LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – A local Liberal Party (LP) stalwart here disclosed the May 2016 presidential race will boil down to a one-on-one battle between the administration’s presumptive bet in Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel ‘Mar’ A. Roxas II and opposition candidate Vice President Jejomar C. Binay, Sr. of the United National Alliance (UNA) after all the current political intramurals among interested presidentiables.
Rep. Ronald M. Cosalan, chairman of the House committee on public works and a close ally of President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III, said the recent withdrawal of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, Manila City Mayor Joseph Estrada and the failure of Senator Grace Poe to make a conclusive decision on her future presidential plans shortened the presidential aspirants to only Roxas and Binay with the administration enjoying a significant advantage over the Binay camp.
“LP has an existing coalition with various political parties that are not fielding any presidential bet next year while UNA is a standalone party that is why the administration has a big advantage in next year’s presidential polls,” Cosalan stressed.
The Benguet lawmaker said the party will surely field Secretary Roxas for the country’s top political post and what is available for Senator Poe is the vice presidential post that is why she is being convinced by no less than the President to join the administration in order to bolster their chances of sealing the win for the two influential positions in the bureaucracy so that there will be continuity in the government’s transparent and accountable governance.
If the LP will not be able to complete its senatorial and local slates, Cosalan pointed out the party will maximize its coalition with the Nationalista Party (NP) of former Senator Manuel Villar, the Nationalist Peoples Coalition (NPC) of Ambassador Eduardo Danding Cojuangco, Jr., the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP) of former Senator Edgardo Angara and the Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino (PDP-Laban) of Senator Aquilino Pimentel IV in order to bolster the chances of administration candidates to dominate next year’s synchronized elections.
Cosalan cited it will be a difficult journey to win if candidates rely on the resources of a standalone party considering the enormous resources needed to bankroll and operationalize a massive presidential campaign over a 90-day period that is allowed under existing election laws that is why it is best to sustain coalition with other political parties even to the lowest elective post.
He opined that the presidential tossup between Roxas and Binay will be totally different from their first one-on-one battle for the vice presidential post in 2010 where the former Makati city Mayor emerged victorious with a slim margin of less than one million votes because both of them were able to show the leadership abilities while occupying different positions in the Aquino administration and the people were able to witness who had been performing well as well as who was the one who had been subjected to numerous negative issues over his leadership.
He asserted everyone with political ambitions are still jockeying for position in the administration and opposition parties that is why the remaining over three months before the filing of certificates of candidacy this second week of October will be very critical in determining the political alignments of politicians.