Roxas tops SWS Survey

Senator Mar Roxas topped the Third Quarter 2009 Social Weather Stations survey of vice-presidential preferences, scoring 40 percent. He was followed by Vice President Noli de Castro and Sen. Loren Legarda, who were tied at 23 percent. They were voted the first top three best leaders who should be vice president.

The survey on the vice presidential race showed volatility and closer competition than the presidential contest, which in the last two SWS surveys done in September, has appeared to solidify the lead of Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino, who first scored 50 percent and then 60 percent in the second survey.

The gap is narrower among vice-presidential contenders, although the Aquino-Roxas team is shaping up to be more stable and viable, compared with the nebulous composition of the other teams. The survey, which showed Roxas in the lead, was conducted on Sept. 18-21.

Since Roxas abandoned his presidential bid to make way for Aquino, the two rapidly consolidated their team-up. It became clear quickly they were natural and logical partners, mutually boosting each other.

This is not the case with the other presidential aspirants, most of whom are in search of a strong vice-presidential teammate to match the Aquino-Roxas tandem. While convicted (for plunder), former President Joseph Estrada has formally announced that he is standing for president and has chosen Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay as his running mate, the rest of the pack—Senators Manuel Villar and Francis Escudero and Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr.—are still in the dark about their running mate.

Legarda, who has declared herself available for the vice presidency after abandoning her quest for the presidency, is a much sought-after partner, although she is running behind Roxas in the latest SWS survey. She is reportedly being wooed by Villar, as well as by the administration’s presidential candidate, Gilbert Teodoro, and by Escudero. Although she is running second to Roxas in the latest SWS survey, Legarda is carefully weighing the chances of her suitors, all of whom are being swept aside by the tide that has carried Aquino to the lead in the surveys.

Legarda can derive comfort from the fact that under the multiparty system that emerged from the overthrow of the Marcos dictatorship, popular vice-presidential candidates can win more votes than presidential candidates. For example, Joseph Estrada, who ran for vice president in the 1992 election, polled more votes than Fidel Ramos, who was elected president with 24 percent of the vote. Estrada polled 7 million votes. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was elected vice president in the 1998 election with 13 million votes. Estrada was elected president in 1998 with 11 million votes. If Legarda wins the vice-presidential race while her presidential partner loses, she could emerge as a power center on her own right.

Legarda’s problem is that she’s running on the ticket of the Nationalist People’s Coalition, which is also the party of Escudero, and it is not clear whether NPC is an opposition party. Legarda cannot therefore be identified as on the opposition side, although she criticizes at times the Arroyo administration.

Aside from the Aquino-Roxas tandem, the rest of the crowd are operating on the strength or weakness of the standard bearer.

Since the Philippine Commonwealth in 1935, with the two-party system, parties elected their candidates carefully with an eye for a vice-presidential candidate who could boost the team. The first president of the Commonwealth, Manuel L. Quezon, was elected by an overwhelming majority, with Sergio Osmeña as his vice president. Osmeña won more votes than Quezon. They were elected as a team.

In the post-war period, the same concept of election as a team prevailed, broken only by flukes. Generally, presidential candidates carried their vice-presidential partners to office, ensuring that the winning party took control of the two top executive positions in the government. This contributed to the stability of the two-party system.

With the recent poll surveys, the presidential race appears to be narrowing to no more than four serious contenders—Aquino, Villar, Escudero and Teodoro—as the rest are being left on the wayside or have already announced their withdrawal. The key role of the vice-presidential candidate in party tickets is a sign that the two-party system is reemerging. Both the LP and NP (under Villar) are rebuilding themselves as poles for larger coalitions.

Thus far, no party—including Estrada and Binay’s United Opposition—has managed to form complete senatorial line-ups ahead of the Nov. 30 deadline for registration of candidates in the May election. The lists so far announced are composed of names who float from one party to another as guest candidates. These shifts and volatility favor the best organized parties which can become the vehicles of a revived two-party system.

The opposition parties face disintegration as two dominant parties emerge: the LP and NP. It is inevitable that if one of the opposition parties emerges dominant in the coming elimination rounds, that party, with an inspired leadership, will swallow the other parties and face off with the administration coalition. But first, the NP has to come up with a competitive tandem.

From Inquirer.Net, October 27, 2009


Post a Comment

I'm with NoyMar

Enter your email address:

NoyMar Followers