I’m thinking that it’s going to be Aquino vs. Escudero in 2010.
Usually I hate making “political prophecies” on account that anything can happen in the world of politics. I’m not betting on it just yet, but I have a gut feeling that in 2010, you’ll have a traditional Filipino presidential deathmatch of Liberal vs. Nacionalista (or, at the very least, the NPC): Noynoy Aquino on one hand, and Chiz Escudero on the other.
At this point, it’s fairly easy to draw conclusions and parallelisms of Ninoy vs. Macoy. Or, perhaps, Kennedy vs. Nixon. Any way you look at it, it’s still fairly easy to call anything in the game. These are just arrows cast to the air, hoping that they’ll hit. Or at the very least, come close.
I’m cancelling out Mar Roxas and Manny Villar here for now (I’ll pit the two of them against each other), and I may make random notes on them one of these days. These are just random notes; nothing eloquent or complicated or expert or deep or anything.
These are all ideal situations; we do not have strong political parties, nor can we expect just two candidates to gun for the Presidency come election season. Yet from the ground – the perspective of the usisero, as I put it sometimes – a Noynoy and Chiz duking it out in 2010 seems very plausible and, at this point, very interesting. These thoughts, again, bank on a hypothetical Noynoy vs. Chiz 2010 fight-to-the-finish.
First you have Noynoy, who represents a very upper-class middle-class POV, heir apparent to the Aquino legacy, Liberal, a man being pushed to run along with the afterglow of EDSA Magic, and in a manner closely tied and associated with traditional values and expectations we have of politicians. On the other hand you have Chiz, who aligns himself the youth, is defined as an oppositionist, vocal critic of the current Administration, NPC, and is identified in many ways with Marcos and Estrada in the manner of intelligence and populism. Both are friends, both have a loyal following. On the one hand you have Noynoy who can emerge as a reluctant candidate but stands a winning chance, and on the other hand you have Chiz who is willing to step aside and also stands a winning chance.
You have two young politicians who have nowhere to go but up, have identities on polar ends of the spectrum, and are identified on the basis of party more than Villar’s money, Lacson’s independence, Loren’s TV appearances, Binay’s “Obama,” BF’s “Gwapo,” and Jamby’s yellow chaplets. They may still be trapo in the eyes of many, but they’re politicians in their time. Aquino representing traditional sensibilities, and Escudero representing populist sensibilities. Aquino banks on tried-and-tested reputation, Escudero on tried-and-tested marketing.
If it’s any consolation, or if it is even relevant, Escudero came in at #2 in the 2007 national elections, with Aquino coming in at #6. Both ran under the opposition “team,” but from two different parties: Chiz from NPC, Noynoy from Liberal.
More importantly, you have a very different milieu between them, and out of them. You have two heirs of political years gone by who grew up in families invariably tied with an era that wasn’t theirs. Two guys who gained political maturity (by that I mean making a name) for themselves, in their time, after the days of Marcos. The memory here would not necessarily be “the Marcos era,” but the restructuring of the country and the direction of the country post-Marcos. It would be, for all intents and purposes, a referendum on the now.
Factor in possible problems with the polls, election automation, party bickering, 2010 politicking, and other variables, though. If you asked me, I’d be very interested to see these two guys slug it out for the Presidency. If the “central issue” (if there’s such a thing) of the 2010 campaign would deviate from the state of the economy and move towards the strength of democratic institutions, then I don’t see why the potential central rivalry between Chiz and Noynoy won’t happen. I’m not banking on it being the political battle of the century, nor will it result to a stronger party system, but there’s a good chance that it can be a step. Yet more than that, it’s the kind of polarization (semi, at least) that could define the road to 2010: beliefs, milieu, and most of all, political perspective. It all boils down to (in an extremely simplistic way of saying it) Aquino emphasizing the importance of tradition, and Escudero marketing the Gen-X-ness of it all.
The proverbial pizza has been sliced in half. The question is who has the thicker crust, and who has more toppings.
Aquino vs. Escudero 2010? Who would win? Is it possible? What do you think?