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A Dead Heat In The 2010 Presidential Derby As Filipinos Itch For the End Of The Arroyo Presidency

February 3, 2010

Filipinos are counting down the days to May, the simultaneos national and local elections signalling the end of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s controversy-pockmarked stay in office.

It’s really been quite a ride for GMA who first served the remainder of the abbreviated term of President Erap Estrada.

Gloria loves to tell the story about how she ‘prepared’  for Estrada’s so-called “constructive resignation in huh-hush meetings in a plush business hotel in the Ortigas/Mandaluyong areas as crowds were gathering for what history records at EDSA People Power  2.0.

That power grab saw the military withdrawing its support while Arroyo and her operators undertook vigorous arm-twisting leading up to her hurried oath-taking at the EDSA People Power church before then Chief Justice Hilario Davide, Jr.

Now nearly a decade after, a broad majority of the populace are focused both on finding a President who’ll most assuredly be the anti thesis of GMA.
While the presidential aspirants are running for office, Filipinos are itching to see Gloria Macapagal Arroyo leave Malacanang..

So it’s not surprising at all that the ‘presidentiables’ are not just kissing babies but proclaiming that they won’t steal, that their experience “swimming in garbage” fuels resolve to end poverty, and that they’ll make sure the wheels of justice will make Gloria account fore her ‘sins’, AFTER DUE PROCESS.

The official start of the 90-day campaign period is several days away (February 9) and not surprisingly the top opinion poll firms, Social Weather Stations and Pulse Asia have just release their pre-election dipstick data.

They’re as eye-popping as they are instructive:

Senator Noynoy Aquino, the only son of heroes Ninoy and Cory Aquino, has seen his huge lead early in the surveys eaten up by Senator Manny Villar.

Pulse Asia is, in fact, now reporting that the two men are running neck and neck.

According to the Nielsen media research grou[p, Manny Villar spent P543 million from October to December 2009 in political ads .

Villar, the billionaire that he is, is the ONLY NON-COMPANY top 15 of ad spenders for that period.

Villar and Aquino are practically at each others’ throats with the mudslinging turning even the Philippine Senate from an august hall into a den of indecorous name callers well schooled in the dubious ‘art’ of staging walkouts and cracking sick sexual jokes.

I’d have wanted to be gung ho for Senator Aquino.

But his failure, if not refusal, to address and resolve the Hacienda Luisita massacre, the unsettled claims of its remaining tenant farmers, plus the questions regarding Subic-Clark Expressway dampens my enthusiasm and puts his vow of championing social justice in doubt

Villar is, in turn, seen as the ideological and political clone of GMA.

Simplifying the snapshot:

I think the emerging strategies at play are:

‘Necro-politics’ for Noynoy, and I’m-the-poor-boy-from-Tondo-now-the-underdog-from-the-C5-smear-job stunt for Villar.

Who could have been an alternative?

Some insist its former defense secretary Gilbert ‘Galing-at-Talino’ Teodoro.

(Photo by Newsbreak

But few are swayed by his glowing curriculum vitae.

It’s the kiss-of-death-anointment from his exiting boss that prevents any i improvement  in his popularity among voters beyond the bejewelled and the impressionable  youngsters from exclusive schools.

That former president Erap Estrada trails Aquino and Villar is a clear sign that not a few Filipinos are willing to give him a second chance.

As the campaign wears on I wouldn’t be surprised if the current two-man presidential derby even becomes a three-cornered fight as Filipinos go to the voting centers.

1st Update:

Minutes ago the Senate adjourned sine die until it re-convenes in May together with the Housec of Reoresentatives as the National Board of Canvassers on the results of the May 10 elections.

Sine die is Latin for “without day,”) referring to the legislative practice of going on a break without assigning a resumption for an important assigned function.

The body is actually set to reconvene on May the 13th, three days after the polls to begin receriving the reports from the COMELEC.

The Senate meeting this afternoon saw the allies of DSenator Villar boycotting the session which was intended for the final vote on the report f the Committee Of Tthe Wholec that cites Villar for his alleged unethical conflict of interest in the C-5 road extension projectw.

Evidence presented during the long drawn out ethics probe had revealed how Villar supposedly initiated the project so it would pass through 24 subdivisions he owned in Las Pinas City.

The maneuver reportedly resulted in his realty firms raking in windfalls from right of way payments. The resulting uptick in zonal land values also boosted Villars coffers, the probe found.

Those who boycotted today’s session were called “weasels” by their colleagues while Villar’s spokesman said the action “is only a politically motivated smear job by the committee of the half,” a derisive tag for the Senators allied with Senator Noynoy Aquino.

This is the level to which the Senate descended

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