As the presidential campaign intensifies, so do the terms of combat changes from moment to moment. The situation continues to develop along the one-on-one between Aquino and Villar, with Estrada and Teodoro mightily trying to break into the ring. The rest slowly realizes their cellar-dwelling positions, with some focusing already in meddling in the one-on-one contest of the two top contenders while some begins to make concession noises to perceived frontrunners.
Aquino and Villar have broadened the arena, including their own surveys, show of strengths (EDSA 1 anniversary events, concerts, sorties, mock polls), and preemptive issue positionings (Villar’s anti-corruption spiel, Aquino’s Hacienda Luisita distribution spiel, etc.) They also prepare the ground for possible electoral cheating scenarios.
The one issue that keeps coming back is the relationship of the presidential candidates to the current president. As cited by the Pulse Asia survey of January 22-26, 2010, 74% of the voters will not vote for the candidate of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. This has already disastrously hurt Gibo Teodoro’s campaign, despite his brave words to stand by his president.
Noynoy Aquino is proof against this issue since there is a widespread perception that GMA had done wrong with Cory Aquino and her family since the latter called for her resignation in the aftermath of the Garcillano scandal. The refusal of the Aquino family for a Cory state funeral underscored this perception.
On the other hand, the issue threatens Manny Villar’s own campaign if only because people tend to believe that GMA will need to get an agreement with the leading contenders and there are only two available (Teodoro is already discounted in this opinion). With Aquino out of the range of possibility, it leaves Villar highly vulnerable, particularly when seen from the perspective of his huge campaign expenditures.
Aquino is weak in the usual political promises department, even though he had anti-povertystaples in his platform (jobs, health, education). He has yet to connect with the poorest sections of the people from the E group. He is no match to Villar in making blatant promises–if only suggested–of housing, jobs, and prosperity for the poor.
The essential problem of his campaign is how to gain votes from the majority constituencies that are non-EDSA believers or ambivalent about EDSA I, the Cory Aquino administration, and even questions the reform agenda itself. The EDSA constituency is already his though it may erode if not continuously nourished.
As all their strategists know, elections are a numbers game eventually. where these numbers will come from on May 10 is their constant nightmare.