By Dr. Dante A. Ang | The Manila Times
MALACAÑANG has recently released the names of the administration's bets for the May 2022 presidential election, namely: Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, Manila Mayor Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso, Sen. Emmanuel "Manny" Pacquiao, Sen. Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go and former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to pick his choice from the list of five anytime soon.
MAYOR SARA DUTERTE-CARPIO
The PDP-LABAN, and if you believe the press release of the pro-Duterte group, five other political parties will support Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio for President. Mayor Sara has publicly remained "non-committal" up to this writing. She has kept her cards close to her chest, fueling speculations that like her father, she will file her candidacy at the last minute.
She will be a formidable opponent. She has the Mindanao votes, popularity, political machinery, money, and President Duterte who remains very popular at this time whose endorsement could spell the difference between victory and defeat.
Then again, she doesn't need her father's endorsement. A Mayor Sara run is tantamount to a Presidential anointment.
She remains the top choice for President in survey after survey.
MAYOR FRANCISCO 'ISKO MORENO' DOMAGOSO
The same is true for Mayor Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso. There are speculations he is running for President in next year's elections, but he has not said a word. There is absolutely nothing in his pronouncements, or public engagements, or demeanor that would indicate he has decided to go for the jugular and throw his hat into the presidential derby. When asked of his plans, his "Mona Lisa" smile only reinforces people's suspicions that Moreno would be running for President in the next election.
Moreno too would be a very strong presidential contender. He has charisma, and is very popular among the youth. He has a record performance as Manila mayor he could be proud of. People can easily relate to him. He is humble, thoughtful, and sober. He doesn't engage in double-speak. His parents hail from the Visayas. His father is an Ilonggo and his mother a Waray; a powerful demographic combination.
He has a powerful, compelling story to tell. His rise to fame and fortune from a pushcart vendor to a movie star, to Mayor of Manila is stuff most people could only dream of.
SEN. CHRISTOPHER LAWRENCE 'BONG' GO
Sen. Go is a performer, a doer. He has an excellent work ethic. Above all, he has not forgotten his campaign promise to reach out to the poor, the sick, the needy. He goes around the country, visits distressed families, and distributes aid. In the short months since he was elected as senator, he has earned a reputation as a "Go-to-guy." He extends assistance to anybody who goes to him for help with no strings attached. He has built his own core of supporters nationwide.
He will be a formidable presidential candidate should he decide to run for President. But he has said several times he is not interested in running for a higher office.
SEN. FERDINAND 'BONGBONG' MARCOS JR.
The name Marcos remains a byword despite the negatives thrown at him and his family all these years. In previous surveys, Marcos still registered in the top 3 or 4. Clearly, the Ilocanos have not deserted the Marcoses. In the cities and urban centers, and especially among the youth, Bongbong is the preferred candidate for President.
Like it or not, the achievements of the late President Ferdinand Marcos still resonate; i.e., the Philippine Heart Center, Lung Center, the Kidney Institute, Cultural Center, PICC, and the robust economy (particularly during the early part of his reign), to mention a few.
Bongbong's achievements as a governor of Ilocos Norte and senator are well-known. In survey after survey, his "Windmill" project providing electricity in Ilocos is still clearly etched in people's consciousness and fondly remembered by the Ilocanos.
He too, will be a force to reckon with should he run for President.
VICE PRESIDENT MARIA LEONOR 'LENI' ROBREDO
Surely, all five are winnable. But let's not forget the opposition. Vice President Leni Robredo could still be a formidable candidate in the May elections. If the administration breaks into several factions, and if Robredo succeeds in unifying the opposition, chances are she will give the administration bet a run for his or her money.
Ok, ok. Admittedly, Robredo has not distinguished herself while in office. She has rated poorly in past surveys. She has not projected herself and her being Vice President well. Her communications are what I call an example of what communications should not be.
Despite that, I will not count her out. It is yet too early in the game. Anything could still happen. What she does between now and October will determine her fate and that of the opposition. The success or failure of the opposition rests solely on her shoulders, being the second highest elected official of the land. Will she seize the moment?
QUESTIONS, QUESTIONS, QUESTIONS
Will the administration splinter if Mayor Sara is picked as its standard bearer for the May 2022 presidential election? Rejected, what will Pacquiao do? Will he quit PDP-Laban and run on his own, or join the opposition? Or would he run for reelection under PDP-Laban or under the opposition?
What will Moreno do? Will he make a run for the presidency under the NPC or NP or the United Opposition? Or run for reelection in Manila? Can the combined charisma of Robredo, Pacquiao and Moreno unite the opposition and rally behind a single candidate?
What about Bongbong? Will he run under the Nacionalista Party against Mayor Sara and the candidate of a united opposition? Or will Bongbong take the path of "least resistance" and join Mayor Sara fulfilling the prediction by some pundits that he will eventually withdraw from the presidential race and run as Sara's Vice President.
INDAY SARA WILL RUN
It is highly likely Mayor Sara will run, whether or not she was picked by President Duterte as the administration's standard bearer for the May 2022 elections. She is already too deep in the preparation for the May 2022 elections, and her momentum is far too advanced such that it would take a miracle for her and her supporters to withdraw from the race at this time.
ONLY 2 CANDIDATES FOR 2022 ELECTIONS
Looking into my crystal ball, I see a two-way presidential fight in the May 2022 election between the Administration candidate and a United Opposition bet.