The $81 MM: Day 3

It is, as Winston Churchill would have put it, a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.

So far this is what we have. Hackers arranged to move in 35 transactions some USD 950 million from the Bank of Bangladesh account with the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank to RCBC. Only 5 transactions totaling USD 81 million made it.

The said funds were routed to 5 fictitious accounts opened in RCBC’s Jupiter St. branch in May 2015 by its manager, Maia Deguito, with $2,500 provided by one Kim Wong, a casino junket operator. Wong believes the $81 million came from 2 fellow Macau junket operators, Mr. Gao and Mr. Zhize. Gao owed Wong P450 million. The dollars would partly go to paying this debt.

Of the $81 million, $15 million was then transferred to Philrem, a remittance company. The balance of $66 million was transferred to a “fictitious” RCBC account of one William Go which was subsequently also transferred to Philrem.

Philrem converted $61 million into pesos through RCBC for P2.9 billion. Philrem claims it distributed the pesos as follows: P1.3 billion to Solaire, P1.0 billion to Eastern Hawaiian Enterprises, a company owned by Wong; and P600 million in cash to one Weikang Xu, a casino associate of Wong. (Mr. Wong testified he received P380 million from Philrem, P20 million from Ms. Deguito and USD 5.0 million all in cash; or a total of about P600 million. Is this the same money allegedly sent to Xu?).

Philrem says it also handed USD18 million to Xu. Mr. Kim Wong refutes this although it is unclear how he would know.Did Xu lie to him about not receiving this money?

There was a balance of about $1.6 million which Philrem has not accounted for.


  1. Among all the banks in the world why was RCBC targeted to receive $950 million? Were elements in the bank “wired” to process this money? Who is Adrian Yuhuico, a resident of Forbes Park and “reserve bank officer”, who partied with Deguito?

2. Would a sum as large as $81 million been coursed through RCBC without a dry run i.e. were there similar transactions prior to this one?

3. Why was the RCBC “fictitious” William Go account needed to consolidate the $66 million? Why could the dollars not have gone straight from the five initial RCBC accounts to Philrem? When told, why did Go not immediately complain to RCBC higher ups about this “fictitious account?

4. Why was Philrem needed to process the money? Could RCBC not have converted the dollars into pesos -as in fact it ended up doing- and remitted them directly to the casino players? Was Philrem added to further layer the laundering?

5. How much money did Philrem make?

Based on the P81 million dollars it received from RCBC and the pesos/dollars it remitted to the casino players, Philrem made an estimated P32 million. Philrem admits to making P10 million in “handling fees” and to making a profit on the FX trade.

6. How much money did Branch Manager Deguito make?

Deguito reportedly boasted about having expensive lawyers to handle AMLA; covering the P5 million retirement of a colleague; and allegedly offered William Go P20 million to keep mum about his fictitious account. This tells you she must have made at least P100 million.

7. How much money did the casinos make?

Casinos work with junket operators to bring in high rollers. Junket operators are a casino within a casino in that they share “banca” profits on some agreed split in Kim’s case 47.5/52.5 with Solaire and 73.5/26.5 with Midas, a PAGCOR casino.

Solaire received P1.375 billion from Philrem most of which was converted into casino chips for high rollers who proceeded to lose about P1.275 billion. Based on the agreed split Solaire would have made P669 million, Kim P606 million before expenses (food, travel, accommodation and agents’ fees).

Eastern Hawaiian, a junket operator owned by Wong, received P1 billion from Philrem of which P550 went to high rollers who lost P510 million. On the agreed split between Eastern and Midas the former earned P375 million, the latter P135 million.

8. How much money did Kim Wong, Weikang Xu et al. make?

Kim could have earned a total of P981 million (P606 from Solaire and P375 million from Midas) from his share of high-roller losses. Additionally he received P400 million and $5 million (P235 million) from Philrem. Eastern received P1.0 billion of which he carved out P450 million, the money Gao owed him. Wong’s total possible take: P2.1 billion (before expenses) which he must have shared with Gao and Zhize.

Philrem claims to have delivered $18 million (P850 million) to Weikang Xu. The whereabouts of this money are unknown.

9. Will the Bangladeshis recover their money?

Kim Wong has publicly committed to returning P450 million in cash plus P40 million in chips or a total of P490 million; plus USD 4.6 million (P216 million). Will he also return his share of junket operator profits estimated at P981 million?

Philrem offered to return their handling fee of P10 million. Would it also return its  FX profit which I estimate at P22 million?

Can Solaire and Midas be compelled to forfeit their casino profits estimated at P669 million and P135 million respectively? Solaire has P100 million in funds it has frozen.

There is $68,000 (P3.2 million) frozen in the accounts of the five initial depositors plus all sorts of loose change.

The total of the foregoing would be P2.530 billion ($54 million) minus expenses. If the missing $18 million can be traced the total recoverable amount could be $72 million leaving the Bangladeshis with a loss of $9 million.

10. To answer Sen. Enrile, how much did the hackers make and how did they receive it?

The hackers possibly made money:

a. From the $18 million unaccounted for and from other monies received from Wong & Co. Philrem could have been  the remitting agent.

b. From monetization of the dead chips: The Chinese high rollers pay the junket operators some USD 41 million offshore. This is the dollar equivalent (@P47/$) of P1.925 billion in dead chips (P1.375 billion through Solaire and P550 million through Midas) given them in Manila.The operators remit this to the hackers.

From the above, the hackers made at least USD 59 million. The launderers made USD 22 million or 27% of USD 81 million, the going rate for money laundering.

11. Who are the links to the hackers?

Gao and Zhize, the Macao junket operators. Gao told Kim “big money” was coming in. Neither Gao nor Zhize are to be found.



The second presidential debate was in three parts: A segment where the candidates were questioned by a panel; a second where each candidate questioned another one; and closing statements. Unlike the first debate, this format allowed for the dynamics and personalities of the candidates to emerge.


Binay was unprepared for the debate, hoping to rely on his notes. This was disallowed by the moderator so the VP had to wing it.

Binay strategy seemed twofold, one, to go after Mar almost exclusively and, second, to promise to bring Makati to the Philippines.

The VP attacked Mar’s performance as DOTC and DILG Secretary in Yolanda, Zamboanga and the MRT project. He accused Mar of fabricating lies against him, likening him to Goebbels’ statement that if you tell 1000 lies that becomes the truth. (To the 99.9% of Filipinos: Joseph Goebbels was Hitler’s propagandist and SS head, the one responsible for the holocaust).

Binay attacked Poe on her citizenship while high-fiving Duterte whom he thought was qualified to be President. It must be a private thing, this love between mayors.

Binay accused his opponents of making empty promises. Only he could deliver the goods citing Makati where he and his family provided free health, free education and free cakes.


As expected the Davao Mayor flew by the seat of his pants. He was more interested in playing to the audience than in presenting his platform, He relies on sound bites rather than policy. He was inconsistent, calling Mar a friend while accusing him of being a “pretentious and weak leader”, a fraud over Mar’s Wharton credentials; and a weak President who is afraid to kill. He said: “Mar, wala kang alam”.

In another forum Détente urged voters to elect anybody but a corrupt Binay. Yet in the debate  he said the VP was the most qualified to be President. He almost got Jojo to sign a waiver on his bank accounts until the moderator -unfortunately- stopped him, claiming no documents were allowed.

To Poe he asked a powder puff question on how she would deal with the Spratlys. There were good vibes between the two.

Duterte anchored his program on corruption, ironically seconding the message of Daan Matuwid; security and leadership. He did say he would borrow the best suggestions of his opponents.

All in all, Duterte came out as an endearing if loose canon, the court jester. A Duterte Presidency would be a roller coaster, fun but scary.


As in the first debate, Poe was prepped. For being the youngest, the only woman and least experienced of them all, she accounted for herself well in the mudslinging. She was centered and unfazed by the heat. She fielded questions on the Spratlys and the coconut levy with poise.

Poe has a soft spot for Duterte, perhaps an offshoot of her friendship with his daughter. She was piqued by Binay’s attacks on her patriotism. She could have gone harder against him on corruption but surprisingly did not seeing that he is her main opponent. Her jabs were largely against Mar. Generally she burnt her bridges with the Administration dousing speculation of a second front with PNoy a la Noy-Bi in 2010. (Did she also insinuate the Ombudsman was playing favorites with PNoy’s friends?  This is a double negative: It bolsters Binay, her main opponent while discrediting Ms. Carpio-Morales, a respected and popular figure). She must believe the LP was behind her DQ case.


The man was the one most pounded by the others. This is surprising since being gang raped is most often reserved for the front-runner which he is not. Duterte accused him of lying, Grace of incompetence and Binay of everything else. Maybe he was the easy target because he alone has a record of national governance.

To his credit, Mar handled himself well. He did not back down and gave as much as he got especially against Binay (“The reason you know so much about Goebbels is because you obviously follow what he does” was the impromptu line of the night). As in the first debate, Mar shines when he shows passion. His closing statement about the return to national decency was the best. He is coming out as the underdog in the fight. Maybe this should be his new image, the nice guy scrapping for the light, the public likes that.


This second debate was enlightening in what it revealed of the personalities of the candidates if not of their platforms. Accustomed to the event, free of first night stomach butterflies and political correctness, they were more ready to engage.

Binay came out unconcerned and just hoped to hold ground. However, unlike in Cagayan de Oro, he may have slipped somewhat as his opponents this time did not give him a free pass on corruption. Funny, they did not raise his family dynasty as an issue.

Duterte relishes his role as the jester in the group. His openness is endearing but he needs to expand his repertoire. One would not be surprised if at the last minute he should drop out and endorse one of his opponents, probably Poe. With Rody you can never tell.

Poe held steady. She showed clearheadedness and surprising gumption which tells us of her internal fortitude for the job. She clearly gets better although she is arguably into diminishing returns. Her shot on the Ombudsman, if I heard right, was weird. As President she will need Morales.

Mar had his best performance and gained most from the debate. The challenge is to sustain the momentum. His passion and authenticity are surfacing, he is more likeable. This new role as a humane and battling underdog may finally be just what the doctor prescribed.

Take The Hit

It is riveting stuff.

The Senate hearings on the poor Bangladeshis’ $81 million heist have taken the TV ratings by storm. A Senator up for re-election said it is the cheapest form of campaigning, all that airtime for free.

The hearings have all the elements of a thriller, soap opera and business reality show rolled into one: There is a bank branch manager possibly requiring psychiatric consideration, an all-male cast of Senators vying for attention, a female bank lawyer with nice flip-up hair, a bank president still in shock, an AMLAC regulator with a doubtful sense of humor, a staid Dep. Central Bank Governor upset the country is now ranked with Sri Lanka as the money laundering Boracay of the world; and a bubbly lady who charges P500 to handle P4 billion in money transfers (which figure she subsequently corrected. In a dramatic moment, the latter publicly returned P10 million to the Bank of Bangladesh representing her “handling fee” while not saying this accounted for only one-third of her estimated foreign exchange profit from the deal.)

Interestingly, in the hearings it is the males (Senators) who ask the questions and the females (who make up almost all the witnesses) the answers. This tells us something about the distribution of brainpower in this country.

Central to the story is one Maia Dequito, a lowly manager of an undistinguished RCBC branch in Jupiter St. in Makati. She is so far down the organizational pecking order the bank’s president could not pick her out in a line-up. Yet on her own, Maia was able to move four billion pesos around the bloc with not a peep from either her colleagues or the elaborate compliance systems one imagines blanket RCBC, the nation’s fifth largest bank. Specifically, this is what she could do and, allegedly, did:

  1. She could open four dollar accounts with fictitious holders to accept $81 million.

2. She could establish a dollar account under the name of an unsuspecting, street-wise businessman in which $66 million would be inwardly and outwardly remitted.

3. She could open and operate a peso account under this same businessman’s name for two years without his knowledge. She could at will withdraw P20 million in cash from said account.

4.She could offer this businessman P20 million for keeping mum.

5. She could over-ride a “freeze order request” from her superiors and remit out $81 million dollars from her branch under the very wide eyes of her branch colleagues.

6. With more ease than ordering a pizza with complex toppings, she could over the phone direct a remitting company to deliver P600 million and PUSD18 million in cash to a near stranger; to convert $60 million into pesos and remit P2.4 billion to two casino operators; while openly admitting the money is not hers.

7. She could, as boasted to her colleagues, engage any number of lawyers to evade Anti-Money Laundering regulations.

8. She could take care of the P5 million retirement of a concerned branch colleague.

9. She could say her superiors approved all this.

10. She could say the bank president coached her on how to handle the subsequent investigation.

11. She could keep her job days after the red flags were up.

And all of this on a modest education, a salary of less than P100,000 a month and no superior physical assets. This woman deserves some respect.

How she could do all this? Her employer, for one, is interested.

RCBC is a reputable institution with a long banking history. IFC, a sister of the World Bank, is a stockholder. Lorenzo Tan, its President, is an honest and respected professional. Until recently he was President of the Bankers Association of the Philippines.

How could they not know?

How could a manager “five levels down from the president” run $81 million through the bank unnoticed?

What is the corporate culture that her bank colleagues were afraid to blow the whistle?

Where were the whistles?

Why did said manager still hold her job one week after anomalies were flagged?

The bank has opened an investigation to determine, among others, from what gene pool it hires its branch managers. Dequito apparently held 4 bank jobs over 12 years before RCBC took her in. This in itself was a sign.

RCBC is dealing with the perception it is out of control. Should it recognize, ignore, deny or cover-up its culpability? Culpability here is defined not as wrongdoing but as negligence.

Historically, those who have chosen to cover-up a misdeed have failed. Witness Richard Nixon and Watergate.

Ignoring culpability is not an option. The ghost never quite goes away.

Denying culpability is often resorted to as a legal defense but it has a negative connotation. It is associated with pride and insouciance, none of which play well with the public.

This leaves admission of fault as the only choice. Apology never hurts. It connotes humility for the frailty of the human condition. Japan inflicted untold atrocities on our nation but when its Emperor apologized for its actions, all was forgiven.

Neither RCBC nor any of its management has to my knowledge apologized for the harm it may have caused this country’s international standing and the bank’s constituents- its shareholders, its staff, its depositors, its public. There is still time to do this but not much because a late apology is almost worse than none at all.

Lorenzo Tan, the RCBC President, may want to do just that. As CEO he may want to publicly accept command responsibility for the fiasco and quickly clean house. If he has not already done so, he may want to also  offer to fall on his sword not as an admission of guilt or an act of contrition but as an expression of honor, of putting his institution ahead of himself.

On Dead Meat, Dead Chips and Dead End


As if poverty, monsoons and civil strife were not enough, the Bangladeshis almost lost $81MM. As recounted in a Philippine Senate hearing this is what happened:

– The Bank of Bangladesh’s account with the U.S. Federal Reserve was hacked for $81 million (The intended amount was $1 billion but the rest did not make it due to a typo). Using three U.S. banks, said funds were wired on Feb.5 2016 to the dollar accounts with RCBC, Jupiter Branch, of Mssrs. Cruz, Lagrosa, Vergara and Vasquez, all reportedly fake individuals. These accounts have been inactive since opened in May 2015 with deposits of $500.

– The $81 mm was then consolidated into the RCBC account of one William So Go (latter is the former owner of S&R which he sold to Lucio Co of PureGold). Go claims the account was fraudulently opened by the RCBC Jupiter Branch Manager, Maia Dequito. The latter came to know Go when she handled his account at the East West Bank, her former employer.

– Ms. Dequito reportedly then transferred the $81 million from Go’s account to Philrem, a remittance company. Philrem converted part of this to pesos through RCBC and the rest on its own.

– Upon the verbal instructions of Ms. Dequito, Philrem allegedly remitted the peso proceeds to three casino entities; and P600 MM in cash to one Weikang Xu, an alleged “junket operator” and high roller. The casinos reportedly converted most of the pesos received into “dead playing chips” or chips that can only be used to gamble i.e. they are not redeemable back to cash. It is not known what happened to the cash handed to Xu.

Who are the winners and losers in the scam?

  • Dequito, RCBC Branch Manager- The lady refuses to answer questions claiming her right against self-incrimination. She indicated she would speak only in a Senate Executive Session perhaps in exchange for immunity and/or witness protection. The Anti-Laundering Money Council (AMLAC) has filed criminal charges against her. Mr. Go is threatening to sue her and RCBC. She is, seemingly, dead meat.
  • William Go, reluctant victim- He claims Ms. Dequito, over coffee, admitted to fraudulently opening an account under his name yet he did not report this to her higher-ups and refuses to issue a disclosure waiver on “his” RCBC account. He could do well in a RCBC settlement.
  • Philrem, happy camper-With a straight face, a charming if somewhat well fed and flustered Salud Bautista, President of Philrem, alleges her company made P500 per remittance (roughly the cost of a large size pizza) for handling the roughly P3.8 billion in funds (Maam, that is a poor business model!). She was less forthcoming on how much Philrem profited on the buy/sell of the dollars: The market talk is it made 50 centavos/USD (versus the standard 5-10 centavos/USD). At $81 million you do the math. It is unclear whether the company paid taxes on the transaction. RCBC has “closed” the bank accounts of Mrs. Salud with them. The business future of Philrem is uncertain.
  • The casinos, even happier campers- If the millions remitted to the three casinos were converted into dead chips, they are the big winners. There is now pressure to include casinos under the AMLA. This would allow the authorities to complete the money trail but could possibly kill the gambling industry.
  • Weikang Xu, mystery man- He is laughing but not all the way to the bank since he would be ill advised to deposit the P600 million he received in cash.
  • Kim Wong, second mystery man- His name surfaced in the news but his role is undefined. One cannot ask him because he skipped town.
  • The hackers, disappointed- They did not make the killing they were hoping for. There is always another time but please use the SpellCorrect app. They could be talking to the casinos and/or Weikang Xu and/or Kim Wong for their money.
  • RCBC, what the hell? -The bank has suffered reputationally. Mr. Go is threatening to sue them. Some executive heads could roll, quietly, for how could Ms. Dequito have acted alone?
  • Lorenzo Tan, RCBC President, who me? – Lorenzo is financially innocent but professionally tarnished, the scam happened under his watch. He has resigned as BAP President. He should take command responsibility for the mess and see BSP Governor Tetangco, preferably on his knees.
  • The Bangladeshis, whew!- They may lose some $13 million since $68 million has been recovered; which is better than $1 billion.
  • The Philippines, more fun in- The country is apparently the destination of choice for money launderers. We just emerged from the international blacklist for money laundering and now this. The biggest impact will be on our OFWs who will probably now have to pay higher dollar remittance fees going forward.

The $81 million scam could well not be an outlier. There are possibly others that have remained undetected because of their smaller size. This one was at least one year in the making when the conspirators first opened their $500 accounts with RCBC. There was a plan. Some questions: Did the business between Ms. Dequito’s branch and Philrem flourish since she became its manager? How does Philrem transfer millions of pesos on the verbal instruction alone of Dequito who does not own the money? How does Mrs. Salud reportedly deliver P600 million in cash to Xu whom she had met only once or twice? How does $81 million run through RCBC without any red flags? Did RCBC suspect fraudulent activity in closing Mrs. Salud’s bank accounts? It is unclear whether we will get to the bottom of all this: For now the money trail has come to a dead end or, more exactly, dead casino chips.


P.S. The biggest winner in this affair may have been the Binay campaign. With all the noise, the Ombudsman’s disclosure of billions in the VP’s accounts could well be buried in the news cycle. Some people have all the luck.


A Second Life

Congratulations to Grace Poe and her team on the Supreme decision allowing her to run for President.

Supporters of her opponents immediately took to the airwaves. They talked of big money changing hands from two corporate conglomerates. They denounced the violation of “the rule of law” forgetting it is the SC’s job and not theirs to do just that, to interpret the law. It is interesting that these detractors should be so vehement about electing a “non-natural born”, “non-resident” candidate. Would they be equally upset if, say, Jesus Christ were running for President? Probably not even if JC is a Palestinian passport holder (Poe and JC have in fact some commonality: She is a foundling and he is immaculately conceived i.e. both their biological parents are unknown). Sure, Poe is not JC status but you get my drift: Criticize her for her inexperience or whatever else but not for being abandoned in a church at birth or for returning to the Philippines to serve her country.

Again, why are these detractors not more incensed that a leading candidate who has been officially charged with corruption is running for the highest office? Where is the sense of perspective?

These detractors are harming themselves and their candidates by acting so shrilly. They are just swelling the ranks of Poe supporters. In a somewhat lack of grace (sorry I could not help that one), the Binay camp announced the SC decision would not affect its campaign. Mar and Duterte had the common courtesy to send their best wishes which tells us something about the men.

Nobody really knows what went behind the SC decision. Two of the President’s appointees voted against Poe so it was not pure partisan. In fact, the SC statement simply said,  acting on the TRO requested by Poe, the Court ruled 9-6 the COMELEC exercised grave abuse of discretion and lack of jurisdiction when the electoral body canceled her Certificate of Candidacy for President. The Court did not explicitly state that Poe is either a resident or natural-born. While there is imbedded the implicit assumption that foundlings are “presumptively” natural- born, this needs to be clarified in the written majority opinion due in the next few days.

Absent an explicit ruling as to the natural-borness and/or residency of Grace, her qualifications may still be questioned but this would have to happen after May 10. Right now, the Court has to issue the majority opinion which could take 7-10 days, opponents then have 15 days to file an appeal; all of which would take us past election day. If she is elected, a DQ would be difficult, if not it is academic (although her Senate seat could be jeopardized).

The SC decision is expected to boost Poe’s numbers and give her the Big Mo so vital in the closing stages of a race. It will allow her to re-focus her efforts on the campaign. More important, donors will now be encouraged to open their wallets and politicians to shift alliances to her side. These are critical since Poe still lacks the machinery and the money to win the ground war of converting her popularity into actual votes.

The SC decision will take market share from her opponents who at some point will want to reflect: Will they continue in a loosing cause or do they salvage what they can by endorsing her? Some will decide based on financial and political realities. For others it will come down to humility, can they be the bigger man/woman and sacrifice their personal ambition for the greater good of the nation?


We Are Off !


In two months 40- 45 million voters (out of 56 million registered) will elect our leader for the next 6 years, a defining period in which our population will exceed 100 million, our cities could finally grind to a halt, and when growing economic inequality threatens our security, social fabric and national sense of well being.

The latest polls show Binay and Poe in a statistical tie for first place; Duterte has plateaued after an initial surge; Mar is treading water and Miriam should really go home and rest.

  1. If the numbers hold who will be our next President?

In a close fight with Poe, Binay is it. He has the street smarts, organization and money to win the ground war, to convert popular votes into actual votes. Poe has the emotional edge but not the same capacity to mobilize her supporters. This could change if she receives help from outside forces desperate to stop a Binay win.

2.What will make Mar competitive?

It would help if Poe was disqualified. However, while a necessary condition, it is not a sufficient one. Even Mar admits most of Poe’s supporters would migrate to Binay. This is confirmed by the polls. In a smaller race, Mar’s challenge is therefore two-fold: One, to bring Binay down; two, to attract the migrants to his side. The first requires taking the attack directly to Binay through messaging and ads. The second is more difficult: It would require a re-branding of his image and his platform. He must show he is his own person, not an extension of the President. He must articulate the anxieties of the masses not as an “experienced driver taking their kids to school” but as a Filipino with neither a car, a driver, a job nor a school. Voters need to believe he understands their plight on a human and non-intellectual level.

More important, he must be seen to be truly angry about the income inequality in this country even at the risk of alienating his capitalist base. He should advocate lower income taxes for the marginalized, higher pensions and government salaries, improved student financial support, stronger farmer assistance, and a wider safety net. These would be funded by higher property and wealth taxes, a levy on conspicuous consumption and a more efficient bureaucracy. Mar would have to take a hard left on the ideological spectrum, go populist. He has to tell the people what they want to hear even if this affects his Wharton sensibilities.

There are certain key players – Erap for one- whose support Mar could use. Conversely, Malacanang should scare the many big businesses who are financing a Binay Presidency.

3. Who, if any, would Poe endorse if she is disqualified?

Binay would gain most from a Poe DQ unless she endorsed Mar or Duterte. Many in the Poe camp believe the Liberal Party is behind the DQ case. On a personal level, she must be offended by the Mar attacks against her given he actively sought her VPship. On the other hand, she is ideologically closest to Mar.

Poe could choose not to commit but this would be a disservice to the country. This could be interpreted as “picon”, as her candidacy being about her and not about the nation. Poe seems personally quite fond of –or amused by- Duterte which may sway her to endorse him.

4. Why is Binay surviving despite the corruption charges against him?

-People are convinced all politicians are corrupt. They will thus vote for whoever promises them the moon.

-Ironically, thanks to Daan Matuwid, corruption is not the burning issue it was say during the Marcos and GMA era.

-Poe and Duterte share the “honesty” space with Mar. Anti-Binay voters have options.

-None of Binay’s opponents have aggressively taken him to task on corruption. They prefer to attack each other. Mar has started to target Binay but in a “politically correct” way which may just does not cut it.

5. Theoretically 74% of respondents would not today vote for Binay . Yet he is set to winning the Presidency. Why?

The 74% is spread over 4 candidates. There would have to be a coalition of forces to prevent a Binay win. This could be complemented by a NeverBinay initiative as there is building in the U.S. a NeverTrump campaign. The latter is organized by groups more united in their opposition to Trump than they are agreed on an alternative candidate. The NeverTrump movement is independently organized and funded. A NeverBinay campaign would be designed to open up more space for the other contenders than it would to propel any single name. As a non-partisan, common cause, it would presumably have objectivity and credibility with the public.

6. Can we learn anything from the ongoing U.S. elections, especially the Trump phenomenon?

Voters want change, even disruptive change, whatever the accomplishments of the incumbent. The system has not worked for 99% of Americans and it is not working for 99% of Filipinos. The electorate is just FED UP. This explains Trump as locally it explains Grace, Duterte and even Binay. Mar is the anti-thesis of this movement: In fact he has embraced the status quo, which may partly explain his situation.

7. Where does P-Noy stand on all this?

It is said the President is worried about a witch hunt from a Binay Presidency that would affect his person, his colleagues and his legacy. Binay would be crazy to go after a still popular Noy although this may not hold for his buddies.

There is talk of a PNoy-approved, second front with Poe, shades of the Noy-Bi initiative familiar to Chiz. This talk could be partly designed to unsettle Mar’s supporters.


The election landscape will be largely affected by the Supreme Court’s decision on Poe. A favorable ruling would re-energize her focus and funding. A DQ would leave her supporters up for grabs if she was to go neutral on an endorsement.

The Duterte campaign could use Poe’s support. With the clock running down, he seemingly lacks the money, widespread national name recall and the ground forces for the final push.

Mar has to think out of the box to win. He must take unaccustomed risks on his messaging. He needs at least a 3-5 point jump in his numbers to become competitive. This would then allow the powers of the incumbent to put him over the top.

Binay is fighting for his and his family’s personal and political life. He has to go all in. The strategy is to encourage the bickering among his opponents, stay under the corruption radar, stick close to the front and use his considerable abilities, money and organization at the final stretch. Right now he is on plan.