Political Positioning for 2022 amidst a pandemic

No pandemic can prevent Presidential and Vice-Presidential aspirants from expressing their interest to run for public office. However, the contributions and actions of these aspirants during this pandemic will weigh heavily on the public's perception whether they are worthy to be elected as the next leaders of our country.

Recent political developments such as building of broad political coalitions, political positioning within dominant political parties, and posturing on critical gut and pandemic-related issues indicate that the 2022 election season is fast approaching. Several names have been floated as potential front runners, with no less than President Duterte being inked to a potential Vice-Presidential run together with his daughter, Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.

In hopes to reverse their political misfortunes in the last two elections, known Liberal Party allies and other key personalities from left-leaning ideological groups have formed 1Sambayan. The group’s intention is to field a unified ticket to go up against formidable Presidential aspirants from the administration-allied groups. While the lead convenors are relatively ex-Supreme Court Justices in Former Justices Antonio Carpio and Conchita Carpio-Morales, most of those identified with 1Sambayan are either ex-Cabinet Secretaries of former President Noynoy Aquino or those allied with the House of Representatives' Makabayan Bloc. This leaves the impression that the group is a smokescreen to the Liberal Party's ambitions of going back to Malacañang.

Frictions have intensified inside the PDP-Laban camp, with several names from the party/allied groups such as Davao Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, Sen. Christopher "Bong" Go, Sen. Manny Pacquiao, and no less than President Rodrigo Duterte being floated as potential Presidential or Vice-Presidential candidates. Leaders within the party are divided over official party positions, with key leaders expressing different sentiments in terms of the party's preferred candidates for 2022. As evidence of the escalating tension within the administration party, PDP-Laban President Sen. Manny Pacquaio claimed that the manifesto being circulated by party members pushing for President Duterte to run as Vice President is an unofficial position of the party, contrary to claims by the party’s Deputy Secretary-General Melvin Matibag.

The Nacionalista Party is also rumored to be re-activating its forces for a possible Presidential or Vice-Presidential run of former Sen. Bongbong Marcos. This is expected to be met with severe opposition by former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, who has earlier expressed his desire to run for President come 2022.

There has also been a noticeable increase in the presence of Sen. Panfilo Lacson on various social media platforms. The content has mostly been focused on his positions on various executive and legislative issues. Rumors have also been circulating that Sen. Lacson is eyeing a run for higher office two years ago.

No pandemic can prevent Presidential and Vice-Presidential aspirants from expressing their interest to run for public office. However, the contributions and actions of these aspirants during this pandemic will weigh heavily on the public's perception whether they are worthy to be elected as the next leaders of our country.

With the number of COVID-19 infections significantly increasing, those who will play a significant part in controlling or addressing the pandemic will gain an upper hand against the others. Meanwhile, those who would fail or choose to be silent in the middle of a critical national issue can kiss their Presidential or Vice-Presidential bids goodbye.

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About the Author
Mr. Aaron Benedict De Leon is currently a Business Development Practitioner in a private consulting firm. He has more than six years of professional experience in leading and managing political and non-government organizations, specializing in organizational management, policy development and program management. He has had stints with notable political/socio-civic organizations, serving in various capacities as: Secretary-General of the Centrist Democratic Party of the Philippines (CDP) [2013-2015], Founding Chairperson of the Centrist Democratic Youth Association of the Philippines (CDYAP) [2012-2014], Philippine Representative to the International Young Democrat Union (IYDU) [2011-2012], Chairperson of the Christian Democratic Youth [2011-2012], Secretary-General of YOUTH Philippines [2010-2011], and Spokesperson/Communications Director of the GT2010 Gilbert Teodoro Presidential Campaign [2009-2010].
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