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Crunch time

With 16 days before the deadline for the filing of certificates of candidacy, leaders who would be presidents, vice presidents, or other elective offices are now in a frenzy.  Alliances are being forged and combinations discussed with intensity.

As we go to press, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano just announced in Davao City that he is running for vice president in the forthcoming elections.  Why he chose Davao as venue for his announcement gave rise to speculations that he is teaming up with its city mayor, Rodrigo Duterte.

Wednesday last week,  he was in the palace and spoke to President Aquino, where, per a radio interview of the young senator, he spoke about his intention to go for Numero Dos.  Before that, both the Senate President and the Speaker publicly endorsed him as an ideal VP teammate of the ruling party’s Mar Roxas.  But it seems both the presidential candidate and El PNoy was rather cold to the idea. 

Not that Alan himself was applying for the post.  But in an effort to keep the administration coalition intact for the coming contest, Alan’s name was bruited about as a fit for Mar, now that Senator Grace has publicly scorned their entreaties for her to team up with their standard bearer.  But similarly, parallel efforts were being publicly exerted to convince the one-term congresswoman from Camarines Sur, Leni Robredo, to be Mar’s partner.

Why the LP and their spokespersons discuss in public their options and the “courtship” that goes with their selection, is beyond me.  To paraphrase VP Binay, it looks like there really is a dearth of sensitivity within the ruling party’s leadership.  In order to project strength, they parade their options, as if sila ang hinahabol ng lahat.

So Alan declared his run, beating the LP to the draw.  The ruling party first announced they would announce their VP and senatorial candidates today, the last day of September.  But yesterday afternoon, they announced that today their National Executive Council, or whatever appellation they have for it,  would only meet today, and announcements will be made by Oct. 5.

Is Leni not yet “in the bag”?  Are her children steadfast in their objection to her being drafted to the “big time” for which she publicly in very humble demeanor said she is not prepared?  Will a PNoy “pakiusap” change Leni’s mind and soften her children’s hearts?

Meanwhile, Digong Duterte is still “soul-searching” whether or not to run for the top post.  As Cayetano himself described it, “there is a genuine people’s clamor for Duterte.”  And the tale of the surveys seems to confirm that, for despite repeated disavowals of ambition and intent, Duterte’s numbers have been steady instead of an expected decline.

Meanwhile too, last year’s frontrunner, VP Jojo, is having problems looking for a vice presidential candidate.  Senator  Bongbong Marcos, whom he is publicly courting, is also uncertain.  And Senator Greg Honasan has publicly declined the offer as well, although insiders in the UNA say it’s only a matter of time.  Similarly, beyond a few relatively undistinguished names, there seem to be little takers for a senatorial slot in the UNA ticket.

The only certain ticket is Grace y su Queso, but the whole candidacy may be suddenly upset by an adverse decision in the Senate Electoral Tribunal. 

Meanwhile, the traditional flags of convenience, NPC and NUP, have been sizing up the presidential candidates in several meetings.  In the case of the latter, which is the temporary “shelter” of former Lakas politicians associated with the former president,  who to hitch their wagons onto went through a day of “consultations” with VP Jojo and Mar, as well as Bongbong of the Nacionalista party.  One NUP official was quite open about their conditions for support:  “It’s not their platforms; it’s what they have to offer our party leaders and members.”

In short, what’s in it for us.

Crunch time.  And there are just two weeks left.

This space maintains what we have been stating since May:  it’s going to be a four-way fight for the presidency, excluding of course the “also-rans.”  But there could be five or six vice presidential candidates.  Now what happens when the unexpected happens, such as when the SET or beyond that, the Comelec decides negatively about the citizenship and residency requirements of the so-called front-runner, would be the discombobulating factor.

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