The filing of certificates of candidacies for national and local positions officially began on 1 October 2021 and will span until 8 October 2021 (Friday), The recent survey results by opinion pollster Pulse Asia from 6-11 September 2021 will shape the decisions of aspirants. Those who performed poorly in the polls may be forced to abandon their intentions to run, while those with modest numbers may opt to continue or slide down to a lower position for pragmatic considerations.
Over the last two weeks, we have heard of political parties, coalitions and organizations throw their support behind potential Presidential candidates. As of this writing (1 October), only the tandems of Sen. Panfilo Lacson- Sen. Tito Sotto and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno and Dr. Willie Ong have formally declared their intent to run as a ticket while Sen. Manny Pacquiao and Ka Leody De Guzman have accepted their nominations to run as President by their respective groups/organizations. It remains to be seen whether the likes of frontrunner Mayor Sara Duterte, former Sen. Bongbong Marcos, Sen. Bong Go and Vice President Leni Robredo will join the Presidential derby.
In past few months, about five political parties have forged an agreement with Regional Party Hugpong ng Pagbabago with the hopes that Mayor Sara Duterte will file her candidacy as President. Thus far, Mayor Sara has expressed her intention not to run, given President Duterte's plans to run for the Vice Presidency. Both the Cusi and Pimentel wings have filed complaints against each other and hope to gain the recognition from COMELEC as the official PDP Laban in the next few weeks or months. Several groups such as the KBL and Labor Party of the Philippines have expressed their support for the potential run of former Sen. Bongbong Marcos to the Presidency. On the last day of September, 1Sambayan decided to throw its support to VP Leni Robredo as its Presidentiable for the 2022 Elections.
The situation remains fluid and the landscape may still drastically change in the coming days leading to 8 October. There is the unending discussion on a potential BBM-Sara or Sara-BBM tandem which would significantly alter political strategies by their rivals should they reach an agreement to run together. There are continuous talks between opposition forces to unify against the perceived administration ticket and the return of the Marcoses. There is still the possibility of candidates sliding down to lower positions to accommodate candidates who offer better chances of winning.
The political season is heating up, and the country is in for another divisive exercise whether we like it or not. Certain individuals and groups have started to galvanize their ranks to support specific candidates or tandems. Socio-civic organizations have started to mobilize their membership either to crowdsource or begin group discussions on whom to support. Opinions and blogs have been more prominent on political issues in the past few days and will ramp up as the campaign period approaches.
The issue on who’s-who will not be finalized by 8 October, as substitution is allowed until November 15, 2021 if an initial candidate withdraws, dies, or is disqualified by final judgment. Nevertheless, the roster of candidates will be much clearer by COB of 8 October 2021. Campaign groups are expected to move and think fast considering these developments. Expect the political climate to heat up in the coming days and months.
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