Former president Fidel V. Ramos was noticeably absent in the Manila Hotel affair of the Lakas-Kampi-CMD merger. Later, he would tell the press that he has reservations about the merger. After a delegation of the new party’s officials talked to him and tried to clarify points reportedly over a bottle of Hennesy cognac, Malacañang announced that Ramos will support the new party.
Ramos did not contradict the announcement but also announced his own openness to talk to the opposition. In doing so, he therefore indirectly laid bare his own lingering reservations and intimated that more events need to happen to convince him to be fully with the new party.
What these events are are anybody’s guess. However, it is evident that these would touch on the imperative of the new party having a presidential candidate with serious chances of winning.
In the current scheme of things, Vice-President Noli de Castro is still the most viable candidate (though in the last Pulse Asia survey, Roxas, Escudero, and Villar are catching up with him). He is also the only one that may be said to be identified with the administration.
However, his presidential candidacy under the Lakas-Kampi-CMD auspices maybe severely hampered by the close association and endorsement of an unpopular president. Like Ramos, he is ambivalent about the new party.
It is interesting how FVR (and other like-minded officials in the new party) deal with de Castro’s conundrum. The time is running out on their options. If there is no viable candidate in the next month or so, it is goodby merger and welcome to other presidentiables.