Press Release
August 5, 2014

Transcript of Interview of Sen. Serge Osmena


Q: LP is allegedly planning on adopting Binay as presidential bet for 2016?

Serge: I do not know because I am not a member of the LP.

Q: Is that a wise move, for the LP to have a guest candidate?

Serge: It all depends. Kung mahina ang candidate ng LP, they might want a stronger candidate in Binay. But, again, that is something you should ask to members of the Liberal Party themselves, like Senate President Franklin Drilon. You better direct your questions at him. I am not authorized to speck in behalf of the LP, and I do not know what they are thinking.

Q: Dati kayong tumulong kay PNOY. Palagay mo, tamang desisyon ba ito? Mataas na ang rating ni Binay, kung totoo ito, parang sinasabi nila sa ibang kandidato, 'huwag na kayong tumakbo'...

Serge: Tamang desisyon ba? Actually, depende sa layunin nila. I mean, if their direction is different, or if they have an ideological difference, then it would not be good. But in this country, wala naman tayong totoong political party eh. Puro barkada lang iyan eh. So, I cannot differentiate between political party A, political party B, and political party C... it's all the same thing.

Q: Hindi ba ito signal na dapat ng magmadali ang LP? Wala ng oras, 2 years na lang eh...

Serge: Well, I think that is a good political gambit on the part of Vice President Binay to say that. In other words, if you read between the lines, ang sinasabi ni VP Binay, 'mukhang mahina ang kandidato ng LP, kunin mo na lang si Binay.'

Q: In our system of democracy, healthy po ba kung mag-merge ang UNA at LP?

Serge: Believe me, it's all the same thing. When the past administration was in power, everybody was a member of Lakas. Ngayon, they all transferred to the Liberal Party.

Q: Mababawasan ang choices ng voters sa election?

Serge: Yes, mababawasan ang choices ng voters. But then there will always be somebody out there who can throw his hat into the ring.

Q: Knowing the people inside the LP, do you think it is possible for them to coalesce with UNA?

Serge: Possible, yes. Probable, no. Kanya-kanya 'yan eh, may mga grupo na 'yan. They want to stay in power, and they feel they have reforms to continue, to pursue, or they believe that no other political party or political aggrupation can do it, or will be as dedicated to their programs as they are, so they want to stay in power for another 6 years. And of course, you cannot begrudge them that ambition. So, let's see.

Q: Hindi ba magiging sakit lang ng ulo iyan ni Binay? Sa loob lang ng LP ang dami ng factions eh...

Serge: Ganun ba? Sino ang mga factions diyan?

Serge: Alam mo, politics here is really a politics of factions. Ang daming grupo niya. Dito lang sa Senate, 3 major ones - NP, LP... but the LP has only 4 members. It's really the factions supportive of Noynoy Aquino. And then you have the group of Tito Sotto. But that could splinter further, depende kung sinuman ang kandidato eh. It's really hard to predict how all these things can come together in 2016.

Q: Kailangan pa ba ni Binay ang endorsement ni PNOY sa 2016?

Serge: The way the surveys are reflecting his popularity, he doesn't need anybody's endorsement. But of course, politics being addition, you always want any added support. But the way he is doing, if the elections were held today, he'll win in a landslide.

Q: Palagay niyo, sino ang puwedeng kumalaban kay Binay?

Serge: Hindi ko pa alam. Kasi hindi naman nare-reflect sa surveys eh. I mean, malayo pa iyong iba.

Q: How would President Aquino's endorsement help VP Binay? Will it seal his fate?

Serge: No. The way the surveys are today, these endorsements of Binay will not help him win. If the elections were held today, he will win. So, that's merely a plus.

Q: Hihina ba ang laban ng ibang kandidato from other parties

Serge: In this country, it is the surveys that nominate a candidate. And, kung magiging popular ang one member of the LP, then automatically, he will be named the presidential candidate. Ibig sabihin, he should be getting 15-20% because anything below that, it's just hard to catch up with Jojo Binay.

What I am saying is that, ang survey naman ang nagno-naminate ng presidential candidate natin eh. Kapag mataas ka sa survey, tatakbo ka. Kung mababa ka sa survey, hindi ka tatakbo. It's got nothing to do with party nomination.

Q: Hindi kaya mataas ang survey ranking niya dahil siya pa lang naman ang declared na tatakbo for 2014?

Serge: No, no, I do not think his ranking is high because he is the only one who has declared. His ranking was already high before that. He already won the vice presidency. He was already taking 80% approval ratings.

Q: Kung kukunin si Binay, paano na ang ibang coalitions sa partido nila, like Grace Poe and Chiz Escudero?

Serge: Para sa akin ito ha. If the elections were held today, Binay will win by a landslilde. What happens in 2016, that's still 2 years away, I cannot predict.

Q: Ano pa ang chances na magbabago pa ang rating ni Sen. Grace Poe?

Serge: Chances? Depends on what they do. And how they plan it. You cannot sit still.

Q: You helped her in the last elections. Are you willing to help her again?

Serge: I will help everybody ?

Q: How important is President Aquino's endorsement of a candidate?

Serge: At this time, his endorsement will help somebody who is not with him. Not somebody who is with the Liberal Party because in the surveys, naka-input na ang suporta ni Noynoy Aquino. But if suddenly he is endorsing somebody who is outside the party, people never associated with Noynoy, maybe that person will get 2-3 additional points, but not much.

Q: Re: Sen. Grace Poe, masyado pa ba siyang bata?

Serge: No. We haven't seen her moving. You see, running for senator is different from running for president. It's a hell of a hard job running for the presidency. Madali iyong senator, you are choosing 1 among 12. But running for president, that's really hard to do.

Q: If she is planning to run for president, she has to have her own political party?

Serge: No. Parties don't matter. Party is just a name, grupo. Kapag leading ka sa survey, maraming pupunta sa iyo. Kapag mababa ka sa survey, wala kang party.

Q: Anong dapat niyang gawin, considering na No. 2 siya sa survey?

Serge: Maybe she has to expose herself more. Maybe she has to talk on a wider scale and share her vision for the country. Project herself not merely as an RH bill supporter or an FOI bill supporter. Somebody who the country can look up to for leadership. It takes some doing to do that.

Q: At this time, sino pa ang pwedeng tumapat kay Binay? Sa survey, ang No. 2 is Grace Poe eh...

Serge: A very distant second. 12% to 41%, that's a long way.

Q: Pero kayang habulin?

Serge: Kayang habulin? Hindi ko alam kung kayang habulin. That's hard to predict. Mahirap na habulin iyan.

Q: LP is looking at Mar Roxas? Ano ang magagawa niya to raise his chances?

Serge: I don't know what he can do to raise his ratings. He has to make things work at the DILG, but they are not working.

Serge: You know, campaigning for president is like telling the people: 'I am willing to lead you in this direction.' They better like the direction and they better like you. Bilib sa iyo, bilib sa vision ninyo.

Q: 2-3% lang ang kayang idagdag ni PNOY?

Serge: Yeah. You know, people think that the endorsement of a sitting president is big...hindi totoo iyan.

Let's start from Cory Aquino. When she endorsed Fidel Ramos in 1992, Ramos was No. 1 already in the surveys at 24%. And when election came, Fidel Ramos was 24%.

In 1998, Fidel Ramos endorse Joe de Venecia. JDV was at 17%. When elections came, JDV was still at 17%.

In 2010, GMA endorsed Gibo Teodoro. And of course, she was such an unpopular person, Gibo Teodoro only got 11%.

So, the endorsement of the president doesn't seem to count in this country.

Q: Even if the president is very popular and has a high satisfactory rating?

Serge: Yes. Kasi parang hindi transferrable eh. Sometimes, they might mislead themselves into thinking, 'I am so popular, anybody I endorse is going to win.' That's not true.

Q: Sure win na ba si Binay?

Serge: No. I will not say that. Because it's still 2 years down the line. All I am saying is, if the elections were held today, he is a sure winner.

Q: And once he gets the endorsement of the president, hindi naman madedehado ang ibang kandidato for president?

Serge: Yeah. But, you know, they are still going to be far behind.

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