Vice President Jejomar Binay, who initially dismissed multiple charges of corruption and unexplained wealth as politically-motivated attacks, appears to be cracking under the pressure of relentless investigations against him and his family.
Sources who were present when the embattled Vice President met with his leaders in the Davao Region over the weekend said Binay has indicated that should his survey numbers fall below 20%, he may have to give up his ambition to become President of the Philippines.
“Hindi ko kayo ipapasubo,” Binay was quoted as telling his leaders including a Davao provincial governor during his recent visit to the region.
(I won’t get you in a fix.)
Binay, who came out of the political starting gate like a runaway train, scored as high as 46% in surveys which asked respondents who their preferred presidential candidate was.
His survey numbers, however, plummeted to a little over just 30%, which was almost the same survey numbers for neophyte Senator Grace Poe, following the endless investigation conducted by the Senate Blue Ribbon Sub-committee on the alleged overpricing of the Makati City Hall building which was started when he was still mayor of Makati.
The fatal blow, however, came last week when the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), the financial watchdog monitoring banking activities to track down “dirty money” or money coming from illegal activities, was able to convince the Court of Appeals to freeze the bank deposits and assets of Binay and his allies.
Reports said the total amount of money and assets linked to Binay and his allies which were included in the freeze order amounted to over P11 billion.
Polling firms are expected to release new survey figures by the end of May and it is widely believed that Binay’s numbers will further fall.
“He was very straightforward with his leaders when he told them that if the survey numbers would really look bad, he would back out of the Presidential race,” said a source who was privy to the talks between Binay and his Davao leaders.
Should Binay back out of the race, it would be a three-way race between Poe, Manuel Roxas III and Davao City Mayor Rody Duterte.
The biggest beneficiary of a Binay withdrawal from the Presidential race, however, will be Duterte, who has yet to declare his interest to run for President.
Binay has a considerable following in Mindanao where he came in second to Duterte in voters’ preference.
Duterte will win hands down in Mindanao by a big margin should Binay drop out of the race and the figures involve about 13 million votes.
Binay also dominated the C, D and E class in recent surveys. The same group of voters are expected to swing to Duterte who is fancied by the masses because of his no-nonsense position against drugs and criminality.
Duterte also has a huge following among businessmen because of his reputation as an incorruptible leader of Davao City who has never bothered businessmen even during the elections when most politicians solicit campaign funds from big business.
With Binay out of the race and Mindanao leaders are freed from their previous commitments to him, it is almost certain that the next President of the Philippines would come from Mindanao.