achievements like a living hero. But so far, among the presidential candidates, there is none. Morag tan-aw nako wala man gani tay kapilian.

(bobby@sunstar.com.ph)