Both the opposition and the administration are fragmented for the simple reason that their oligarch supporters and political kingmakers decided to each go on their own. In the case of the Opposition, two horses are being run; Leni Robredo and Isko Moreno Domagoso. In the case of the administration, President Rodrigo Duterte wanted Inday Sara “Daughterte” to run but she wouldn’t if not on her own terms. By Daighterte’s terms, this means no Davao Origs running her campaign and not under the PDP-Laban party.
There were reports last Friday that a compromise had been reached and Jun Evasco would file a certificate of candidacy (COC) on her behalf but something happened which made her back out with finality. Whatever it is, PDP-Laban had to file so Senator Bato dela Rosa was the designated substitute. The National Unity Party (NUP) has gone for the Ping Lacson – Tito Sotto while Lakas and the Nacionalistas continue to be silent about who they’re supporting for President. Bongbong Marcos (BBM) has filed under Partido Federal — not even with Nacionalista nor the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL). He remains isolated because he doesn’t really have a party membership base. What he does have is close advisers of his father who are still alive. These would be Titong Mendoza, Juan Ponce Enrile and Lolong Lazaro.
The kingmaker who has been silent the whole time is former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA). She didn’t even bother to file her COC personally. She had meetings with both Daughterte and Marcos but she hasn’t made any public statement about who she’s backing for President. This makes for a very fluid political environment. GMA has her lieutenants spread out over three major political parties; Lakas, PDP-Laban and NUP.
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In the meantime, the political party which has been orphaned by the death of its Chairman Emeritus Eduardo Cojuangco Jr. has emerged as the most serious challenger to the administration. Senate President Tito Sotto has been able to cobble together a powerhouse coalition with Reporma and the NUP. Between Sotto and Congressman Bebot Alvarez, they have access to a national network of Congressmen and local government unit (LGU) heads whom they can tap to strengthen their ground machinery. In fact, the NPC-Reporma-NUP combine is the most organized coalition when compared to the administration and the opposition.
Sotto divulged the other day in an Inquirer interview that Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, Kris Aquino and Bam Aquino all begged off as Robredo’s VP candidate. This was to dispel reports that there were negotiations for Sen. Ping Lacson to slide down as VP or run for reelection as Senator instead to accomodate Vice-President Leni Robredo’s request for a unified slate. Sotto reiterated to the Inquirer that the Lacson-Sotto ticket is cast in stone no matter who else runs for President and Vice-President.
What is ironic now in this election cycle is the fact that a coalition which is neither pro-Opposition nor pro-Administration, is actually the best organized and is in a strong position to challenge both the administration and Opposition candidates for the 2022 election. By November 15, the political picture should be clearer but both the opposition and the administration will have a lot of catching up to do with NPC-Reporma-NUP which has laid the groundwork for their campaign towards victory on May 9, 2022.
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