Loren, Chiz firm up tandem

Pairings for president, vice president for 2010 getting clearer

By Efren L. Danao, Senior Reporter
The Manila Times
www.manilatimes.net

***

I told you so (pls refer to my earlier blog entries). I gazed into my pink crystal ball and, in the last three months, wrote in my blog my fearless forecasts for the 2010 presidential and vp candidates, to wit:

Lakas-Kampi: Noli de Castro for President and Bong Revilla for VP

(because Noli is the only strong candidate of Lakas-Kampi, the others just think they are strong. And because Bong wants it, his lieutenants have been doing the rounds, he has two TV shows, and he is a real, true-blue Lakas member)

Liberal Party: Mar Roxas II for President and Noynoy Aquino for VP

(because Kris Aquino would run as senator and the quid pro quo might be Noynoy getting the VP candidacy. Do not underestimate Kris -- she will run away with the top slot in the senatorial race, by a landslide! So Korina will raise one hand of Mar, and the other will be raised by Kris.)

Nacionalista Party: Manny Villar for President and Jinggoy Estrada for VP

(because they will focus on a pro-poor, mass-based, grassroots-oriented campaign strategy knowing, correctly, that this is a country where the poor voters vote strongest)

LDP (separate wing): Ping Lacson for President and Jamby Madrigal for VP.

(simply because they want to run. Wala na akong madagdag pa.)

But I would like to disagree with Mr. Danao's reportage that if elections were held today, Chiz would win as VP. I think Jinggoy would win, borne by the popularity of his father Erap, whose base of support stands at a solid 30 percent -- at least. Chiz would be second.

And who would win for President? If elections were held today, on this very day?

Loren would have a slight edge (maybe 3 percent) over Noli and Mar. But as the survey firms would put it, the margin of error (plus/minus 3 percent) is so small that they are, alas and alack, in a virtual TIE.

I told you so. My middle name is Cassandra -- before KC Concepcion got it and used it as her trade name when she sings, that ghel.


***


Already the pairings for president and vice president are starting to come together, as a team-up between Senators Loren Legarda and Francis “Chiz” Escudero in 2010 appears to be firming up.

Both Legarda and Escudero have consistently ranked high in surveys on preferred presidential candidates. But Escudero hinted that should he run, it would be in tandem with Legarda and that they would never be rivals for the same position.

“If I were to choose a presidential candidate, it will be Loren. For whatever reason, Loren and I will always be together. In running, we won’t be apart,” he told The Manila Times.

Legarda had never acknowledged her interest in running for president, but she has already rejected any suggestion that she would run for vice president again.

“I already ran for vice president in 2004 and won,” said Legarda, who has never conceded defeat to Vice President Noli de Castro. She filed an election protest contesting the results.

Legarda and Escudero belong to the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), although at the Senate, Legarda is with the minority and Escudero, with the majority. Legarda was number one in 2007, having won the most number of votes among all the senatorial bets. Escudero was number two.

Escudero does not believe Joseph Estrada would run even if the former president has been saying that he would if the opposition fails to unite behind a single opposition candidate for the Palace. Escudero predicted that there would be no one-on-one contest between the opposition and the administration in the 2010 presidential election, “since no incumbent is running, and there is the question on who is really an opposition.”

Other bets, pairings

Among the expected presidential candidates are de Castro, Senate President Manuel Villar Jr. of the Nacionalista Party, Sen. Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd of the Liberal Party, Sen. Panfilo Lacson, and Legarda. Sen. Richard Gordon and Mayor Jejomar Binay of Makati have also shown keen interest in running.

Political pundits see a likely pairing between de Castro with either Senate Majority Leader Francis Pangilinan or Sen. Bong Revilla Jr.; Villar with either Senate President Pro-Tempore Jinggoy Estrada or Senate Majority Leader Francis Pangilinan; Roxas with Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino 3rd; and Lacson with Sen. Jamby Madrigal.

If the election were held today, Escudero would be the runaway winner for vice president based on his popularity in recent surveys, with Pangilinan a far second.

Escudero acknowledged that with so many likely tickets, the NPC might find it difficult to field a complete senatorial slate. However, he does not believe that this would affect the chances of the party in the 2010 election.

“Did FVR [former President Fidel V. Ramos] field a complete slate in 1992?” he asked. “Miriam, who may have won in 1992, did not have a complete slate. Speaker Ramon V. Mitra had a complete senatorial slate in 1992 and [so did] Speaker Jose de Venecia in 1998, but they both lost.”

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