A crowded presidential derby


FAIR COMMENT | Alito L. Malinao

Now that Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio has expressed her desire to run for president, we can expect a crowded presidential election next year.

Aside from Mayor Sara, who prefers to be called ‘Inday Sara,” we have four other would-be contenders for the highest post in the county. Vice President Leni Robredo, although she is toying the idea of running for a local post, may be convinced by the bigwigs of the Liberal Party to run for president.

With the full backing of the LP, with its political machinery up to the barangay level still intact, plus her immaculate public image, Robredo can still be viable candidate.

Although in the latest survey of Pulse Asia, Robredo got only 7 percent, the lowest in the presidentiables topped by Mayor Sara with 27 percent, she could still improve her chances. But she has to change her style by being more assertive in expressing her views on national issues.

Robredo should not bank on any support from the so-called 1Sambayan which is an ephemeral group with no agenda or vision of governance except its hatred of President Duterte.

Then we have Senator Richard Gordon who has already formed his own movement cry called “Galawang Dick” and slogan “Tatayo para sa inyo.”

There is also the tandem of Senator Panfilo Lacson and Senate President Vicente Sotto III, that is now holding “consultations” with various groups and discernment from the Church. Obviously, since Sotto is the chairman of the Nationalist People’s Coalition, he and Lacson would run under the NPC banner.

Some are wondering why Sotto opted to be Lacson’s vice president which should have been other way around because as Senate president, Sotto is senior to Lacson, at least in politics. Sotto is also chairman of NPC while Lacson as an independent is not affiliated with any party.

Sotto would soon graduate from the Senate so he has to win in next year’s polls otherwise he has to return to “Eat Bulaga.” On the other hand, Lacson has still one term as senator and would top the senatorial winners if he runs for reelection. If he loses in his presidential bid, he said he would retire from politics.

Sara-Pacquiao tandem

If Senator Manny Pacquiao will be convinced to run as Sara’s vice president, it will be a formidable, if not an unbeatable, team. Manny is only 42 and if he runs in the election of 2028, he will be only 48.

But if both Sara and Manny will run, it will divide the humongous Cebuano-speaking bloc since both are Cebuanos. If this happens, there is a big chance for the opposition to win if it can field a single candidate for president.

Both Mayor Sara and Manny should learn from the lessons of the 2016 elections. In that election had the LP been able to convince Senator Grace Poe to run as vice presidential candidate of Mar Roxas Duterte would not have been catapulted to national prominence.

In the 2016 election, Roxas got 9,978,175 votes, Poe 9,100,991 votes, and Duterte 16,601,993 votes. The combined votes of Roxas and Poe is 19,079,166, or 2,477,173 over that of Duterte.

Poe was only on his second year as senator but she decided to run for president. Had she opted to team up with Roxas, the fate of this country would have been different, either better or worse.

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