As the five days allotted by the Commission on Elections for politicians to file their respective certificate of candidates lapsed yesterday, we now know who the senatorial candidates are for the two major coalitions competing in next year’s polls.
Liberal Party-Nacionalista Party-Nationalist People’s Coalition
Angara, Juan Edgardo
Aquino, Paolo Benigno “Bam” IV
Cayetano, Alan Peter
Magsaysay, Ramon Jr.
Pimentel, Aquilino “Koko” III
Trillanes, Antonio IV
United Nationalist Alliance (UNA)
Cojuangco, Margarita “Tingting”
Enrile, Juan Castaner “Jack”
Zubiri, Juan Miguel
(*-candidates running in both tickets)
Also running for senator are 2010 presidential candidate JC Delos Reyes of Ang Kapatiran, Bayan Muna Rep. Teodoro Casino (for MAKABAYAN Coalition), and longtime Puerto Princesa, Palawan Mayor Edward Hagedorn. The Liberal Party coalition is led President Benigno Aquino III while UNA is identified with former President Joseph Estrada and Vice President Jejomar Binay.
This early, many are already speculating that the 2013 midterm polls will be a preview of a potential presidential race between Binay and newly-appointed Interior and Local Government Sec. Mar Roxas come 2016. Curiously, many frequently mentioned potential senatorial candidates canceled their bids just weeks or days before the filing of candidacy. These include Joel Villanueva (who will stay as director-general of TESDA) and Quezon Rep. Erin Tanada for the Liberal Party and Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia and businessman Joey de Venecia for UNA.
The coming 2013 polls features “pukeworthy” alliances like the ones forged between 2010 presidential rivals Aquino, Manuel Villar, and Madrigal on the Liberal side and the one between Estrada and Gordon for UNA. This alliance of convenience is not likely to last beyond the 2013 elections. In 2007, Aquino and Villar ran together under the Genuine Opposition senatorial ticket – with the blessings of Estrada. Three years later, all three ran for president.
It is important to point out that for the 2013 senatorial elections, there seems to be no real opposition party. In 2007, opponents of then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo banded together under the Genuine Opposition banner. UNA, the coalition that positions itself as the chief challenger to LP’s dominance, isn’t really an opposition party.
In fact, Aquino stayed at Estrada’s 75th birthday bash last April for four hours, with the latter eventually volunteering himself to be the president’s love counselor. More tellingly, Jose “Peping” Cojuangco, the president’s maternal uncle, is the vice president of UNA (Tingting Cojuangco is his wife). Is there really an opposition party, then?