A little over a month from now, the deadline for filing of a presidential candidacy is here. However, only a few days remain for forging a serious presidential-vice-presidential tandem. The Noynoy Aquino-Mar Roxas tandem (Liberal Party) and the Erap Estrada-Jojo Binay tandem (United Opposition) have already announced their decision. Manny Villar–standing as the strongest contender after Noynoy–is due to announce his vice-presidential running mate anytime soon. Gibo Teodoro will probably pick his own in the next few days.
Chiz Escudero–with his various postponements of the announcement of his own presidential candidacy–is now perceived to be in danger of being forced to drop it altogether. The announcement of his NPC partymate and perceived vice-presidential running mate Loren Legarda that she is making herself available as a vice-presidential candidate to other presidentiables fueled speculations of an imminent retreat. Likewise, there is the question of whether or not NPC padrone Danding Cojuangco and the business sector identified with him are forthcoming with the huge funds he needs.
The more probable decision will be either to target the vice-presidential candidate post under Manny Villar or to do nothing (Chiz still has three years as a senator). A decision to continue his presidential bid will risk losing steam early in the campaign. Worse, it may lead to accusation of playing a spoiler role to the front-running candidacies.
Gibo has a different problem. He has not yet demonstrated his capacity to make dramatic moves in support of his floor-level popularity. The series of recent typhoons have not treated his presidential bid kindly but instead may have hurt him more. His direction of the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) is perceived to be indecisive and prone to kibitzing by his fellows in the Cabinet and incumbent candidates who are afflicted with ADS (Attention-Deficit Syndrome). If his candidacy does not take off, he may also be forced to let go of it.
Erap may have already made his miting de avance but this does not ensure that he can go the distance. He is relatively low in finances, political base, and even in the surveys for a toe-to-toe fight. With the constitutional and legal questions hanging like a sword of Damocles over his candidacy, he may choose to parlay whatever his current strength for concessions from the frontrunners.
Vice-President Noli de Castro was an early drop-out in the race, but he has his own possibilities for a run at vice-presidency. However, his perceived pro-administration credentials can only hamper his principal. The latter will have to gamble if he becomes the vice-presidential bet.
The advent of a Noynoy populist candidacy has cast a cruel shadow on all the other candidacies. Suddenly, the field has narrowed to such a point that–aside from Noynoy–it can only accommodate one other, or at most, two candidacies with any hope of a victory. The latter is premised, of course, on chipping away at Noynoy’s current commanding lead in the surveys and doing their homework on the ground.