The author is a consultant for political affairs and analysis of the research and advocacy group Action for Economic Reforms.

Recently, in a widely unread and largely disbelieved piece for the
Yellow Pad, this writer argued that it was by sheer accident that the
KNP and the 4K turned out to be two sides of the same coin. A coin
owned jointly by two gentlemen whose futures depend on the outcome of
the coming elections. (By the way, for the computer-literate, have you
noticed that the dollar sign is located on top of the number 4 on your
computer keyboard? Just press “shift” on 4 and you get dollars ).

These two gentlemen who are playing “heads we win, tails you lose”
against the rest of the nation by backing both KNP and 4K must be
holding closed-door meetings, even as I write, with their sommeliers.
According to the Social Weather Stations (SWS), their main candidate
Fernando Poe Jr. (FPJ) is leading President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo
(GMA) by 9 points, safely outside the margin of statistical error.
Their insurance candidate, GMA, has just overtaken Raul Roco and now
leads him by 8 points, also safely outside the margin of statistical

Roco at 19 points will have to get all of Panfilo Lacson’s 11 points
plus Brother Eddie Villanueva’s 1 point just to get enough points to
beat GMA by a little more than the margin of statistical error.

We can naturally disregard Eddie Gil at .1 point as that measly point
represents General Abat’s solitary vote. (The reader may recall that
General Abat, in a comment defending his No-Election scenario, said
something like, all the candidates for president were “tainted” and
that his preference was Eddie Gil but no one else was going to vote for
him.) The survey’s results should energize the old soldier to work even
more vigorously for the postponement of the elections and the
appointment of Eddie Gil as head of a transition government.

For most “intelligent” voters who are deathly afraid of FPJ, this
survey will start an exodus to GMA – which will put her within striking
distance of FPJ. Consequently, “heads we win, tails you lose” will
definitely be the name of the game for the coming six years.

Now that there are only two candidates left in the running for
president, our leading media outlets and learned pundits can stop
studiously ignoring the other candidates and focus on the two leading
candidates. Prior to the SWS survey and based on all previous surveys,
the focus on GMA and FPJ rather than on FPJ and Roco, who was leading
Macapagal by a margin about as large as what she enjoys over him now,
did not make any sense. But now it does and money well earned then can
be spent openly now.

A lot of people will be thinking and asking questions, in response to
the survey results. The big question political commentators will chew
on is – can the advantage of incumbency, money and organization beat
FPJ’s popularity? For big business, the question is, was, and always
will be – “how much will it take?” Civil society, on the other hand,
will have two big questions – “que paso?” and “donde esta mi
pasaporte?” But, the only question for the two gentlemen beneficiaries
of this season’s political “accidents” will be addressed to their
sommeliers – what brand of champagne will you chill for us and our

The results of the vice-presidential race are relevant only if certain
parties are once again seriously considering overturning the people’s
mandate if it does not go their way again. In the case of Noli de
Castro and Loren Legarda, the results of the survey are immaterial
because replacing the incumbent with either of them would just be a
repeat of EDSA Dos – replacing an Erap with a Macapagal. History will
most certainly repeat itself and it is doubtful if anybody still has
the stomach to find out whether it will be a tragedy or farce next time
around. So, let’s skip the vices and go directly to the “senatoriables.”

The survey tells us that six 4Ks and 5 KNPs are in the first 11
senatorial spots while number 12 up to 18, also all from 4K and KNP,
are within striking distance of the last spot. This is a situation that
most people would call a tight race or a toss-up between the
administration and the opposition. Most people would naturally conclude
that control of the Senate by the incoming President will depend on who
gets the last spot. It would certainly be the case if they were talking
about any other place in the planet except the Philippines.

Filipinos instinctively know that the Senate, made up of elected 4K and
KNP candidates, will belong to the two very lucky gentlemen who are
currently discussing banquet arrangements with their sommeliers and
When one considers the senatorial slates, the politics and politicians
that Poe has associated himself and the kind of politics, principles
and integrity that Macapagal has revealed to us ever since her
takeover, one has to be as truly sophisticated as the Makati Business
Club or Solita Monsod to discern a difference between a Poe and a
Macapagal presidency. FPJ has been with Erap ever since while GMA has
shown that she is more than capable of making up for lost time and that
is all the information that this unsophisticated writer needs in order
to say with confidence and conviction that “THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE.”

The SWS just announced the impending return of Marcos and Erap minions
into our political mainstream. It is worth noting that the inauspicious
announcement of this Restoration (or the Return of the Damned, if you
will) – came at the start of a new Chinese year – the Year of the