With the death of Con-Ass and its accompanying emergency rule scenario, things have gone back to normal–“normal electoral politics” that is. The 2010 elections tightens its grip on the whole political landscape.
However, there are interesting twists. Most of these were brought about by the re-manifesting of people power during the wake and funeral of former president Cory Aquino. Some were brought about by the rapid process of disintegration of the lameduck Arroyo administration. Still, others were influenced by the surprising strength of former president Joseph “Erap” Estrada in the presidential surveys.
The most interesting is the catapulting of the Aquino political heir, Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, to the electoral limelight. He is now being buffeted by pressures from all sides–not necessarily friendly–to seriously take a stab at the vice-presidency, even the presidency itself. If this materializes, the political shock would reverberate across the whole presidentiable and vice-presidentiable landscape. It would redraw it as the previous alignments adjust to accommodate his entry.
Along with this, the Aquino endorsement has become the most sought-after political commodity, not only to possibly win in the 2010 elections but even to try to obviate the paralyzing unpopularity of the Arroyo administration. All roads, right now, lead to the Manila Memorial Park.
The lameduck Arroyo presidency has led to the disintegration of her ruling coalition. Initial signs can already be seen in the refusal of former president Fidel Ramos from assuming the position of Chairman Emeritus of the Arroyo-engineered Lakas-Kampi-CMD coalition party, the resignation of NEDA director-general Ralph Recto and Optical Media Board Edu Manzano who are already preparing their respective political plans. The absences in the Cabinet meetings and the difficulty of mustering a quorum in the House of Representatives also reinforces the sense of essential helplessness to command events in Malacañang.
The entry of more religious leaders into the presidential derby as well as in local elections mirrors the sorties of former generals and colonels along the same path earlier. There is also action in the party-list elections as more than 250 new party-list groups swamped the Commission on Elections to insist on their inclusion in the party list system.
The failure to develop a genuine political party system in time for it dooms the 2010 elections to a continuance of the political circus that it was in the past. Traditional politicians vie with popular movie, TV or sports figures, religious leaders, generals, and whoever else who thinks he or she has the money, influence, fame, organization, or the sheer gall to win an elective position.
Welcome to the 2010 national and local elections.