By Manny Piñol

Vice President Jejomar Binay, in spite of the plunder charges against him for allegedly pocketing billions from governmet transactions, is expected to win hands down in Mindanao should Davao City Mayor Rody Duterte stand firm on his decision not to run for President in 2016.

Even Duterte himself shared this political assessment on who would benefit most should he decide not to join the Presidential race.

“Binay,” Duterte told members of the media when asked who would be benefitted most by his earlier announced decision not to run.

While Duterte did not elaborate on his reasons why he believes it would be Binay who would gain the most, it is easy to analyze why the majority of the 13-M voting population of Mindanao would go Binay.

Most of Binay’s political leaders and operators are based in Davao City and the Davao Region with an estimated 3-M voters.

Foremost among these political operators is former Davao del Norte Congressman Tonyboy Floreindo, who inherited a multi-billion peso agricultural company from his father, the late Don Antonio, and who is a die-hard Binay supporter.

The former Congressman’s political influence, mainly because of his vast resources, extends to as far as the Cotabato Region which explains why Binay roundly mauled Roxas in the area in 2013.

Floreindo, who is a friend of Duterte, earlier said that if the Davao City Mayor runs for President, he would tell Binay that he could not support the latter because of his very close relationship with Duterte.

Another die-hard Binay supporter in the Davao Region is Davao Oriental Governor Cora Malanyaon, who obviously will go Duterte should the Davao City Mayor make a go for the presidency.

In a Region where Duterte enjoys an 82% approval rating mainly because of his role as Regional Peace and Order Council chairman, Binay is expected to steamroll Grace Poe and Mar Roxas.

Sarangani Cong. Manny Pacquiao, who is admittedly is the political Kingpin of the area now would not turn his back on Duterte, a long time friend who staged in Davao City the first big fight for the Filipino boxing icon in terms of money earnings.

Without Duterte in the contest, Pacquiao and his ally, General Santos City Mayor Ronel Rivera, will deliver the province and the city to Binay.

In the Muslim areas of Mindanao, Duterte will surely win because he is idolized by the Muslims and also because he carries a quarter of Moro blood in him, his grandmother being a full-blooded Maranao.

Without Duterte, Binay will sweep the Moro areas, mainly because most of the political leaders are members of Binay’s Fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega or APO.

Besides, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has not forgotten Roxas’ role in the thrashing of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) in 2008, even if he has changed his tune when President Aquino reopened the peace talks with the MILF.

Poe, who is perceived to be pushed and backed by big business and special interest groups in Metro Manila has not earned the sympathy of Mindanao leaders mainly because she is new and also because she has not made any position on how to address the Mindanao conflict.

The preference for Binay in Mindanao over Roxas and Poe, in spite of his record of corruption, is mainly because of his established personal relationships with Mindanao political leaders.

“They will all steal anyway. At least, even if Binay steals, he knows me personally and he is my APO brod,” a town mayor said.

In the last survey of Pulse Asia, Duterte, who has maintained that he was not interested in the Presidency got 37% in Mindanao, followed by Binay with 18%, Poe with 15%, former President Joseph Estrada with 12% and Roxas with 9%.

In a privately commissioned survey conducted recently, Duterte zoomed to 47% in Mindanao which could be translated to about 5-M to 6-M votes.

In a 4-cornered fight, Duterte would leave behind his opponents eating dust but without him in the presidential race, a huge chunk of that figure would definitely go for Binay.

Mindanao’s 13-M votes is about 24% of the total voting population of the Philippines and with his edge in Mindanao, Binay could slug it out with Poe in Metro Maila and win the Presidency in 2016.

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