“Only two of the candidates fit the profile.”
One of the hardest parts of the job of a presidential campaign strategist is to include in the campaign strategy a set of ideas and proposals intended to capture the vote of the nation’s business sector. One of the hardest parts of a prognosticator’s job is to predict which of the business programs offered by the presidential candidates will be adjudged most attractive by this country’s businessmen.
For reasons that should be obvious, the support of the business sector is extremely important, because of what comes with it. The votes of the 20,000 men and women who make up a conglomerate’s workforce are of course important, but it is the finances that come with the conglomerate’s support that matters. Electoral campaigns have to be financially sustained right up to the last legally allowed day, and, with the exception of Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Senator Manny Pacquiao, the men and women vying for the presidency in the 2022 elections are individuals relying mainly on corporate and other donations to support their candidacies.
It bears pointing out here that a conglomerate’s inclination toward a particular candidate does not mean that all of the thousands of corporate-group employees will follow their boss, sheep-like, into the corral of the favored candidate.
The non-MSME businessmen of this country are grouped mainly in four organizations, namely, PCCI (Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry), FFCCC (Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce) MBC (Makati Business Club) and MAP (Management Association of the Philippines) As its name suggests, FFCCC is the organization of the Chinese-Filipino segment – a very large segment to be sure – of the Philippine business community.
Whatever financial support these organizations give to their favored candidates is done with great discretion, e.g., through the third parties, for non-traceability. The members of the FFCCC have long been known to give support to all the strongest candidates, with decreasing generosity the farther down the survey rankings a candidate is. The give-to-everybody concept is intended to avoid bad feelings, especially when the donee loses. The word around town is that the Chinese-Filipino community’s favorite candidate is Senator Panfilo Lacson, who effected the safe rescue of two prominent Chinese-Filipino kidnap victims during his Marcos-era stint with then Philippine Constabulary-Integrated National Police (PC-INP).
Who will the other business groups – MBC, MAP and PCCI – support in next May’s presidential election? After six years of turbulent, distracted Duterte governance, that’s a no-brainer. They will choose a candidate with a track record of integrity and competence, with a legacy of solid service in government and, last but not the least, a healthy regard for the rule of law.
Only two of the candidates fit that profile. These candidates are Vice President Leni Robredo and Senator Lacson.