Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Senate Race So Far

The next four days is crucial for both the administration "Unity Ticket" and the "United Opposition" (UNO) as both parties are racing to fill up their respective senatorial slates. Last week, UNO bared its partial list of senatoriables, namely:

1. Koko Pimentel
2. Noynoy Aquino
3. Ping Lacson
4. Chiz Escudero
5. Allan Peter Cayetano
6. Loren Legarda
7. John Osmeña
8. JV Ejercito

I suspect that UNO bared its list this early to prevent their party from being "raided" by the administration. The four remaining slots are supposedly being reserved for the "Wednesday Group," the barkadahan of reelectionist senators composed of Manny Villar, Joker Arroyo, Ralph Recto and Kiko Pangilinan. But according to my former colleagues in the Senate, only Villar is sure of running under UNO. He reportedly had already given his word to the mag-ina in the Senate (Jinggoy-Loi Estrada) that he will run under the UNO ticket. If you will recall, Loi and Jinggoy were instrumental in installing him to the Senate Presidency and Villar is all too aware that he cannot renege on his word if he wants to continue enjoying the support of the pro-Estrada group in the Senate (read more here and here).

The scuttlebutt is that Joker Arroyo and Ralph Recto are going to run under the "Unity Ticket" while Kiko Pangilinan is inclined to run as an independent, probably confident after seeing that his survey ranking is quite high (no. 3 in the last Pulse Asia survey). The other members of the "Wednesday Group" are reportedly miffed at Maceda (the UNO campaign manager) for making too many demands on them (i.e. vote for GMA's impeachment, etc). So it seems that these two are more or less assured of being included in the UNO ticket:

9. Manny Villar
10. Sonia Roco

So far, I honestly have no idea on who will bag the last two slots in the UNO ticket. My guess is that it may be given to the "coup duo" Gringo Honasan (who is ranked no. 10 in the last Pulse Asia survey) and Antonio Trillanes. Since both are currently in jail, UNO can at least save some money on the campaign trail since they don't have to pay for the airfare and hotel accommodations of the two.

With regards to the "Unity Ticket," Speaker Jose de Venecia has announced that they will reveal their full slate on February 12, the last day of filing for senatorial hopefuls. So far, only two are confirmed to run:

1. Mike Defensor
2. Migs Zubiri

The following are more or less sure to run under the Unity Ticket:

3. Ed Angara
4. Tito Sotto
5. Tessie Aquino-Oreta
6. Joker Arroyo
7. Ralph Recto
8. Richard Gomez
9. Edu Manzano

As regards Gilbert Teodoro, his staff says his boss is definitely not running and that the slot reserved for Danding's NPC will be given to Tito Sotto and Tessie Oreta (they were sworn-in last week after they bolted LDP). It is truly ironic that Sotto and Oreta will most likely find themselves running in the "Unity Ticket" together with Ed Angara, their former boss at the LDP (hurray! ASO - as in Angara, Sotto, Oreta - lives again!). And we may even find Kit Tatad, who had a "much-publicized" tiff with UNO, included in the administration ticket. The other personalities being floated by Malacañang such as Butch Pichay, Lito Atienza, Francisco Duque, Cory Quirino, Vic Agbayani and Vic Magsaysay are adamant to run (despite the much-touted administration political machinery) because they lack nationwide name-recall and mainly because they know they will lose. Actor Cesar Montano, who is also being floated by the Palace, may be winnable (and may I say talented and well-accomplished enough for the Senate) but with Richard Gomez and Edu Manzano already in the slate, may be one actor too many already.

Since no one is talking about it anymore, it seems that the "Third Force" ticket is kaput. My guess is there's simply not enough money to finance a third slate. As it is, the UNO and "Unity Ticket" are already finding it hard to complete their line-ups. There seems to be a shortage of "desirable" individuals wanting to run for the Senate like well-respected academicians Winnie Monsod and Randy David for example. Even "Senate shoo-ins" like Korina Sanchez (she was no. 8 in the last Pulse Asia survey), Ruffy Biazon (no. 16) and Imee Marcos (no. 17) have all decided not to run (read the Pulse Asia survey last July 2006 here).

In the past several days I saw the "infomercials" of Manny Villar, Ed Angara, Mike Defensor and Migs Zubiri on TV (I liked Angara's the most). Much earlier, I watched Senator Ralph Recto's "Christmas" greetings and Kiko Pangilinan's Lucky Me ad. In the following days, I expect more political ads to hit the TV screens. The 2007 senatorial campaign will be fought over the airwaves and the candidate with the deepest pocket, the catchiest jingle and most memorable infomercial will most likely top the elections.

Thus is the senatorial race so far.


Anonymous said...

Noynoy Aquino is our favorite here in Europe.He'll finish his Dad's greatest dreams and ambitions for our country.

Anonymous said...

Ditto here in Kuwait, si Noynoy Aquino ang best bet namin for the senate. pati na rin sa probinsya namin sa Pinas, si Noynoy Aquino number one sa amin sampu ng mga kasamahan nya sa Genuine Opposition

Anonymous said...