PRES. MAR

By Roly Eclevia

A law dean believes former DILG chief Mar Roxas is the leading presidential candidate despite all the surveys that place him on the third or even fourth place. The surveys, he maintains, “are endogenously inaccurate.”

In an article posted on the internet March 31, Mel Sta. Maria, dean of FEU Law School, observes Mar Roxas obtained 11,213,563 votes in the 2010 elections. To win the 2016 presidential race, he need only keep his support base intact.

That spells trouble for the three other candidates: Sen. Grace Poe, Vice President Jejomar Binay, and Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

The law dean points out Benigno Aquino won the 2010 elections with 12,233,002 votes. Ex- President Joseph “Erap” Estrada came second, with 7,449,597 votes. The total number of votes garnered by the two presidential frontrunners was 19,972,599, just a little less than the 20,337,327 votes the lady senator obtained in the 2013 senatorial election.

He surmises Grace Poe drew from the Aquino and Erap support base to clinch the top spot.

This time, Grace Poe can no longer depend on the Aquino support. The president has his own candidate. He has anointed Mar Roxas, and he is now actively campaigning for him. His endorsement is nothing to sneeze at either. His latest approval rating is a high 52 percent, unprecedented in a lame duck president. That will definitely have a salutary impact on Mar Roxas' candidacy.

That leaves Grace Poe with only Erap's support. The former president's endorsement will not give her additional votes. It merely means she is keeping Erap's 7,449,597 votes. She, on the other hand, is losing Aquino's 12,233,002 votes.

The Erap endorsement will affect Binay in the most negative way. In the 2010 elections, he won as vice president with 12,025,429 votes against Mar Roxas' 11,213,563 votes, but that was because he had Erap as his presidential candidate. The Erap factor made his victory possible, something he himself acknowledged. Take away Erap's 7,449,597 votes, and Binay has only 4,275,832 votes left.

According to Sta. Maria the Erap endorsement will not affect Duterte one way or the other. The mayor is not a serious contender. He does not have any reliable national base. His supposed popularity his camp dazzles us with “is merely anecdotal.”

Now to go back to Mar Roxas. His alliance with Aquino is holding firm. It is thus reasonable to assume he will keep his 11,213,563 votes. Not for nothing that he hews close to Aquino's Daang Matuwid.

He knows it will propel him to victory.

The analysis may appear too simplistic when ranged against expert opinion. However, there is no guarantee the sophisticated, overwrought analysis will turn out right and the simplistic analysis proven wrong.

"Sometimes, it is a matter of simple arithmetic," Sta. Maria says.

The law dean is a graduate of Ateneo de Manila Law School. He obtained his master of laws in banking from Boston University.

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