According to the latest surveys released by Pulse Asia and the Social Weather Stations, Vice President Jejomar Binay is now in fourth place in the 2016 presidential race, trailing everyone except Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago. It seems like ancient history now, but Binay actually began this year as the front runner according to the same polling firms.
That dominance proved to be short-lived as allegations of corruption against him and his family continued to hound his candidacy, with no less than the Office of the Ombudsman pursuing the case. Binay had long claimed that the charges are all part of what he calls as “Oplan Stop Nognog 2016,” an initiative supposedly hatched by his political opponents led by Liberal Party standard bearer Mar Roxas to stop him from winning the presidency.
The beginning of the campaign period did not bring any more good news for Binay. For instance, he was widely regarded as a loser in the first two televised presidential debates. Then, the Supreme Court upheld the eligibility of Senator Grace Poe to run for president, a development which no doubt hurt his cause further.
Previously acknowledged as a master of building alliances at the grassroots level, Binay must have been blindsided by how much the ground has shifted against him since 2010 when he won the Vice Presidency and 2013 when his daughter Nancy easily won a Senate seat.
Many of Binay’s former allies deserted him for other candidates including former President and Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada (he has endorsed Poe), Pampanga Governor Lilia Pineda (supports Roxas), as well as Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla and former Cebu Governor and now Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia, who have both switched allegiance to Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte. Despite these, there are no sign of wavering from the Binay camp.
Instead, they released two new advertisements in recent weeks. The first one is titled “Biyaheng Ginhawa” where Binay and his running mate Senator Gringo Honasan can be seen literally leading people to a journey towards a better future through a bullet train. The second one stars boxing icon Manny Pacquiao where he is urging poor Filipinos to choose Binay because he understands how it is to struggle with poverty.
Can Binay pull off another last-minute victory just like in 2010? We’ll know the answer in six days.