Mar Roxas, Ping Lacson and Grace Poe

candidate roxasI’m early in the filtering process of trying to decide who would make a good presidential candidate to oppose the likely run of UNA’s Jejomar Binay for 2016. My thinking is a little thin at this point, but I have to start somewhere. So kindly allow me to think out loud . . . and forgive me if my assessments seem unduly rude.

It seems there are two very likely primary candidates to oppose UNA’s Jejomar Binay: DILG Secretary Mar Roxas and Senator Ping Lacson. And I am adding a third for this comparison because I tend to like what I see: Senator Grace Poe. It would not surprise me if others – various Presidents, possible candidates and party chiefs – were going through a similar exercise. I’d guess their findings right now are somewhat fluid and circumstantial.

I don’t see too many other people of comparable stature for consideration at this point, but if you have other ideas, offer them up with some background rationale. I think Secretary Abaya at DOTC – a favorite of mine from a year ago – is too tied up in nettlesome infrastructure problems to rise to the national stage, and I shy away from old politics and candidates like Senator Drilon. Senator Escudero seems to have great popularity but I can’t seem to get a good grasp of him. Hahaha, perhaps because his Wiki page was last updated in 2007 or so. Someone will have to give me a good argument backing him to kick him onto my consideration list.

I also don’t see the Senators Cayetano or Senator Legarda in the post, as they seem like trendy pop starts of no substantial authority (no offense intended, haha). What I mean is they have not been cabinet secretaries or held jobs that prove they can run a big enterprise like the nation. Senator Guingona, who has a good brain and is not bound by convention, blew it for me by running the hearings on Senator Napoles like some autocratic Lord of the Manor, challenging Secretary De Lima and running roughshod over everyone. They are not totally off the list and I’m willing to listen to arguments on their behalf.

A part of the problem is that President Aquino is doing so well, holding a calm, mature perspective in the heat of crisis, displaying control and discipline and yes, from time to time, even power. His handling of the Mindanao negotiations, the China incursions, the Taiwan outrage, the Sultan’s raid, and the Zamboanga uprising show a firm, reflective presence on matters of conflict and international engagements. His domestic work has been solid: cleaning up rules for contracts, implementing an investment model of public/private partnerships, increasing tax-raising disciplines, investing in infrastructure (roads, airports, trains, storm drainage), adding over 50,000 school classrooms, and building the financial integrity of the nation.

candidate lacson

Yes, he has dragged his feet on FOI, can’t get the bus massacre to go away, and the Tacloban follow-up was too political from every angle. And the cases against Arroyo and Ampatuan and Napoles seem stuck in cement.

But the President has power, runs his cabinet cleanly and effectively, thinks like an executive, does not pander to the media, and will go down in the history books as the guy who brought the Philippines out of the jungles and into the modern world stage. Or as far as is practical in six years.

So you put anyone against that and they seem like lightweights.

To me, Mr. Binay is too much of the old school of favor and power. He crammed an unqualified daughter into the senate, backed his son’s aggression against security guards just doing their job, prayed with disgraced Cebu Governor Garcia with ex-President Estrada and Senator Enrile, both good old boys of the power and favor – and plunder – schools. He got outside the chain of command in Zamboanga, trying to strike up a peace agreement with his school mate and current fugitive, MILF leader Nur Masuri.  I don’t like the main value that seems to underpin his decisions. Self-interest. He seems like a step backward to me.

So what do we have in Roxas, Lacson and Poe?

Eventually we should get to the full rigor of the Rizal-Robredo Index developed by several Society stalwarts some time back. But for now, I’d like to stay general and broadly address the four main areas of comparison for candidates:

  • Character (30%)
  • Intelligence (30%)
  • Capability – Skills (20%)
  • Capability – Accomplishments (20%)


I think all three prospects, Secretary Roxas and Senators Lacson and Poe, are of good character. Honest, professional, and dedicated to doing good work.

I further think both Roxas and Lacson were given visibility by President Aquino, perhaps for an ulterior reason of observing – or displaying – their ability on a national stage. The Secretary was given the DILG job that puts him face to face with local leaders. VP Binay very much wanted the job. And Senator Lacson was selected by the President to be his personal envoy to lead recovery from Typhoon Yolanda.

candidate poe

And both have gotten their mitts in a bit of a wringer: (1) Roxas by losing his temper at police who cleared the Cagayan de Oro bombing scene before he arrived, and having an awkward public confrontation with Tacloban Mayor Romualdez after Yolanda, and (2) Lacson by crossing swords with Secretary Singson regarding a problem with construction of relief housing in Tacloban. And prior to that, we have the Dacer affair (he was accused of being complicit in murder, fled the Philippines, and was then released of charges when the main witness against him was declared not credible.)

Senator Poe is driving FOI forward aggressively in the Senate and has not publicly stubbed her toe.


Roxas studied economics, Lacson studied philosophy and Poe studied political science. Lacson followed up on his initial degree by graduating from the Philippine Military Academy and getting a masters in government management. So he is the most rigorously educated.

  • Roxas: Graduated from the prestigious Wharton School of Economics at the University of Pennsylvania (USA) in 1979.
  • Lacson: Graduated from the Lyceum of the Philippines University with a BA in philosophy in 1967. He graduated from the Philippine Military Academy in 1971 and obtained a Masters in Government Management degree from Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila in 1996.
  • Poe: Graduated from Boston College (USA) in 1991 with a degree in political science.

Interestingly enough, though, in terms of general “public presentation”, Senator Poe comes across during interviews as extraordinarily composed and intelligent; Mar Roxas comes across as tense and a bit desperate; Ping Lacson comes across as a talking head, stiff but articulate. Now those are my personal read-outs. You may have other impressions.

Capability – Skill

  • Roxas: He became a US investment banker and worked for seven years in New York, engaging in substantial transactions, took leave to support Cory Aquino’s presidency for several years, then returned to investment banking, mainly providing a bridge between New York and Manila. He became North Star Capital’s representative in Manila starting in 1991. Roxas ran for House in 1993 in a special election to replace his brother, who died that year. He was Secretary of Trade and Industry under Estrada for a short time. He bowed out of his candidacy for the presidency in 2009 to smooth the way for Noynoy Aquino to become President. The President appointed him to head DOTC initially, and now DILG. His past seems accomplished, but not particularly distinguished.
  • Lacson: Rose to the position of Lieutenant Colonel in the military where he worked for numerous policing agencies from 1971 to 1997. He had substantial positions throughout. He was appointed by President Estrada to head the Anti-Organized Crime Task Force and was made Director General of the PNP in 1992. He won a Senate seat in 2003, and ran for President against Gloria Arroyo in 2004, but lost among controversy within his own party. His past is rich with police leadership. But policing in the Philippines remains very corrupt, weak and ineffective.
  • Poe: After graduation, Grace Poe raised her family in the US, taught preschool there for three years, then had a couple of short-term engagements in business. When her father died in 2004, she returned to the Philippines. She was elected Vice President of her father’s production company (FPJ) in 2005 where she managed the firm’s substantial library of films. She got involved in politics to fight for recognition of her father as the legitimate winner of the presidential campaign against Gloria Arroyo (“Hiya Garci!”). President Aquino appointed her to head the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) in 2010. She ran for Senate last year and garnered more votes than any other candidate. Yet her background is very light on what might be called “proven skills” with her two years as head of the MTRCB being the main indicator of competence.

Capability – Accomplishments

Roxas worked big deals as an investment banker, and clearly understands economics. Lacson understands Philippine law enforcement from inside out. He had a career at it, with big responsibility. Poe ran the movie and TV rating agency for a couple of years.

But we have to add some asterisks and consider their government record.

Roxas: Roxas was very active in promoting legislation in both the House and senate, with a primary thrust aimed at consumer rights, education and health care. He has been given every chance by President Aquino to show that he is presidential material. Even Defense Secretary Gazmin, a father figure to President Aquino, defers to Roxas. Roxas got contract policies rewritten as head of DOTC, but public/private partnerships never got off the ground. And infrastructure projects seem still stuck in sand. The DILG position has thrust him into the forefront on difficult crises (Zamboanga, Cagayan de Oro bombing, Tacoban destruction) . . . yet . . . yet . . . it seems as though the track record is one of muddle, frustration and everything but calm control and precise result. Perhaps that is the press presentation, but it’s the one I come away with.

Lacson: His legislative record is packed with sponsorship of law enforcement bills (anti-money laundering, pay for AFP, anti-trafficking in persons, dangerous drugs, and anti-Jueteng bills).  Frankly, I am disturbed by his evident ambition (he may not return to the Senate because he is looking for something more, and his presidential run in 2004 was packed with conflict), and by the strife that seems to follow him around (murder charges, party conflict with Angara in 2004, and conflict with Secretary Singson over Tacloban housing this year). It also seems to me that, in spite of all his work and legislation, the PNP has remained a bastion of corruption and ineffectiveness. To me, he seems like a bit of a brother to Binay, one of the good old boys, headstrong and ambitious. He has a resume packed with lots of good-looking deeds but little to show for it.

Poe: Her term as head of the MTRCB was notable for its principled direction as she implemented new rating systems for both television and movies aimed at better protecting children. She was also an outspoken advocate for freedom of expression and self-regulation by media. That point of view is seen in her active work to get an FOI Bill approved by the Senate: let the people understand their government. Her sense of purpose and firm control was best represented by her blunt urging of fellow senators to get FOI interpellation questions in on time, and make them meaningful.

The summary: Roxas and Lacson are power-packed veterans of government and Poe is the newbie without much to show for it. Well, all three fall into that bucket, don’t they? Roxas’ and Lacson’s well-intentioned efforts got waylaid by corrupt and self-serving people of power and the relentless inefficiencies of bureaucracy hereabouts. So none of the three has much to show if we are looking for a highly principled, efficient, people-friendly, crime-free government. The system took them. They didn’t take the system.

JoeAm’s Assessment

The voting public does not go into much detail. It reads what we all read, sees the pictures of a frazzled Mar Roxas or a stiff Ping Lacson and a cute, perky lady with a popular name. It is not versed on laws they have advocated except in the most current and general sense.

In that popular environment, Mar Roxas would lose the election to Jejomar Binay. So would Ping Lacson. Roxas is the pampered and off-putting elite who has lost before, and Lacson is the little general stirring up trouble, and who we can’t quite trust. Binay can make the nation another Makati because he is like us but powerful.

Grace Poe would win. People like her father’s movies and her work to push FOI. She’s a smart angel wearing six-shooter pistols and she is too new to have skeletons in her closet. Binay would get hammered as a trapos who would lead the nation back into corruption.

I am inclined to go along with the voting public.

The big question for me: Is Grace Poe for real, or is she an illusion? Other questions follow from that.

  • Would her naivete cause mistakes on big decisions or is her considerable intellect and willingness to listen to others going to keep her decision-making strong?
  • Would China push her around? Would crusty trapos push her around? Would the generals scoff at her?
  • Can she be the boss of veteran cabinet officials, generally male, generally about twice her age? Can she quickly gain their respect?
  • Can she get law enforcement working? Policing, investigating, and prosecuting? Can she jawbone the Judiciary into quicker decisions?
  • Can she get infrastructure projects and public/private initiatives moving?
  • Can she build manufacturing? Defense? A more intellectual school system?

Going with Poe is a risk. And of course, if not her, then who?

The challenges are enormous.

My next steps: (1) listen to what readers have to say, (2) dig deeper into Poe’s leadership at MTRCB (who did she interact with; what were the controversial issues she handled; what did she accomplish), and (3) watch her senatorial work carefully.

82 Responses to “Mar Roxas, Ping Lacson and Grace Poe”
  1. andrew lim says:

    Thanks for bringing up the Rizal-Robredo Index once more, Joe. “Matino at mahusay (Integrity and Capability)” should be the criteria of every Filipino voter.

    Not the narrow minded and primitive “madaling lapitan” (easy to approach and ask for help) and “matulungin” (helpful) even if it means being corrupt.

    That is where Binay fails – the integrity part. If you can ally yourself with the likes of Estrada, Honasan and Enrile, what kind of integrity do you have?

    • edgar lores says:

      Hi Andrew,

      1. In retrospect, the Rizal-Robredo Index is too granular and is difficult to employ where there are numerous candidates for a position.
      1.1. I believe that the granularity would result in similar overall scoring for a group of candidates although their scoring in each category may widely differ. As such the differentiation of quality candidates based on the narrow bandwidth of a numerical scale would be a little foolhardy.
      1.2. One of the Capability categories should be renamed Capacity. Most probably the Skills one.

      2. The other difficulty with granularity is that it uses criteria at a micro level. The macro level of, say, strategy is ignored. A good example of strategic analysis would be Raissa’s for the last senatorial elections. Part of her strategy was, not only to consider the qualifications of individual candidates, but also to consider their party affiliations and assess what impact her choices would have in the 2016 elections.
      2.1. Some important strategic considerations are the questions that JoeAm has raised at the end of the blog. I detail another consideration, the vision thing, in the next item.

      3. Binay fails at the character level. He wins at the organizing ability level. That organizing ability is double-edged depending on the vision of what the society should be like. Your comment below on Integrity and Capability is crucial. Do we want a society of happy but dependent people who are literally given cake? Or do we want a struggling society of self-reliant and independent people who will buy their own cake?

      4. Having said all of that, the Index can be put to good use as a primary filter of qualifications in a presidential contest as JoeAm has demonstrated here.

      • wjarko says:

        One way of minimize the granurality issue is to use forced ranking. This way candidates dont get equal score in any given criterion.

        • edgar lores says:

          wjarko, thanks.

          I can see that using forced ranking at the criterion level will give us a clearer picture of each candidate within that criterion. As an example, if we take the criterion of Character, Grace wins if we giver her a score of 5 as against 4 for Mar and 3 for Ping.

          If we go to the next criterion, Grace and Mar might be tied in that criterion with, say 4 points each, as against 3.5 for Ping. Although Ping has a Master’s, this was obtained at a local university whereas Grace and Mar obtained baccalaureates abroad. Again, we may break the tie between Grace and Mar, as you suggest, by giving a higher score to Mar of, say, 4.25, because of his major. Economics (Mar) is arguably more difficult than Political Science (Grace). So again we have a clear winner in Mar in this criterion.

          The picture so far is that Grace wins in Character and Mar wins in Intelligence.

          I think we are agreed that forced ranking gives us a clear winner in each criterion.

          The problem as I saw it is that Grace, being a newbie, may score less in the two other remaining criteria, which are Capacity (or Skills) and Capability (or Experience). Consequently, if we tally the overall scores it may be that Grace and Mar are tied at an average score of 4.75 while Ping lags behind at 3.75.

          The question I had in mind is: How do we break the tie between Grace and Mar in the overall rankings, overall being the sum of all criteria? Again, using your suggestion, we can use forced ranking. But to do this we have two options: (a) give greater weight to one pre-existing criterion or (b) introduce a tie-breaker criterion which is not in our original scheme.

          Thus if we give greater weight to Character, Grace wins. But if we consider a tie-breaker criterion – like sex, for instance – Mar wins if you consider maleness to be of greater value than femaleness. Or vice-versa.

          Thanks for the suggestion. It does give us a way to fine-tuning the Rizal-Robredo Index.

          • wjarko says:

            Well, it boils down to personal preference. One way to go about this without putting too much bias on a particular candidate is to put weights on each criteria, all must have a sum of 1. Example: intelligence (0.5), capacity (0.25), and so on. them multiply scores with the weights assigned for all criteria and candidates; then compare the weighted scores of each candidate.

            Hope this methods helps.

            • edgar lores says:

              Wjarko, thanks.

              The Rizal-Robredo Index does use weights. The problem is the clustering of the weighted scores such that there is no significant differentiation among the candidates. There is a perceived ranking, but no one really stands out.

  2. andrew lim says:

    I also want to highlight the hierarchy of these two values: Integrity and Capability.

    Integrity comes first because as the late Robredo pointed out, you cannot learn it , unlike skills and proficiencies. You either have it or you dont.

    Some Filipinos erroneously think that capability is enough, even if it means being corrupt – the supporters of Marcos, Arroyo, Estrada, Enrile are examples. And to think they proclaim loudly their Catholic faith (like Tatad, et al)

    Binay does not pass the integrity test.

    • edgar lores says:


      1. To illustrate my item 1.1 in my earlier response (of 9:27 am), let us assume a scale of 1 to 5 for each category:

      1.1. Scores
      – Character: Mar – 4; Ping – 2; Grace – 5
      – Intelligence: Mar – 4; Ping -4.5; Grace – 4
      – Skills: Mar – 3; Ping – 4; Grace – 3
      – Accomplishments – Mar – 4; Ping – 4; Grace – 3

      1.2. Applying the standard category weights given (of 30,30, 20, 20), we would arrive at the following awards, which shows little differentiation between Ping and Grace:
      – Mar 76% (Winner)
      – Ping 71 % (Loser)
      – Grace 72 % (1st Runner-up)

      2. Using the same scores, but putting emphasis on Character and changing the weights to 40, 20, 20, 20, we would get the following results:
      – Mar 76% (Winner – Tied)
      – Ping 66% (Loser)
      – Grace 76% (Winner – Tied)

      3. Interestingly, if I score Binay as 3, 4.5, 4 and 4.5 respectively, I get.
      3.1. An award of 79% using the standard weights. Clearly, an overall winner.
      3.2. An award of 76% using the modified weights. Tied with Mar and Grace!

  3. ella says:

    Out of the three, Poe is the most winnable. Her popularity can defeat the Binay machinery.

    You have enumerated the four areas of consideration and they are very good and I wish, most if not all, voters would look at all these areas before deciding whose name they will write in their ballots.

    Unfortunately, most of the Filipino voters considers election as sort of popularity contest. Yes, there are many Filipino thinking voters but they are outnumbered by people that considers election as a popularity contest and popularity contest in the Philippines has always been who has the most money to spend.

  4. edgar lores says:

    A. Methodology

    Apart from the Rizal-Robredo Index, an applicable method of analysis would be linguistics. A part of this scientific methodology is the study of meanings. Here, courtesy of Google, are the relevant definitions:

    A.1. Mar
    1. impair the quality or appearance of; spoil.
    Example: “violence marred a number of New Year celebrations”
    Synonyms: spoil, ruin, impair

    A.2. Ping
    1. an abrupt high-pitched ringing sound.
    Example: “the ping of the oven timer”

    1. make or cause to make a ping.
    Example: “the doorbell pinged”

    2. (Computing) query (another computer on a network) to determine whether there is a connection to it.

    A.3. Grace
    1. smoothness and elegance of movement.
    Example: “she moved through the water with effortless grace”
    Synonyms: elegance, stylishness, poise, finesse, charm

    2. courteous good will.
    Example: “he had the good grace to apologize to her afterwards”
    Synonyms: courtesy, courteousness, politeness, manners, good manners, mannerliness, civility, decorum, decency, propriety, breeding, respect, respectfulness

    1. bring honor or credit to (someone or something) by one’s attendance or participation.
    Example: “he is one of the best players ever to have graced the game”
    Synonyms: dignify, distinguish, add distinction to, add dignity to, honor, bestow honor on, favor, enhanced, add luster to, magnify, ennoble, glorify, elevate, make lofty, aggrandize, upgrade

    B. Observations

    1. All names have a verb form.

    2. Ping and Grace also take the noun form.

    3. in terms of number of interpretations, Mar has one, and Ping and Grace have 3 each.

    4. In terms of meaning, the first is negative, the second may be annoying but is useful, and the third is all positive.

    5. And last, but not least, alphabetically speaking, Grace comes first followed by Mar and last is Ping.

    C. Conclusion

    Although this comment has attempted to employ a scientific approach, it is beyond the responsibility of the commenter to state a conclusion in respect of other methods and of individual choice.

    However, readers may arrive at their own conclusion by answering this question: Pragmatically speaking of course, what would you rather be: Marred, Pinged or Graced?

    • andrew lim says:

      ha ha ha! This is a gem of a humor piece. It should get published in many fora.

      In contrast, what does the name Jejomar connote? When you appropriate and conjugate the names of Jesus, Joseph and Mary as your first name, what does it mean?

      Illusions of greatness? Power and influence?

      His nickname Jojo – what does it mean? Do we listen to the Beatles’ “Get Back”?
      Do we tell him, “Get back – get back to where you once belonged”? 🙂

      • edgar lores says:

        Translated into Tagalog, Jejomar is “Susmaryosep!”

        This colloquial expression is an interjection. It is used as an expressive reaction to connote shock, disbelief, sarcasm, and the general ridiculousness of an idea.

        If you were to ask, “What do you think of Binay becoming our next president?”

        I would not be surprised if many would give the answer: “Susmaryosep!” 😉

    • Dee says:

      Ah, we got a Pinoy Henyo in our midst.
      I am not making my choice till after the interview and bathing suit competition. 🙂

    • Jo says:

      Oh Ed, hide that sharp wit, haha!

      I love this. Their destiny appears to be written in their names, yeah? 😀

      • edgar lores says:

        Oh, Jo, from my scrabble days I remember that you are a sweetheart. So indeed it does.

        (We shall not speak of my name less we discount the methodology.)

  5. Jing says:

    How about Rodrigo Duterte of Davao?

    • ella says:

      Duterte could be good for the BOC, if he is true to his words, then the Philippines will not be losing millions of money to corruption in the BOC.

    • Joe America says:

      Too risky. Too out-of-control for my liking. Too much ego.

      • pussyfooter says:

        What I do appreciate about Duterte though is he knows his limits. He won as Congressman for Davao City before, served one term, and went back to city government posts. He reportedly refuses anything higher now, because, supposedly, he says he knows he’ll be most effective in city government. (And judging from popular opinion among his constituents, this is true.) He’s a welcome change from the Nancy Binays and Jinggoy Estradas of this world–arrogantly assuming power they have no clue how to wield intelligently or productively.

  6. andrew lim says:

    Joe, I am tossing in the name Vilma Santos. I want to hear what the Society has to say about her. In my initial assessment, she qualifies for the integrity and capability test.

    • edgar lores says:

      This may be a little unfair, I do not know her capabilities and achievement, but I question her judgment – solely on the basis of her choice of SOs.

  7. Joseph-Ivo says:

    Always Rizal… Why not Bonifacio? It would be a nicer pair, Bonifacio and Robredo. Add Magsaysay and you have the perfect mix. Why?

    I don’t believe in history but I believe that more of the same will result in more of the same. The people collaborating with the Spaniards, sold the Philippines to the Americans and continued collaborating. Then they managed to play the Asian independence card and collaborated with the Japanese. After 1946 they high jacked the independence. Then they high jacked the 1986 and 2001 people power movements. They will survive the little cleansing Noynoy is trying to achieve. Their trump card is “smooth transitions” as preached by Rizal. Think twice for Roxas, Lacson…

    My combination of competencies are integrity and a blunt fighting spirit, a deep indignation with the centuries of oppression. As Bonifacio, as Magsaysay, as Robredo in a silent way, as the Binay of 45 years ago. All “surprises” for the establishment.

    Trillianes, Escudero? But they might have some major flaws.

    Who can pull a white rabbit out of the hat?

  8. Dee says:

    Have you read this yet? :
    BBC, NBC and other major international news agencies picked it up. The world is now watching China. Of course, the state owned media headed by Xinhua already published their rebuttal and it is loaded with name calling.

  9. Joe America says:

    I’m on the road with only cell internet. Hard to type. Okay to read. I’m enjoying the dialogue. Keep it up. I’ll catch up Sunday afternoon. Edgar, your science is wonderful. 🙂

    • Joseph-Ivo says:

      No problem, we are wasting our time anyhow, making prognoses for elections in 2016! There are more urgent things at the moment. A girl got raped 2 weeks go – or maybe not- , an actor mauled, Kris isn’t having sex, a beauty contest will be organized in Manila – we hope – , Pacquiao will prepare for a new fight and so many more pressing things happening right now, not in2016. Let’s leave politics to the politicians and enjoy your trip.

      • edgar lores says:

        Hmm, I like the prioritization of what is urgent. The entire sex gamut: rape, mauled because of sex, no sex, sexy beauty contest; then boxing; and politics last. This reflects three of the four major preoccupations of Filipinos, arranged in various orders of importance depending on the moment. I second the motion in the last sentence.

      • Joe America says:

        Haha. Definitely not wasting time. I’m at a ritzy beach resort. Enjoying. Thanks.

  10. Bert says:

    Ruby Tuazon is now in as state witness. Will Napoles and Gigi Reyes be next? Will this case affects Binay’s UNA alliance and his chances in the presidential election? What do you think of this, Joe?

    • Joe America says:

      Hi, Bert. I think Ruby is being sincere and will tell all. I think if I were prosecutor I’d go for Reyes as witness but not Napoles. She is too much a principal who needs to spend 15 years in jail.

      • Bert says:

        I think you’re right, Joe. But, isn’t it a wise man saying that ‘Hell hath no fury like a woman scorn’, or something like that, and so might work doubly hard to put Napoles under the government witness program to pin down the most guilty? Do you not agree with the good senator that Napoles is crucial in pinning down the most guilty?

        Is jailing Napoles as important as jailing guilty high government officials in this case to show to the world that the government is serious in its commitment to iradicate corruption?

        Just asking,Joe.

        • Joe America says:

          Hard to answer because we need to know what info is available from paper trails and other witnesses. If the case against a senator is firm already, go after Napoles, too. I’d hate to see her go free if she did what reports say she did.

  11. Jo says:

    I’m gunning for Grace for the mere fact she is the cleanest of our current roster of nationally-elected politicians right now. After PNoy, I hardly care about political background anymore–his track record in Congress and Senate is one of the dullest out there but when he became the president, man, did he grow into the position.

    Know-hows and experience are nothing in the light of integrity.

    • Maxie says:

      Of all the possible candidates, it looks to me like Grace Poe is most likely to be the Binay slayer. Poe together with Leni Robredo as her VP! I took a risk with PNoy because he did not fit the bill of tradpol. I am willing to that risk again with Poe and Robredo.

      • Bert says:

        Maxie, I may agree with you on Grace Poe, but what is it on Leni Robredo, can you tell? The husband was known to be a good man, did it rubbed on the wife? Just asking.

      • Ping Lacson is still “the best thebest” choice to lead our corrupt country. I know that the issue in this coming presidential election will be centered on PDAF, which Ping Lacson denounced it hardly thru his Priviledged Speech 11 years ago, ngunit walang halos nakikinig sa atin. He is not a kurakot minded fellow. He does not speak with loudness,but has the effect of a hammer pounded over an anvil. AT this point may I say, he holds the.hammer with iron fists. Why still look for another? He is proven against the unproven? Oh! M G !

        • Joe America says:

          I simply can’t get a feel for Ping Lacson, perhaps because he is quiet. He would probably have to get louder to succeed, ahahaha. His strong military/policing background is good, I think. Perhaps he has some vulnerability for his police work under Marcos, I don’t know. He seems a good, steady man who would need a lot more flair to connect in a way big enough to offset Binay’s popularity.

    • edgar lores says:

      Jo, Props to you.

      With respect to the Rizal-Robredo Index, I noted the problem of clustering, in particular the last example where Binay ties with Mar and Grace.

      You and Andrew have pointed a way out: the category of Character should be given a greater weight of 35% – 40% and, in the event of clustering, the candidate who scores highest in this category should be given the vote, all things being equal.

      In the last example, I scored Binay 3, Mar 4 and Grace 5, and each were awarded a tied overall score of 76%. Using your suggestion, Grace with a perfect score of 5 wins.

      By “all things being equal” I mean the “winning” candidate:

      1. Must not have outrageously low scores in the other categories.
      2. Must not have a high Character rating because of religious associations (e.g. a preacher or one primarily backed by a religious organization).
      3. Must be the least tainted with regard to any suggestion of criminality, corruption, cronyism, nepotism, coup plotting, sedition, sexual peccadilloes, human rights violations, and dynastic affiliations.

      In other words, a saint – but not too much of a saint.

    • wjarko says:

      She’ll be next Cory, her character’s too soft to make real change.
      I’m expecting a couple of coups if ever she gets elected.

  12. Maxie says:

    Thank you, Bert. Here are a few reasons why I will support Leni Robredo should she run for national office, especially VP:
    Grace and grit in the face of intense grief 
    Displaying a leadership style similar to her husband Jesse which I think is from her own conviction rather than by osmosis.
    Simplicity, humility, and Integrity
    Courage to run a clean and honest campaign with limited resources and defeating a formidable opponent from a political dynasty with a huge war chest.

  13. andrew lim says:

    Heads up, guys.

    Binay just showed he’s really on the side of the Estradas and Enrile in the pork barrel scam.
    Read today’s Inquirer:

    Binay’s personal motto:

    Kaibigan kong corrupt,
    Kasama ko sa ginhawa at hirap! 🙂

    (I am with my corrupt friends, in good times and bad)

    • edgar lores says:

      In any country but the Philippines, the enormity of his gaffe would cause social spasms (not convulsions) of king-size (not biblical) proportions. But the public and media reaction to his seditious support of that Cebu mayor (who now sits in Congress) shows we have a culture of “immunity” to add to our other cultural descriptions.

      Question is: What is the impact of this gaffe?

      Internet penetration (as of 2012) is 32% (34M users). Other papers have not yet picked up this item. The size of the Inquirer’s readership is less than a million, at 870K (as of 2011).

      Of the 34M Internet users, 77% (26M) use Facebook and 35% (12M) Twitter. If only the news of this gaffe had the salaciousness of the Vhong imbroglio and could be broadcast on these social media with 100% penetration. And also on this and other blogs like you have thankfully done, Andrew.

      Proof: the test of the pudding is….

      In the last quarter of the Pulse Asia survey, Binay’s approval rating rose to 80% (from 77%) while PNoy’s declined to 73% (from 79%). Binay currently owns the title of the “most trusted”. After this gaffe and Dasmagate, it would be interesting to see this year’s first quarter results. And of subsequent quarters until 2016. Make a note to self.

      • andrew lim says:


        The key here will be Pnoy himself. If he can be convinced to pummel Binay, then the chances improve. But if he remains neutral or even supportive, then it’s game over.

        • Bert says:

          Andrew, I agree with what you’re saying here. But, Pres. Noynoy supporting Binay will taint his commitment to clean governance and supporters of him like me will be greatly disappointed because we thought all along that Noynoy was serious in his vow for ‘Daang Matuwid’, hindi naman pala. Even now, I can already envision a Binay presidency, with Enrile as justice secretay, Jinggoy DILG secretary, and Bong Revilla retaining his old role as Nardong K. Putik, ehe, este, Kupit pala, hehehe. Horror. I don’t think Noynoy will do it.

          Personally, I think that Binay’s goose is cooked already by this association with the accused scammers, more so if this case drag on to 2016. Worse if he got implicated as well though far fetch at the present time, but who knows. Well, he can play hero and denounce his friends for the sake of love of country, or love of ambition, whatever, pero suntok sa buwan lang iyon. But, who knows.

          • Joe America says:

            I agree that President Aquino is constrained by his obligation to run a nation, and not condemn its duly elected VP for what might be construed as political reasons. However, when his party selects a candidate to support, then it is gloves off for the PARTY and for the Candidate. I am not confident that Binay’s goose is cooked. I thought it was long ago but his popularity poll numbers remain strong. I find it really strange. What does this nation really stand for, value-wise? Gadzooks.

            • edgar lores says:

              Interesting assessments and suggestions all around. Time for a proxy war? Time to use the secret weapon?

              Kris has always been a supporter of the Binays. What if she were to let loose a series of subtle digs – in the spacey, inimitable airhead style perfected in the Professional Heckler? (Sorry, JoeAm, you won’t get the flavor of this.)

              1. “Grabeh! Birthday ni Noy kahapon. Wow! Wow! Sana magpadala ako ng cake sa kanya dahil hindi siya Makati citizen! Pero nakalimutan ko … dahil siguro pagka-celibate ko! Bonga! Ayoko na ngang magsalita! Nakakaloka!”

              2. Wow, idol ko si Ate Ruby. Natuto ako kina Ate Pinkee at Ate Ballsee. Forgive, forgive para suwertihin ka lalo. Now na! At ‘di ba nagbago siya para lang sa mga apo? Nagsorender siya kay Lord sa ginawa niya! Can you imagine the karma? Grabeh! Promise!

              • Joe America says:

                Secret weapon. ahahahahaha. I wonder if Krissy reads the Heckler? He does enjoy teasing her. Maybe Dee will translate for me, ahahaha. She is our official Translator in Chief.

      • Joseph-Ivo says:

        For the old guard poverty and bad education are essential for survival. With an educated electoral they have no chance. Binay is intelligent, I’m sure he knows. It makes me wonder why Noynoy isn’t making a great leap forwards in educational spending.

        A 2013 World Bank report said that the Philippines spends only $110 (P4,975) per student per year. This is lower compared to other Asian countries in 2009: Thailand $853 (P38,372), Singapore $1,800 (P80,973), Japan $5,000 (P224,925).

        And this is only part of the story. Students aren’t stupid too, they listen to teachers (sometimes), but more importantly they (always) watch what they do. With their meager salaries, teachers’ primary concern is survival, they will try to make and extra peso to survive whatever way they can, asking extras for everything, even sell grades… This way students are educated in a through Filipino value: “as long as you can make money, everything goes.” Thus Binay is one of use, not a hypocrite as all the other pretending a moral high ground.

        • Whoa! Spot on. I think Binay has given up on this country. Cynic. He just care about his legacy; you know the shallow type as in seeing his name plastered on public edifices and street signs.

          Pretending a moral high ground. Ahhh how I wish most Filipinos aren’t like that, but bad circumstances cause good people to make bad decisions sometimes. To clarify, I’m not condoning the “Filipino value,” but it was just a mere observation.

      • Binay is mukhang Pagong disguised sa anyo ng Lolong. Ping Lacson is the pinultimnate alcontra sa mga ganong klase ng mga tao. I know that the issue in the coming election will be centered on PDAF which Ping Lacson has hardly denounced it 11 years ago, ngunit halos walang nakinig sa atin, despite his priviledged speech. Imagine at 200-million per annum na PDAF. Ulam na sana . Kuartanag maliwanag, ngunit Ping managed to defy the temptation. So, bakit hahanaop pa tayo ng iba dian? Pagtulungan na lang natin na mananalo si Ping ng tumabi ang mga kurakot…Ping Ping !

    • Joe America says:

      Amazing. As I said, I question his judgment. But Joseph-Ivo has the key, cheating to get by is so common, someone who does it is “just one of us”. It’s like aggressive driving on the roads, which we westerners are inclined to say is rude and dangerous, but the mindset here is “that’s the way we do it”, so an aggressive driver is admired, even if he cuts us off. The screwy thing is, I’ve adapted to the Filipino mindset on driving. If Binay wins in 2016, I’ll have to adapt my whole value set.

  14. Hmm.. Nice methodology. The Robredo-Rizal index should be taught in schools.

    HOWEVER, I can’t agree with you on putting Lacson on the list.

    Character? He’s a career policeman. How did he become rich? How about Kuratong Baleleng rub-out?

    Intelligence and most rigorously educated? He has post-grad studies, but just look at the schools. PMA is nowhere near Wharton– C’mon Ivy League–and Boston College, which is considered a new Ivy according to my quick web search.

    How could you betray your American universities which are considered the best in the world?

    Accomplishments? There was no significant improvement in terms of corruption in the PNP.

    For sake the discussion, why not include Escudero instead of Lacson. Escudero was an outspoken GMA critic at face value. If I correctly remember, he was a major sponsor of the Cheaper Medicines Act with Mar Roxas. Escudero is a UP Law graduate and had a Master– or masters units–in International and Comparative Law, Georgetown University Law Center,Washington (based on his website). Georgetown has one of the best law schools in the US as far as I know.

    Last but not the least, he can match Binay’s popularity.

    My potential prexy candidates ranking:
    2. Escudero
    3. Roxas

    • * Correction: for the sake of discussion. I find it hard to think and type sometimes.

    • Joe America says:

      Lacson is off my list. Roxas is still on it, in part because he is getting very good “training” as head of DILG. Frankly, I just don’t know enough about Escudero yet. I’ll do some digging. He does seem to have popular appeal. I appreciate the perspective, and the essential question is can you think and shoot a gun at the same time?

      • Whoa dropping Lacson was quick. If Roxas improves his administrative skills in DILG then he might move up, but his interpersonal skills really suck.

        I’m thinking of changing my pic. Jason Bourne’s alter ego isn’t that relevant anymore.

        • Joe America says:

          I wrote the headline including Lacson before doing my research so I was stuck with the comparison. Plus, I had to figure out why others consider him a prospect. He did run for president once before. The more I researched, the less I liked what he represented. Unrestrained personal ambition, for instance. Your comment was like a final nail in the box. At this stage I am not selling anybody, just trying to learn and bounce ideas around.

          • I had to reread your blog because I admittedly just read a few portions without analyzing hard earlier. And it didn’t come across that you’re endorsing a candidate; there was a fair assessment of your possible candidates.

            And based on your concluding paragraph, your final assessment is that Poe will win the popularity contest, yet there are questions which can gauge Poe’s substance.

            I posted the first comment to hopefully add something more to discuss which is the purpose of this blog.

            I think I need to stop here hehehe. For a latecomer, I’m talking too much.

      • Oki nga ako kay Mar Roxas dahil walang bahid kurakot ang hanay ng kanyang pamilya..Ngunit ang training niya if I have to say it in general terms, hindi sya bagay bilang palengke boy. Lacson got all the explaination why he is fitted to go against this kurakot. Pag-napawala if not least minimize the kurakot system, everytjhing will flourish, specially in banking where Roxas according to you has contributed a lot.

    • wjarko says:

      Why havent we considered Bongbong Marcos. He’s gaining rep from social media campaign celebrating the achievements of his father. Plus, they’re going for the ‘the sone should’nt be blamed for the sins of the father’ play.

      I personally would vote for him over the lot you got, I think he’s got a strong leadership character and the charisma. I guess he’s the ‘lesser’ evil from the bunch of prospective candidates for the 2016 elections.

      • Joe America says:

        As I wrote the blog, I will give my view. The “rep” he is getting via the social media is an orchestrated attempt by loyalists to clear the father of misdeeds and lay out a path to the presidency for the son. It is locally driven, not a national trend. I would consider him if you set forth his actual educational background, demonstrated skills in any position of authority, and accomplishments in the senate. Then those could be stacked up against other candidates. It is important to demonstrate that he is indeed independent of his father. This can be done by pointing out where he as acknowledged that the wealth taken out of the Philippines by his father and mother was wrongly taken out.

        • mirano353 says:

          Bongbong’s wikipedia page will say he graduated from Wharton. He. Did. Not.

        • wjarko says:

          Im well aware of what the social media hype is about. Im actually just basing my tentative decision on the character or personality the prime candidates are projecting.

          My take on Grace is that she lacks the strength to keep her people in line, especially the military and veterans of the political arena. I think she’ll be to nice to say no to the wishes of her benefactors if ever she becomes president, too weak willed.

          Mar and Binay are too sleazy and smart-ass to be presidents, they harbor a lot of ulterior motives in their vie for the presidency. I just can’t get myself to trust such people with so much political power.

          In the case of Bong Bong, I think he has a lot to prove but may go both ways. He might bring real good to country to vindicate his namesake and the future generations of his clan. Or he may just run the country into the ground like most other presidents have. In any case, he may have learned to fear the People Power that brought his family down or how to avoid another one in his term.

          I still waiting for a real alternative choice for president, someone untainted and genuine and can bring real change and development for the country. Likewise, we also need to vote better senators and representatives to Congress to plug the loopholes in our laws that favor the rich and powerful.

      • Mr. America, you have a good choice. Correct , si Roxas ay walang bahid kurakot sa hanay ng kanyang pamilya, kahit na sa Araneta. But have you tried to hear from one who is from Roxas City ? Ako gusto ko rin siya, in fact my brothers and sisters campaigned for his choice/endorsee in Roxas City, but later commented na, ” (kayo na ang bahala after your pakikinig ….) Kong hindi man lang talaga siya, Ping Lacson na lang dahil proven na na hindi talaga kurakot, in fact, he hardly denounced PDAf 11 YEARS AGO BY WAY OF HIS PRIVILEGED SPEECH IN THE SENATE NA IYAN AY SOURCE NG KURAKOTA. Ha was able to defy temptation. AT ngayon naman sa multi-billion Rehab funds, mayroon bang legit complaint ? Lacson na lang tayo. Why gamble to one who is to be proven yet?.

    • You might be correct David Webb, but it is still to be proven, while Ping Lacson is already proven. Pagtulungan na lang natin na mananalo si Ping. Gawin nating obligation talaga na ipagsasabi sa iba, lalo na sa mga hjindi nagpa-file ng buwis dahil sila ang karamihan nagbibenta ng boto. Tiyak si Mukhang Pagong sa kaanyuhan ng Lolong ay pagtutulungan yan ng pera na galing PDAF ng ma-pardon sila… Ping hardly denounced PDAF 11 years ago thru his Priviledged Speech , ngunit halos walang nakinig sa atin. He was able to defy temptation. Yong showing niya sa unsigned Napoles Papers naka-pagdali ng investigation ng scam, yon bilang leverage psycho. Ngayon din naman, walang legit complaint sa multi-billion rehab money. Dahil tiwala sa kanyang ang taong educado. Ang mayawit ay ang taong hindi nagpa-file ng buwis ang ang mga nakikinabang sa yawit na gayan na katulad ni Toby Tiyanko, Mayor Romualdez ng Tacloban at Teddyf. Lacson na lang tayopagka Pres. sa bise naman, kahit sino, but withpriority kay Duterte, Poe, Robredo, Roxas or Drillon .

      • Joe America says:

        I hope David responds. He has not checked in for awhile. I do note that you include Drilon on your list, and he is a guy I have not yet researched. He seems rather “old-school” to me and we need a break-out President, not an old school one. Lacson is rather half and half. Duterte, Poe and Robredo would be break-out. I don’t think Roxas would be.

  15. Mark A.B. Andrade says:

    Not known to many, the huge BPO Industry was sphereheaded by MAR ROXAS. He developed the foundation of BPO industry, in just little over a decade, it matched the contribution of OFW to Philippine Economy.

    filipinos will surely have freedom if we have economic freedom. His economics degree accompanied by his experience in congress and senate and his training in DILG makes him a good choice. He is not corrupt too.

    MAR ROXAS for President
    GRACE POE for Vice President
    LENI ROBREDO for Senator

    • Joe America says:

      Those kinds of details are what will need to be leveraged if he is the person President Aquino decides to back. I like your lineup, actually. I am somewhat bemused by the possibility of a Binay Presidency and a Poe Vice Presidency. Rather the beast and the beauty, value-wise.

      • Mr. America, you have a good choice. Correct , si Roxas ay walang bahid kurakot sa hanay ng kanyang pamilya, kahit na sa Araneta. But have you tried to hear from one who is from Roxas City ? Ako gusto ko rin siya, in fact my brothers and sisters campaigned for his choice/endorsee in Roxas City, but later commented na, ” (kayo na ang bahala after your pakikinig ….) Kong hindi man lang talaga siya, Ping Lacson na lang dahil proven na na hindi talaga kurakot, in fact, he hardly denounced PDAf 11 YEARS AGO BY WAY OF HIS PRIVILEGED SPEECH IN THE SENATE NA IYAN AY SOURCE NG KURAKOTA. Ha was able to defy temptation. AT ngayon naman sa multi-billion Rehab funds, mayroon bang legit complaint ? Lacson na lang tayo. Why gamble to one who is to be proven yet?.

        • Joe America says:

          I think there are a number of good choices for president of the Philippines. Not too many bad ones, actually, as the office usually makes the person if the man or woman is of good, stable character and good brain. I like Grace Poe because I believe she can inspire the nation like few others, and the nation needs that to become more unified. More a nation.

  16. Jay says:

    Mar Roxas would be a better choice. If I had to choose Mar vs. Jojo, without a doubt Roxas will win.

  17. rebecca eltanal says:

    why not Duterte if he decides to run. he has Davao to show he is many cuts above the rest.

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  1. […] Mar Roxas, Ping Lacson and Grace Poe, February 7, 2014. A comparative analysis that concludes that Grace Poe would win among three selected candidates due to her strong character and the popularity of the Poe name. […]

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