The picture at the presidential and vice-presidential contest level is now clearer. The top contenders for the posts are the tandem of Noynoy Aquino-Mar Roxas under the LP banner against the tandem of Manny Villar-Loren Legarda. The other candidates are simply to far away at this time to present a serious challenge to both tandems.
In the latest Pulse Asia survey from October 20-30, 2009, The former leads the latter in both contests with Aquino (44%) winning over Villar (19%) and Roxas (37%) winning over Legarda (23%). Aquino’s lead is almost insurmountable and it will take a massive effort just to be within hitting distance when the formal campaign starts in February 2010. Legarda also has her work cut out to maintain a credible challenge to Roxas.
At first glance, there seems to be the revival of the two-party system of the 1960’s pre-martial law period. This is not supported by the events. Rather, LP and NP are both vehicles of the principal candidates and mainly used for political negotiations both at the national and local levels. The senatorial choices announced so far by the two camps reflect the same hodgepodge of “guest candidates” borne out of these negotiations.
Aquino’s constituency far outstrips the Liberal Party constituency even as Mar has his own negotiated vote base that straddles not only LP but other parties as well. When Legarda touted an NP-NPC alliance behind her team-up with Villar, it covers only those NPS members aligned with her and does not reflect an actual unified party decision.
No, there is no revival but a twist on the traditional politics where the convenient fiction of a coalition is dispensed with in favor of the party acting as an umbrella for “guest” candidates.