Yesterday, Senator Mar Roxas was elected by the Liberal Party National Executive Committee as the LP president. With the theme of “Oras Na,” the LP gathering signaled its intention to field a presidential candidate in the 2010 elections. To no one’s surprise, the name that kept coming up was Mar Roxas’ own.
With this move, the transition to the 2010 electoral scenario started unfolding. All are taking notice, not the least the other presidential hopefuls waiting in the wings. The Nacionalista Party’s own grand 100th anniversary is just around the corner and on everybody’s lips is the question of Senate President Manny Villar’s own announcement to throw his name into the ring.
While some may say that this is still a premature move–given the 2½ years still to go until the election day in May 2010–the LP move (and possibly, NP’s own) addresses the immediate danger to the presidential election. This is none other than the President’s pronouncements (and actual moves) for a preemptive charter change initiative. At this late in her term, this can only mean one thing–a political maneuver to extend her stay in power.
The LP move thus–in its own way–preempted Malacañang’s preemption. It has put squarely the charter change within the context of a term extension. It dares GMA to go ahead and risk a widespread resistance, possibly beyond last year’s opposition to Malacañang charter change.
It also puts the LP–and Mar Roxas–in the pole position in the presidential race. Other presidentiables are put to the challenge of surpassing media and public projections of yesterday’s events. The ruling coalition will find it harder to maintain the fragile cohesion of its components as some of of their members attended the LP meeting. The countdown has started for realignments and loyalty changes along the 2010 presidential elections.
This puts more pressure on GMA to finally decide on her narrowing options for political survival. The next few weeks will be more interesting than the last few months.