The December 1 deadline for filing of candidacy is barely three weeks away. Yet, there is still a scrambling for vice-presidency and the senatorial slate among the presidential-led electoral coalitions. Even the composition of coalitions is in the state of flux.
Of course, the root of this current state of disarray is the entry of Noynoy Aquino into the presidential fray as the runaway “winnable”. He has rapidly evolved as the overpowering threat to the chances of all other presidential wannabees.
Already burdened by a lameduck status, the Lakas-Kampi ruling coalition grows desperate to complete its national candidate slate and raise the rating level of its standardbearer, Secretary Gibo Teodoro. However, time is catching up, with the start of open exodus of key members to either LP or NP. Soon–the floodgates having opened–it will become a deluge.
The experience of past ruling coalitions comes to mind: the Mitra-led coalition in the 1992 elections, and the de Venecia-led ruling coalition in the 1998 elections. In both cases, the trumpeted numbers, funds, and organization simply dissipated in face of an opposition-bent electorate.
2004 elections was different in that the incumbent president ran for reelection. However, even Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo suffered the ignominy of a close, controversial contest, the subsequent crisis of the presidency, and the dubious record of being the most unpopular president ever.
The kiss of death that is the identification with and endorsement of GMA has kept Secretary Teodoro’s survey ratings in the cellar. The decision of the senior leaders of the Lakas-Kampi coalition, including the President, and giving Gibo a free hand in selection his leaders and his candidate slate is a desperate maneuver that is already too late. What it essentially did was to free the hands of GMA, Ermita and the others who resigned for their own negotiations with the remaining presidentiables with serious chances of winning. At this time, this is only Noynoy Aquino and Manny Villar.
The incumbent power that is the Arroyo administration expectedly has become the lightning rod for all the perceived problems of the electorate. Both the leading contenders also expectedly project their opposition credentials. However, the parameters of the 2010 elections has already been laid down–it is between the candidate of the status quo and the candidate of change. The administration, of course, represents the status quo; who represents change?