Posted at 01/21/2013 9:19 AM

It is difficult to make predictions, especially about the future” – Niels Bohr


It is said the future is made up of “known unknowns” and ‘unknown unknowns”. The former refers to things we know will occur but whose outcome is uncertain e.g. the results of a scheduled basketball game or whether a Presidential date will lead to anything. “Unknown unknowns” are unpredictable events like the 2011 Japan earthquake or the 2008 financial crisis. “Unknown unknowns” are sometimes also called Black Swans.

There are a number of “known unknowns” in 2013, the principal one being the May elections. Many positions are up for grabs but the bellwether is the 12 Senate seats being contested by the Liberal Party and UNA. Based on the polls the UNA candidates are ahead which is counter-intuitive given the popularity of the President. Possible reasons for the poor showing of the LP line-up are (a) the UNA has the more recognized names (b) UNA collectively has in Binay, Erap and Enrile the heavier sponsors (c) the LP machinery, despite its pre-eminence, is not minding the store (d) the masses are not sharing in the country’s prosperity (e) the electorate has fallen asleep and (f) all of the above.

If the polls are right, the UNA will control the Senate and be the Opposition Party of record. The UNA is smart enough not to mess with P-Noy but it will increasingly rattle the cage making it more difficult for the President to implement -and keep- his reform agenda. Its Senate beachhead will also enable UNA to put its people and machinery in place for 2016.

Another “known unknown” is Jojo Binay will come out of the closet in 2013. So far he has been happy to draft behind the President in hope of a future endorsement. However, whether because he has not been asked to double-date or the Kris/Jun-Jun thing is not happening or something else, he now realizes he will not be on the short list –nor even the long list- for the Presidential nod in 2016. He has therefore decided to decouple from his boss and personally take care of business. He has said UNA will be “supportive but constructive” which in political parlance means nothing like what you and I think.

The President and his party have three short years to present their line of succession. If the unremarkable showing of the LP Senate slate is any indication the prospects do not look promising.

Elsewhere, 2013 should be mixed.