In the next two or three weeks, presidents-in-aspiration will turn into serious candidates or drop out of the presidential derby. The Comelec deadline of November 30, 2009 barely leaves enough room to decide, convince key supporters and build the campaign coalition. Additionally, they still have to finalize their vice-presidential running mates and firm up their senatorial slates.
Just when things were shaping up in accord with the conventional logic of trapo politics, two developments (or rather two more guests on the table) are shaking things up and threatening to upset the whole table. These are the sudden appearance (at least in the public imagination) up front and center in the presidential race of former president Joseph “Erap” Estrada and Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.
Erap showed up in a statistical tie with the erstwhile survey leader, Sen. Manny Villar. He then announced that he is “99.9 percent” sure of running.
Noynoy, on the other hand, had not shown any interest in the presidential or even vice-presidential race before and he still has three years to his senatorial seat. Inexorably, however, the death of his mother, Cory Aquino, and the consequent huge outpouring of public sympathy tantamount to a resurgent people power put him on the spotlight as an heir to the Aquino legacy. He suddenly found himself as a possible non-trapo alternative.
Any of the two candidacies tend to upset the entire current presidential contest. Erap, if he maintains or increases his survey standing, threatens to put the Supreme Court in a very awkward position and to dislocate the traditional candidacies relying primarily on popularity, money, or political base. Noynoy, if he so chooses to run, will be an unconventional candidate whose capacity to win cannot be measured in terms of popularity, money, or political base.
Their candidacies threaten the candidacies of both friends and potential foes. It is, in fact, in the realm of the possible that they end up running against each other.
There is no more time to tidily think things through. For all concerned, that crucial decision will have to be made in September. Hold your breath and make the wrong decision.